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40 Things I Have Learned In My 40 Years!

May 3, 2016

This week, I celebrate my 40th birthday. I think when most of us approach these milestone events, it is a period of reflection.  This has led me to share with you 40 Things I Have Learned in My 40 Years!

1.Some opportunities just are not meant to be, no matter how badly we might want them. And, that is okay.

2. There are powerful lessons in the tough experiences in life. So don’t fight them, but embrace them. You will come out eventually as a stronger person.

3. Never underestimate the power of a parent’s love.

4. Regular vacations are an amazing way to help us re-charge, re-focus and remember the really important things in life.

5. Looking into someone’s eyes and really seeing them is a great way to build a connection.

6. Being a parent can be very challenging, so parents can cut themselves more slack!

7. Something, I wouldn’t have thought about myself 10 years ago. I am strong. I am brave and I have a lot of grit.

8. Being in nature is a great way to lower your adrenaline and relax your mind and body. Science has proven this to be true too!

9. There is a force in the world that is bigger than us. We really don’t have as much control over our lives as we think. So, let go!

10. Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to re-focus ourselves and actually alter our brains, increasing the size of our grey matter.

11. Exercising every day is one of the best things we can do for our bodies and minds.

12. Drinking at least 8-12 glasses of water a day improves your work performance (by up to 10 per cent) and your overall well-being.

13. If you decide to marry, marrying a good spouse is the best decision you will ever make. This person will take care of you when you are sick, support you in your dreams and laugh with you into your old age.  Never settle.

14. Choose a career that makes you feel alive. It is never too late to re-discover who you are and what you want out of life.

15. Getting a good night’s sleep is important so ensure you build in time for this. But, if you don’t fall asleep quickly or if you wake up in the night, don’t beat yourself up or worry about your to do’s, just relax and know that all is well.

16. Our fears of failure and being good enough are really just a big sham. We all feel these feelings, at least at some point in our lives, but there is no truth to them. The fact that you are on this earth, doing the best you can, makes you good enough. You don’t need to prove it to anybody, especially yourself. Love and accept you. If you battle with this, your journey will eventually lead you to a place of self-love. But you can save yourself a lot of aggravation and just make the decision to embrace you, starting in this very moment.

17. De-cluttering your closet/house/office is a great way to de-clutter your life. Give away and throw out what you don’t absolutely love, keeping only the special pieces that make you glow from the inside when you see them.

18.Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.   Clients who come to me who are paying out-of-pocket for Coaching sometimes have a hard time committing to taking the plunge to go for investing in themselves. They don’t blink an eye at having home renos, or enrolling their kids in all kinds of activities, but it can feel selfish to invest in oneself. I get it. I have been there and done that. But, what I can say is that as soon as you begin to invest in yourself and what you want, it automatically begins to pay dividends far more precious than any fund ever could.

19. Outsource whenever you can! Life is so busy and hectic. Whenever you can outsource cleaning, cooking, anything that you don’t find high value in doing, go for it. It will free you up to spend your time doing what you love.

20. Do something kind and unexpected once a month. There is no greater feeling than helping another person, especially when they are not expecting it.  Look around your workplace or community, who is it that needs help? Maybe send them a card with a gift certificate for a dinner out or volunteer a few hours. It doesn’t have to be a large commitment, just taking a few moments to let someone know you care is so rewarding.

21. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Over the past few years, I have had an invisible injury recovering from a brain injury. You would never know from looking or speaking to me that anything is going on inside, but I still get bad headaches. I am still healing. When someone acts compassionately towards me, without knowing my situation, I want to just kiss that person!  We don’t know what the other person is going through, so kindness is always a safe default for our behaviour.

22. Love like there is no tomorrow. Last year, watching my Dad die right in front of my eyes at still such a young age really taught me that there are no guarantees in life. One of these days will be our last. We can’t control that. But, we can control telling our loved ones each day how much we love them and by hugging them a little closer.

23. Live life all in.  I have always been the type of person who is all in, sometimes this hasn’t always been a good thing for me as I have had to learn about how to scale back too. But even in a state of relaxation, I can still be all in by applying myself with an open heart. Sure, we all feel fear. But, never let fear stop you from doing what you know is the right thing. Be bold!

24. Pace yourself. In my twenties, I ran myself around the clock. I worked hard and had  a crazy, busy social life. I also did not have children, which I do now. By our thirties and forties, our jobs become more senior and we take on more family responsibilities. This can feel overwhelming, leaving us wondering where those fun and carefree days have gone.  But, if we pace ourselves, we still can have it all. It comes down to choices. I have learned from my brain rehab about the power of pacing each day, taking breaks every 45 minutes, meditating each day, powerful intention setting first thing in the morning, and shutting down at night to allow my brain to ease into sleep. I build in time each day for my work, family and myself. Yes, I get ‘me’ time each day, but only because I choose it, plan it and make myself a priority. I had to learn this lesson the hard way (after the fact of a brain injury) but you can choose it now. Your life is yours for the taking.

25. Looking up at the sky can be a powerful way to ground ourselves. I have a lounge chair on my deck and I spend a few minutes most days sitting in it and admiring nature, looking up at the sky. At night, I sometimes sit on my front porch, alone, looking up at the stars. Something about looking at the sky makes me feel like we are all connected and there is a bigger plan out there for each of us. It reminds me to find peace within myself and to trust.

26. Make time for fun! As we take on more responsibilities in life, sometimes fun can get pushed to the back burner. But, fun is not a second priority. If you want to be more productive, engaged and fulfilled in your life then make time to have fun. Even just laughing a few times a day feels good. Research shows that children laugh a lot each day. By the time we turn 40, we may only laugh once a day. So, go ahead and laugh to release those feel good chemicals.

27. Animals can ground us. I don’t currently own an animal, but there are many ways to come into contact with them. Go to a local dog park, visit a horse ranch, volunteer at the humane society. There is something about looking into those big brown eyes that goes right into your soul and shuts off all of the chatter inside your mind.

28. Never forget to say thank you. In this busy world, we often seem to be in a rush. This can lead to forgetting to say and do the little things. Say thank you and smile at someone who holds the door for you or write an old fashion thank you card. The little touches matter.

29. Make time to connect. I know a lot of women, in particular, who believe that working hard will land them the promotion as others will be forced to recognize their good work. This is not always the case. Making time to claim what you want and building  relationships helps others to know you. Be confident in who you are as a person, not just in the calibre of your work, to reach out to others and show them who you really are.

30. Good friends and family are your most precious resource. I would not be where I am if it were not for the love and support of those close to me.  Sometimes there is a tendency to take the ones we love for granted. We all do it, and I am no exception. Yet, since the brain injury, I have found myself feeling a lot more gratitude towards those in my life. Nobody operates in a silo, no matter how strong you are, so let others in and make sure to show them gratitude for their love and kindness.

31. Take a chance on someone. I think of the people who have taken a chance on me in my business. I remember when I first realized this brain injury wasn’t going away quickly, I needed to share my story and be transparent with others. I was so scared. Who would hire an executive coach with a brain injury? But since I have shared my story in an authentic and vulnerable way, I have actually received more business. People have taken a chance on me and then have told others about the benefits of working with me, which has led to more opportunities. I am so thankful for the gift each day of getting to work at a job I love with people who touch my heart and I can help fly!

32. Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries. This is about self-respect and doing things on your own terms.

33. Journaling each day is a great way to understand your feelings and build your dreams.

34. Slow down. We tend to move quick, talk quick and our brains are racing. Learn to slow down to bring greater focus and happiness to your life.

35. Spoil yourself.  Take time on a regular basis to indulge yourself in whatever it is that feels like a luxury to you. This may be a spa day or sitting on a park bench with a latte watching the people walk by. You deserve it!

36. Confidence comes from within. If you struggle in this area, find out what is holding you back. Deal with the root issue of the problem and then practice asserting yourself confidently.  It has to be a two-pronged approach.

37. Be humble. Nobody likes an ego maniac no matter how much success or money you have got. Find ways to ground yourself and remember where you came from. Always remember your own journey and the people who have helped you along the way.  And when you get to the top, turn around to help the next one in line.

38. The best way to combat frustration and anger towards others is to use compassion. Think of life from the other person’s perspective.  If that seems like a challenge. Try to remind yourself that you, too, can annoy and frustrate people. Nobody is perfect and we are only getting snapshots of each other’s lives. So, leave the judging to the judges and use compassion when dealing with others.

39. Never stop learning. Challenge yourself to find new areas that excite you and make time to try them out. Learning a new craft is great for your brain and can be sacred time for you. Be a life-long student.

40. Stay true to yourself and your life will remain true to you. Know your values and what’s important to you. Don’t compromise on your integrity. Draw boundaries where they need to be drawn. Speak your mind. Live with no regrets and  like the Lee Ann Womack song says, “if you get the chance, Dance.”


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