On Tuesday, July 14th, I turn 38! I love celebrating my birthday, which I’m extending to a week-long celebration. 🎉

One of the greatest gifts I can give myself is the gift of self-reflection and personal growth.

So today, I’m excited to share eight business and life lessons, which resonate the most with me right now.

Photo credit: Patience Manzare

 

1️⃣ Create the most beautiful life you can imagine.

A friend who visited Florence, Italy last year shared “there was something about the energy of the city that not just suggested but demanded that you incorporate exquisite beauty in your life in the most practical ways — the food, the art, the conversation, the architecture.” Several months later, I still remember this. It made me think about how I want to merge life, art, and business into one — and make it a daily practice of creative intention.

While sometimes it can feel that life is happening to us, the truth is we have infinite choice and the creative ability to respond.

So take the time to ask yourself:

➡️ Do I live in a beautiful environment that inspires joy, peace, and creativity?
➡️ Do I have friends that nourish me and make my life richer?
➡️ Does my career inspire me and give me purpose?
➡️ What is one small step I can take today to create the most beautiful, magical life for myself?

It could be something as simple as buying your favorite flowers for yourself, having a beautifully organized desk, eating fresh fruit from a bright, colorful bowl, or watching the sunset.

2️⃣ Change your environment, change your life.

One of the best decisions I ever made was moving to Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico. When I first moved here, friends from New York would ask me how I was doing and I’d say, “It’s so beautiful and peaceful here — it’s boring!”

The truth is, having lived in New York City for 18 years, my mind and body craved a certain level of activity, chaos, and overstimulation.

The adrenaline rush of a life constantly on the go made me feel productive and important. Never a moment to truly rest, it allowed me to avoid uncomfortable feelings that were bubbling below the surface.

I later realized I wasn’t really living life… I was racing through life. The busy-ness that I used to wear like a badge of honor started to wear on me.

Overstimulation — whether working incessantly or overindulging in eating or spending — creates a certain kind of numbness. And it wasn’t until I slowed down that I actually allowed myself to feel and heal, which was excruciatingly painful at first.

Today, I’m grateful to live in a beautiful home by the beach that supports my personal wellness and creativity.

I love my early morning walks around the golf course, where I’m greeted by white cranes, tropical birds, ducks, turtles, and frogs. I love swimming in the ocean in the late afternoon, and then driving my hot pink golf cart to meet up with my entrepreneur friends for dinner. It’s a totally different life from New York City. Every day, I’m so glad I made the bold decision to move here.

3️⃣ Less is more.

My all-time favorite book is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I’m all about simplifying my life by saying yes to fewer things — and giving those select things my all.

When you have less on your plate, you can give the things you really care about greater focus, creativity, and presence. This includes business projects, social activities, personal goals, and relationships.

4️⃣ Learn how to have difficult conversations with grace.

Tim Ferriss once said, “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

I used to avoid difficult conversations like the plague, or sugarcoat what I was saying to the point that the main message got lost.

I didn’t like making people feel bad, whether it was expressing my frustration or disappointment, giving constructive feedback, or backing out of something that no longer worked for me.

Today I understand that it’s important for me to speak my truth and honor my feelings. Ultimately, it’s what’s best for everyone. With the right people, it’ll create a deeper understanding and connection, which will only bring you closer.

5️⃣ 90% of business problems are personal problems in disguise.

When I first heard this quote by Michael Port, it struck me in a deep way. My most challenging problems in business were never about tactics.

They were about things like:

➡️ Not setting the right boundaries with clients and students, leaving me overwhelmed and fearful of growth
➡️ Holding on to team members who weren’t a true match, because I felt a sense of loyalty to them
➡️ Chasing shiny objects, rather than simplifying and doubling down on what was already working
➡️ Pursuing aggressive growth from a place of ego, because I believed that making more money made me more significant and worthy
➡️ Doing everything myself rather than letting go of control, creating strong systems, and empowering my team to run my business without my constant oversight

I could go on and on, but the point is this — the fastest way to create the business you want is to work on your personal growth.

6️⃣ The messenger is more important than the message.

As Mark Twain said, “There are no new ideas.” Well if that’s true, at least the majority of the time, then what makes someone worth listening to?

I believe it’s about how deeply the person embodies the message — and how powerfully he or she expresses that idea. And out of these two, embodiment is more important. Because without embodiment, there is no integrity.

Talk means nothing if it isn’t followed by action and lived experience.

As I grow older and wiser, I’ve learned to be more selective about who I learn from. Plenty of people have inspiring messages, but fewer actually practice what they preach.

So if you’re hiring a business coach and if you were to look under the hood, does that coach actually have a business you admire? Is the personal trainer you’re hiring in good shape? Does the love coach you’re investing in actually have a healthy relationship or marriage?

I get that none of us are perfect. And that it’s our past struggles, mistakes and learnings that make us the best possible teachers. Just make sure you get curious about the messenger, not just the message, and where they are on their journey.

7️⃣ Don’t take anything personally.

This is my favorite lesson in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements.

He says, “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

For example, if you have a mean boss who criticizes you, you may start to feel bad about yourself. Perhaps they make you feel like you can’t do anything right, and maybe you even start to feel like you’re stupid. Then let’s say you change jobs and have a boss who is generous with praise. You feel on top of the world, like you can do anything! But the truth of who you are has never changed.

So many times in life we let other people — a friend, a lover, a client, a family member — affect how we feel about ourselves. But when we allow our sense of self-worth to be dictated by others, we not only lose ourselves — we lose the most important freedom we have, which is emotional freedom.

8️⃣ The greatest freedom is what we feel.

I’m obsessed with a recent video James Wedmore shared on Instagram. It’s about how as entrepreneurs, we are obsessed with freedom. We want financial freedom. We want time freedom. We want location freedom. But the big cosmic joke is that we’re often missing the most important freedom of all, which is emotional freedom.

➡️ Do you stress non-stop about your work?
➡️ Do you care way too much about what other people think?
➡️ Are you afraid that if you’re not constantly taking control of everything in your business, it could all fall apart?

I’ve been there, which is why over the past couple of years I’ve been working hard to create a business that supports how I want to feel.

Today I have an amazing team that I trust. Sales can happen without any involvement from me — from enrolling a client to fulfilling on the service. I can take a four-week vacation, disconnect from work, and know that everything will be running smoothly when I return.

Even with our recent annual launch for Impacting Millions in April, which generates the majority of my company’s revenue, and fear of the Coronavirus at a high, I felt a sense of stillness and peace. While I could not control what was happening in the world, the one thing I could control is myself. My team and I had done everything in our power to make this launch successful. There was nothing left to be done.

As I waited to see how the pandemic would affect my business, I came to a profound realization: even if I lost everything I worked so hard to build, I would be okay.

You see, when you truly love what you do and you’re living your purpose, even if everything is taken away from you, it won’t stop you. Because even with everything gone, you still have yourself.

I love what I do so much, I would do it for free. I would continue to help people in the ways that I do, even if I lost money.

My passion and purpose to create and elevate role models — people who embody a powerful message of possibility — and help create a better world for us all.

What I love about the term role model is it’s not about status or a title. It’s about a state of being, our personal character, and showing up to serve. All of us can be role models — in our businesses, at our jobs, in our schools, in our families, and in our communities.

As recent events have shown us, role models aren’t necessarily the people with the most power or fame, or the largest bank account. They’re the people who move us because of who they are and what they stand for, at their core.

In their self-expression, authenticity, courage, and vulnerability, we see a piece of ourselves in them. And in that recognition, we see the person we want to become. A higher, truer, next level version of ourselves.

And that’s the greatest gift you can give someone — helping them see themselves and their dreams more clearly, so they can unlock their true potential and become that person they were always meant to be.

***

I hope you enjoyed my reflections as I approach my 38th year.

As an early birthday gift, I would love to hear from you…

➡️ Which of these eight lessons resonate most with you and why?
➡️ Did you have any a-ha moments?
➡️ What have been your greatest life lessons?

Let me know on my Facebook post right here. I read and respond to every comment. 💛