36 lessons from turning 36

I turned 36 recently.

My dog Elvis turned 2 on the same day! (I was wondering why we’re best friends LOL)

Here’s some of the lessons I’ve learned in the last year: 

  1. You have to top up your heart, whatever does that for you, to keep showing up with an open heart. Otherwise, rejection, challenges, self-doubt etc. will all start shaping your journey rather than your own inner compass.
  2. Gap and the gain. If your focus is on the gap between where you want to be and where you are, you’ll be disheartened and unhappy. Focus instead on the gain – the things you’ve already done, achieved, become etc. The gain will top you up to keep moving forward. 
  3. Write out the beliefs that hold you back and the alternatives that will move you forward. Without clarity of the beliefs, you can’t expect to untangle them. The untangling starts with awareness. Get aware, untangle, move forward.
  4. “Back yourself” are the two hardest words to live by, but make a full life when you do. 
  5. Always bring a second poo bag. 
  6. You’ll never see the full path, just keep putting one foot in the other.
  7. Live as wholeheartedly as you can, whatever that means. I’m still trying to figure it out! 
  8. Life and moments aren’t good or bad and the sooner we just accept life happening, the better we’ll be able to move forward. The alternative to acceptance is resistance which stores energy and changes how much of life you can experience. 
  9. Keep showing up – find the smallest possible thing you can do daily to keep making progress in the important areas of your life. 
  10. Acceptance and moving through emotions rather than trying to push them away helps them do what emotions do – give you information about what’s going on around and within you. Just allow them. Don’t resist, accept. 
  11. Relationships create the foundations for deeper work. 
  12. Slowing down to the pace of life will help you notice and experience a fuller life. This happens in each moment in front of you. Are you rushing, chasing, towards something you feel you should/have to do? Or are you being intentional in each moment?
  13. We straight-jacket ourselves through the stories we tell about ourselves, other people and the world we live in. Change the story, change the experience and moment in front of you. 
  14. I’m making this up as I go along. And that’s ok. Everyone is just doing the best they can with what they know and have in front of them. Why are you trying to have it all figured out? It’s wasted effort.
  15. Give the ‘inner judge’ a day off and see what emerges. We walk around with a male or female judge within us. Let them go on a holiday. This is often the voice we use to beat ourselves up with, being ‘so hard on ourselves’ – just give them a break! Doubt needs a holiday too! 
  16. Growing pains, like self-doubt, uncertainty, stress are signs of growing NOT signs to retreat or stop. Keep moving forward. 
  17. It’s easy to stay the same, but choosing to move forward brings an energy you can only feel as you make progress.
  18. Wisdom is knowledge that lives in the muscles. To do this, you take what you know and apply it by embodying it in the real world. I’ve read all of the books, until I started acting on it nothing changed other than I knew lots of stuff. Move into the world. Start a conversation with the world through your intentional action and watch your life unfold.
  19. There’s generally enough ‘heat’ in our systems. Heat is pressure / stress / overwhelm etc. Often we don’t need more heat we need recovery which helps us handle the heat as we grow and move forward.
  20. Wasting time to look at the clouds is an interesting antidote to feeling like you have to optimise and be productive every minute of the day! We’re under the illusion unless we’re DOING something, we’re not enough or valuable. You’re a human being not a human doing, give yourself permission to just…be?
  21. Choose an annual MISOGI – the japanese word for a purification ritual – but which has been taken to mean a difficult physical challenge we choose each year to ‘purify’ ourselves and increase our resilience. It pushes beyond what we think we’re capable of and develops a sense of possibility we can apply to the rest of the year ahead. 
  22. Good things emerge from space not pace. We’re conditioned to move faster do more, grow more quicker, better, faster…. etc. Instead think of creating space within your days and weeks so that ideas, imagination and recovery can emerge. 
  23. Seek support around you as you make changes in your life. For a trip, you’ll pack the boot of the car or pack lunch in your backpack. What about you, your mindset and your wellbeing? How are you packing for the journey ahead with guides and support on your journey? I have 2x supervisors, a therapist Tracy, a coach and 2x mentors. 
  24. Once you commit to yourself, most people want you to win! Tell people what you’re doing and hoping to do and watch how many will help in any way they can. If you don’t tell people and ask for help, people can’t help. Ask!
  25. When you commit to change and growing, some people around you will feel uncomfortable. This is sometimes because change to them is a losing game, they’ll lose (the version of you they know, the experiences together etc.) and you’ll gain. Help them see you can both gain and be ok that some people will fade from your life as you grow beyond them. It can be lonely, so focus on changing in communities of people on a similar journey.
  26. Everyone is making it up. We wait for perfect, or when we’re confident, or feel ready. Just keep moving forward. You develop competence by doing the thing. You develop courage in the presence of fear not the absence. Just keep moving forward doing the best you can with the next step in front of you. 
  27. Hug your loved ones, you never know when it could be the last time. In COVID times we were distanced from our loved ones and forget the impact of hugging people we love and care for. 
  28. Elvis my dog has taught me more than most books I’ve read on personal development. He taught me about my emotions e.g. anger and frustration, but also showed me how to love with an open heart and greet everyone with excitement. I wish I could become more like Elvis.
  29. Life will never be only good things. Stay open to it as it is and you will feel like you’re living a fuller life. Like the yin yang symbol, there’s always good in bad times, and always something that isn’t perfect in good times too. Accepting the truth that life is a combination of good and bad helps you not judge yourself or your life when it shows up like that. 
  30. Go gentle with yourself. You’re doing ok! Keep going! 
  31. Networking events are great but don’t be afraid to be discerning about who you spend time with and how much time you give to networking. I spent some conversations wanting to be elsewhere when I could’ve been more discerning in just saying no to the conversation. Saying no is ok! 
  32. Find ways to help other people and give without expecting anything in return. Someone said to me the other day, what is the cost? I said there’s none. That I like giving my time to help people and that I always get it back tenfold. 
  33. Being stretched and growing feels awesome. Stretch yourself into new areas by taking action on improving the areas of your life most important to you. I prioritise my physical and mental wellbeing by stretching in both areas: Jiu Jitsu beginner course on 12th September and deepening my mindfulness practice through the Waking Up app. 
  34. Cultivate positive emotions. If you aren’t feeling positive emotions often, you’re not creating them. Figure out what you pay attention to, the language you use, the stories you tell and the physiology any time you experience a ‘good’ emotion and recreate with that map.
  35. Life goes by so fast.
  36. Your potential doesn’t live in the future but in the moment in front of you and your ability to make the most expansive choice you can for yourself and others. 

Which is your favourite? What might you try in the year ahead for yourself?

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