Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time, after having lived a full and meaningful life, to where we could enlighten our younger selves? Take all that knowledge, experience and insight and try to educate an earlier version of oneself so not to make similar mistakes and live the fullest and best life possible! On my walk today a few nuggets came to me that I’d like to share with a 25 year old Kevin, just a few core things it has taken my 62 years on this planet to realize.
- Wake up and see that you are living in a box. This box was created the day you arrived, and inside this box are an incalculable number of other people’s “should and shouldn’ts” lists, things you must do and better not do, ways to think, what to believe, and how to think and feel. Now is the time to awaken to the fact that a lot of your make-up is attributed to other people. It is now time for you young man to wake up and see, think and feel for yourself. Don’t continue to follow other people’s definitions of success and happiness, it is time for you to determine your formula for those. Start looking at what you truly know, believe and desire. Look at your values, your passions, your beliefs and innate gifts. Determine what purpose and vision your life is calling and go out after them, with zeal and fervor. The path won’t be easy, but at least it will be YOUR path!
- Allow yourself to truly feel. Whatever you were told as a young man growing up about how to be a ‘real man’ dump it. You are first and foremost a human being, and feelings come along with that title. Actually the best part about living are those deep feelings are when you are really alive and connected to those people in your life you care so deeply about. Life is meant to lived, experienced, and we do so not just in the physical or mental aspects, but in our emotions and human spirit. Find the ways to see where you are blocked emotionally, and let go of the fears and beliefs that build the walls around your heart. It’s OK to seek help in this area, because we cannot get through this thing called life alone. Get out of your own way and be open, vulnerable, honest and real. Accept, respect and care for yourself as much as you care for others. Life is messy – get over it! Live my son, live fully!
- When you find out what your true gifts are, and what others say they most admire and respect about you, then reconnect them with your own passions, and then blend the two in some service to others. Everyone told you to get educated, get a job and make a career and lots of money. They have it backwards – find out who you are and what you are gifted to do, and then find ways to offer your full self in work that is fulfilling and meaningful to you and really lights you up. Find work that connects you to your highest and best self, and then that work will offer the highest benefit to others. This type of work won’t feel like work – it will be many forms of joy in action. We are not islands, protecting ourselves from others. No, life is challenging and yet in spite of that we need to jump in fully.
- Take plenty of time for quiet self-reflection, and allow yourself to be “in awe” of Life around you. Too many people feel they have to be busy, or have lots of noise around them to feel like they are alive. You cannot think for yourself when you are always ‘on.’ Learn to meditate, contemplate, read, and expand your mind and spirit. Connect to nature and others and just find ways to be in the flow without having to judge, name, blame or analyze things. In those moments allow deep gratitude and humility to bubble up and let that juiciness expand you, resulting in experiencing the sweetness of gratitude to overwhelm you. Life wants to live through you – be open to it and allow it to flow. This will be a new definition of “awe-some!”
- Be kind and respectful to everyone you encounter. Life is hard, and you’ll never know what others are going through. Be known as a powerful man that lives from a position of warmth, consideration and compassion for others. This will engender safety and trust around you, and both of those are the secret keys to authentic and meaningful relationships. People will be attracted to you because you allow them to just be themselves. You won’t need to out-smart them, out-perform them, or make them wrong. On the contrary, you will be a magnet for others who just want to be around you because it feels good. This will be your definition of leadership and it will always attract the right / best people to align and engage with you at such high levels. Give this gift away as often and as consciously as you can.
- Have fun! Just be you, and enjoy every moment – especially the tough ones.