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One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life is that we can never know everything – there is always more to learn. Also, we can sometimes receive an important lesson or insight that makes little sense or seems irrelevant when we hear it, but takes on a much greater meaning at some point in the future.

The lessons I share here are not all new and many are the accumulation of multiple different sources. They are, however, 16 key insights that served me in 2016, presented in no particular order.

#1 – Accept the things you cannot change

I have a confession to make. I used to be a control freak and I wanted everything to go my way. I wanted to control situations, people, everything. Of course, this was unrealistic and only led to disappointment and feelings of failure. The more I’ve learned to accept things the better life has become.

Following my accident this year, when I tore all the ligaments from my right ankle, there were many things I simply had to accept I was unable to do. I was forced to slow down and embrace my situation whether I liked it or not.

The irony is that the less I try to control things, the more in control I feel.

#2 – Intentions are worthless without action

If you want to achieve anything in life you have to act.

It is easy to sit back and put the world to rights, but if you really want things to change you have to play your part. It is not the things you think about doing that matter, rather it is the things that you do.

#3 – Experiment more

You can never be 100% certain of anything in life.

One of the benefits that comes when you accept that there are things you cannot change and is that you become more open to applying a little faith in your life and trusting that if you do the right thing then the right thing will happen.

Not sure how something will turn out? That is ok, just consider it a bit of experimentation or research.

This is also a great way of accepting your so-called mistakes. I believe there is no such thing as a mistake if you learn from it and one of the very best ways to learn new things is to try new things.

#4 – The only person you can change is you

Ever found yourself saying “well, you made me do it” or “you make me feel this way”? The truth is that nobody can make you feel anything, it is always your choice. Similarly, you cannot make anyone else feel or act the way you want them to either.

What you can do, however, is change the way you are and the way you show up for others.

I was coaching a client earlier this year who was going through some relationship issues. She told me how her husband had changed and how she wished he was more like he was at the beginning of their relationship. I asked her if she was showing up for him the way she did at the start of the relationship. By changing the way she was for him she quickly found that he became more attentive too.

#5 – Does it really matter?

The last thing that stressed you out or that you had an argument about, was it really that important? Will you even remember it this time next year?

There are so many things in life that can bring us down or cause us stress if we allow them to. The trick to avoid the negative emotions is to ask yourself if it really matters. If it does, can you do anything to influence it? If the answer to this is yes then take action, if it is no then see #1 (accept the things you cannot change).

#6 – Schedule the important stuff

Is your life constantly filled with dealing with 1 urgent thing after another? Do you find that some of the important things just never seem to get done?

The trick is to schedule the important stuff and stick to your schedule. Treat this time like it is for the most important tasks that must be completed for your number 1 client… after all, it is!

#7 – Done beats perfect

Don’t wait for the perfect conditions or the perfect time before you start taking action on your priorities. Perfect inaction achieves nothing. Imperfect action creates progress.

Also, don’t worry about creating the perfect outcome. Done beats perfect every single time.

#8 – Let go of the stuff you decide not to do

The things you decide NOT to do are just as important as the things you decide to prioritise in your life. Once you decide not to do something, let go of it. You’ve decided it is not for you so don’t waste anymore time or attention on it.

#9 – Pick yourself

So many people go through life waiting to be picked. In other words, they wait for others to tell them they are good enough. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to pick yourself.

When you choose yourself, it no longer matters what anyone else thinks of you. When you accept yourself unconditionally then you are ENOUGH. I guarantee you are already the person someone else dreams about, even if you won’t or can’t see it.

Embrace your life: Choose yourself!

#10 – Make your behaviour match your goals

Do your behaviours support your goals? For everything you set out to achieve in life it is important to understand the behaviours you need to adopt in order to create those outcomes.

Simply deciding you want something is not enough, you must take action and it is the actions you turn into your habits that will ultimately shape your destiny.

#11 – Stop judging

You have 2 choices: you can judge or you can grow. Whenever you are judging yourself, another person or a situation you close the potentially to fully appreciate the moment and learn from it.

In order to grow you must stay open to all possibilities and let go of judgement.

#12 – Stay grateful

If you are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel then you need to turn on the gratitude switch. Finding something to be grateful for can turn around even the darkest moments – you cannot be grateful and fearful in the same moment.

Gratitude is the antidote to anxiety, fear and depression.

#13 – Ask for help

My ankle injury earlier this year left me non-weight bearing and on crutches for almost 2 months. There were many things I normally take for granted that I was suddenly unable to do for myself. I had no choice but to ask for and accept help.

I discovered that not only were friends and family happy to help me, but that compete strangers and people I hardly knew went out of there way to help me too. This lead to some new friendships.

As Amanda Palmer shares in her book, The Art of Asking, asking is the fundamental building block of any relationship.

#14 – Be present

The only time you will ever have is now and it is called the present for a reason. If you want to truly appreciate life then you must appreciate this very moment.

All fear and anxiety is caused by taking the past and projecting it into the future. It cannot exist in the present.

#15 – Love yourself

Love is a practice and it starts by loving yourself.

I strongly believe that to truly show love for others you have to love yourself first. Self love is not selfish.

The more effort you put into loving yourself and accepting who you are, the more your actions toward others will also show love. With greater self-love, you will blame less and offer more help and support.

#16 – Be of service to others

I recently saw a quote that said how some people want a diamond watch whilst others just value the time. Time is the one resource you can never get more of.

Spending your time being of service to others is one the most valuable gifts you can ever give. Not only will it benefit the person you are helping, but it will often benefit you too.

The greatest gifts are the ones you give away.

#17 – Do more than expected

I know this posts say it is 16 priceless lessons, but the final lesson is to do more than expected. If you want to achieve more than expected, you must do more than expected. What you get in life is in direct proportion to what you give.

 

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