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July 17, 2013

32 Rules to Live By

I don’t particularly love road trips (that’s Jade’s thing), but I do appreciate the quiet time in the car that allows for the mind to wonder. Last week, we were road tripping to DC for a mini family reunion, and I was reflecting on my upcoming birthday. In a sense, birthdays are kind of like New Year’s–we get to do a little life inventory–where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we’re headed. I don’t dread birthdays. In fact, I look forward to them because I know that if I stay introspective and keep leaning into my struggles, I get stronger, better and happier every year.

I’m turning 32 today, and I was thinking about blogging my “life rules.” I have seen other people do this, and it got me to thinking: What do I stand for? Who am I in the world? What “vibe” do I give off? How am I helping or making an impact? Am I making a difference or am I just being all about Jill?

If you’ve never done it, I would highly recommend making a list of rules you live by. A set of standards for yourself. Draw some lines in the sand.It’s a challenging exercise because it requires you dig deep, and sometimes, it can lead you to places that are’t so awesome.

For example, in doing this myself, I realized I’m still hung up on affirmation. Not really about my looks or physique anymore, but about my business savvy and my intelligence. Same old struggle, wrapped up in different paper. So now I know that this upcoming year, I have some work to do in this realm. Wanting affirmation is normal, but it also keeps our contentment tied to others and situations. I don’t like that. I want to be able to feel worthy every second of my own accord. Hence, my work continues :)

I assembled my top 32 rules to live by and I wanted to share them with you. Remember, every single person is entitled to their own set of rules and standards, which is why everyone should have their own set. If you like mine, borrow a couple and see how you do (check the Tweetables at the bottom of the post).

But in the end, your journey needs to be your own.

  1. Life is too short to withhold your feelings for others. Tell people how you feel about them regardless of how embarrassing or awkward it might feel in the moment. Tell people you love them, how amazing they are and how much they’ve influenced you.
  2. Say thank you. It’s the easiest thing on earth, and acknowledging that someone helped you doesn’t take away your power or diminish your impact in any way. In fact, it enhances yours AND theirs.
  3. Every once in a while you just want to drink coffee and wine all day, and that’s just fine :)
  4. Taking offense to something or someone is a choice. You can also choose to be fine with it.
  5. Lean into the struggle. Challenges and obstacles suck. But they also allow for reflection, growth and ultimately getting better and stronger. I look forward to the shit life throws at me because I know without those struggles, I would have zero opportunities to get the lessons. “Learn to fail or fail to learn.” –Tal Ben-Shahar
  6. Look for the bright spot in every situation. If you can take the crappiest of circumstances and find ONE thing to be grateful for, it’s a game changer. “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.” –Wayne Dyer
  7. Dissatisfaction is a choice. The need to always be thinner, leaner, happier, make more money, etc can go away right now based on your willingness to accept yourself as is, while also striving for more if that’s what you want. You can be satisfied right now.
  8. Self-acceptance and achievement are not mutually exclusive.
  9. You can eat a cookie and still like yourself after :)
  10. Get up early and work when the world is quiet. My most productive time is 5-9am and if I don’t get anything else done that day, I’ve still accomplished a lot.
  11. Take down time for yourself. Every day. Some people recommend 90 minutes on/20 mins off (work to rest). I do 2 hours on, 1 hour off, all day long–usually 2-3 rounds. It recharges me, helps me get more focused and I’ve never been more productive.
  12. Life is too short to live for someone else’s dreams for you or out of obligation or guilt. Ask, what is my passion, and go for it. Anything less is a waste of who you are in the world.
  13. Read daily. It enriches your life more than you know. I read for 3-4 hours every day. And I alternate non-fiction with fiction. It also improves my writing, decreases stress and boosts my wellbeing.
  14. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.” –Howard Thurman
  15. “Good enough” is good enough, and when we play the all-or-nothing game, it always ends up being … nothing. Give yourself permission to simply do your best and let that be a win. And “your best” changes from day to day, and that’s just fine!
  16. Just say YES. About a year ago, I made a decision to simply start saying yes to stuff–experiences, opportunities, things that would certainly get me way out of my comfort zone, and since then, my life has been so much more full. I’ve been challenged, embarrassed, scared, awkward, uncertain and all around inconvenienced, but it’s been the best, and I’ve gained so much more as a result. If you get an opportunity, say yes!
  17. Give people the benefit of the doubt. How can it hurt you to think the best of someone? When we make assumptions and think the worst, it sucks for them and us. When we offer the benefit of the doubt in situations, we don’t have to be miserable anymore because we’ve gained perspective.
  18. Don’t take things personally, even if they are personal. Some criticizes you? That’s about about them and their own insecurities. Does that mean we don’t listen or weigh their opinion? No. But we also don’t have to believe every negative thing we hear about ourselves, which can often be our default. Choosing to feel unworthy or not good enough is just that … a choice.
  19. Embrace your journey, but also let others have their own. Who are we to say what’s best for someone else? This is a toughie, but letting people get and learn their own lessons (no matter how long it takes or how rough the road!) is the greatest gift you can give.
  20. Everyone deserves to be listened to and acknowledged. One thing I despise is when certain people are treated poorly or less than others. You see this a lot in how some people treat servers and cashiers. Be nice. Acknowledge people. Smile. No one is “better than” anyone else. Treat everyone with kindness.
  21. You always have 100% control over your attitude and your effort. You create your circumstances in every moment and with every thought, feeling and action. Own yours.
  22. Be open to outcomes, not attached to them. This is about learning to close the “expectation gap” between what we *need* to happen (or what we think “should” be) and what actually is. Reality is what is. When what we want to happen doesn’t, we are left disappointed. Could you be open and learn from an alternative outcome?
  23. Self-trust is empowering. One of my biggest challenges is control. I want to know for sure that what I want to happen will actually happen. But there’s power in letting go of the reigns too and simply knowing that whatever happens–good or bad–you can get through (because you can). I believe strongly that life never gives us more than we can handle.
  24. Embrace a possibility mindset. When we think small, we live small. When we think big, we often live big too.  Next time you find yourself asking, why me? Try to ask instead, why NOT me? “Big thinkers are never satisfied with what they already know. They are always visiting new places, reading new books, meeting new people, learning new skills.” –John C. Maxwell.
  25. Invest in you. Yes, with your time and effort, but also with actual money. This is a lesson I learned a few years ago when I was at a crossroads in my business, not knowing where to go. It was scary as hell, but I invested $10,000 in myself via business coaching and it was worth every cent. And I’ve spent thousands more since. I will always find money to help me grow and get better. This is a mindset shift!
  26. When I help other people, I help myself. It’s in the giving that I receive. There’s nothing more satisfying than making a difference. My existence can’t be all about me and looking good in photos (I tried to find affirmation in that for years and it was fruitless). For true personal fulfillment, my time and effort needs to be about making a larger impact.
  27. Get good at setting boundaries. One of my mentors, Rachel Cosgrove says, “If you don’t like how someone is treating you, it’s your fault.” And it’s true. Learn to speak your truth, ask for what you want and set boundaries so that you don’t have to be miserable. We teach people how to treat us.
  28. Take 100% responsibility for everything. Good, bad, your fault, someone else’s. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is how you choose to respond in a given situation. Take responsibility for changing your circumstances regardless of who’s to blame. When we do this, we always have a game plan and action steps.
  29. Understand that there is risk in starting your journey. But the risk of not starting is greater. The time will never be “just right” so why not you, and why not right now? Ready, fire, aim, aim, aim …
  30. Get focused. If you are everywhere, you are really nowhere. Decide what you want and put your effort, resources and priority there.
  31. Give up trying to get everyone on your team. Not everyone wants to do what you do. Not everyone will “get it.” And not everyone will be on board with everything you love. And that’s just fine! Do you, and I think you’ll be surprised that once YOU own it, others will come on board too. Starts with you though.
  32. I have zero tolerance for any negativity in my life, period. Bad vibes, gossip, belittling other people or their dreams, being petty, complaining, playing the victim, bad-mouthing, being mean or inconsiderate. All of that is unacceptable for me. When I play that game, I stay small and scared. Eff that :)

Here are some Tweetables for you, if you liked this post and want to share :) (please and thank you) Ox, Jill


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