By Caren Wakoli
25 Key lessons I choose to carry with me to 2018
1. Know thyself – Who are you? What are your values? What are your needs/ desires? What are you passionate about? What are your strengths/ weaknesses? Where are you at and where are you going? What is your reason for being? When you have an awareness of who you are, self-improvement and personal growth become a reality.
2. Be intentional – Nothing just happens. You must be deliberate and purposeful about whatever it is you aspire to. Only You must make it happen.
3. Keep a gratitude journal – Happiness is such an inside job. It does not come from having all you want, happiness comes from wanting what you have. Find three things you are grateful for each day and write them down.
4. Work hard– there is no gain without pain. Work takes a lot of sacrifice and can sometimes be a painful experience but its worth it. You will definitely see results in the long run. In fact, as Vince Lombardi rightly observed, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Work, we must.
5. Approach life with an open mind and heart – There is a lot of learning, unlearning and relearning to be done every single day. Have an open mind because a lot of things are bound to change. The books you read, conversations you have and experiences you encounter will shape your life big time. And remember, don’t take it personally, its not about you, its just life.
6. Dream big – Just like Les Brown puts it, most of us fail in life not because we aim too high and miss, but because we aim too low and hit. I am a big believer in dreams and I know dreams do come true. Break your dream down into SMART goals and then break them further into phases and have strategies to execute them one at a time.
7. Your mind is the most powerful force you possess – All battles are first won or lost in the mind before the battlefield. The Bible says that ‘as a man thinketh so is he!’ We become and shape our lives by what we think. Thoughts are very powerful. So, mind your mind.
8. Have faith – It is almost impossible to achieve anything in this life without faith. Believe in God and trust that all things will work out just fine for your good. You may not see it now but it shall come to pass. Be relentless.
9. Give yourself permission to fail – You cannot live a great life or be a great human being without failing. We grow more in moments of failure than in moments of success. Success is a lousy teacher. Remember to pick lessons as you rise.
10. Take care of your body, it will take care of you in return – you must make time to relax and rejuvenate your body. Don’t work too hard. Rest is important. Take time to work out and feed right. Drink lots of water too.
11. Face your giants – We all have our own giants and fears that we deal with. What makes the difference is letting go of fear and confronting them. Courage is not the absence of fear but the realization that there is something more important than fear. Feel the fear but do it anyway.
12. Words create – The spoken word is very powerful. We shape our lives by the stories we tell ourselves. Never let people determine how you live your life. Always remember that it’s not what they call you that counts, its what you call yourself. Speak positive words even when things are thick.
13. Invest time in family and friends – a little love and affirmation goes a long way. In the words of Jim Rohn we are the average of the five people we spend most of our time with. Choose wisely. Hang around people who push you to be the best you can be.
14. Get into the habit of saving and investing your money – save your money and it will save you in return. It is important to note that money is not the most important thing in life but it makes a difference. It is simply a tool.
15. You are fearfully and wonderfully made – This is true, you are. Remind yourself this all the time and affirm yourself. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
16. Forgive – Human nature is such that you will make mistakes, and other people will too. The best thing is to learn to forgive yourself and forgive others. Never tire. Remember that forgiveness is for you, not for other people.
17. Let go – This is one of the secrets to progress in life. Don’t hold onto things that have long died in your life. Don’t stare too long at a closed door that you fail see open doors ahead of you. Master the courage to let go.
18. Don’t settle – Do not accept things as they are, always ask questions and speak your truth, even when you shake. Speak up. Your voice matters.
19. Invest in yourself – You matter. Practice self-love. Practice self-care. There is no one else like you. Make sure you keep growing because the moment you stop growing you start dying. Learn new things. Visit new places. Stretch yourself. Keep improving yourself.
20. Find and pursue your life’s purpose – Life without meaning is tragic. We all have a purpose that we must fulfill. Like Steve Jobs put it, finding your purpose is like finding love, when you find it you will know.
21. Serve – I agree with Mother Teresa’s sentiments that anybody can be great simply because we all have the capacity to serve and love. Serve the people around you, serve strangers, serve the vulnerable. Your heart will be stirred beyond expectation.
22. Mentor someone and find a mentor for yourself – Navigating life’s seasons can be challenging when you don’t have someone/people who have gone before you to share their lessons with you. They say we cannot live long enough to make all the mistakes by ourselves, but we can learn from other people’s mistakes.
23. Go the extra mile – the only place in the world without traffic is the extra mile.
24. Read, read and read some more – readers make great leaders and great leaders read. Books have the ability to literally transform your life. You get to interact with great minds and souls from far and wide. True story, books have changed my life.
25. Never give up – Life has its twists and turns and sometimes things don’t always go as planned. But don’t stop, keep going. Keep pushing the bar higher. Try one more time every time till you succeed. The sun will rise again.