This blog is dedicated to the Sweet 16th birthday of a sweet young lady Brittany. My gift to you is 16 sweet and awesome life tips I’d like to pass along for you as you begin your newest journey in life.
I can remember my very own sweet 16 party my parents held for me at a small community center in Brampton almost 26 year ago. I’m sure my aunts and uncles shared some of their life tips with me. I can hardly remember what they were. I can tell you that I didn’t follow very many of them in my teenage years!
Today I get to celebrate the 16th birthday of a sweet friend of mine Brittany Krystantos with my own family and many of Britt’s closest friends and mentors. Mitch Krystantos is a new friend of mine who quickly became a trusted confident within hours of meeting him at an charity event. It’s easy to befriend someone who shares similar values. I met Britt, a ray of sunshine, through Mitch at the 2013 Motionball event. She is his youngest daughter; his eldest daughter is Sam.
I believe the greatest gift that one can give to another is their time. Time is a precious commodity that cannot be purchased, traded or exchanged for anything like it. The currency of time is seconds. The seconds in your life keep passing by and they can never be recovered. It’s like watching your personal hour glass of life as the grains of sand keep flowing with no way to stop it. You can remember the time you spent with someone, but you can’t take it back. I am so looking forward to sharing some my time with you this afternoon to celebrate your life and your future.
I believe the second best gift you could give to someone is sound advice and education. Sharing knowledge of your experiences in order to creating a clearing for new possibilities is a precious gift. Our life experiences and the wealth of information we gather throughout the years can play a key role in helping others. My 42 years of life are full of lessons. Every day you make decisions that can alter your entire future. It begins with the thoughts in your head and how you allow it to impact and influence your attitude, actions and decision making.
Britt, you’ve already started to share your life experiences through the birth of your blog, www.brittlives2inspire.com. If you haven’t visited her bog yet, you are missing out. Regardless of age, we ALL have important messages and lessons we can share with others. I am so proud of you for finding your voice and choosing not to be silent.
Here are 16 sweet and awesome life tips I am passing along to you. They are based on my own personal experiences. My roller coaster ride through my teens was pretty bumpy. Some of the advice was given to me by my elders at the time, who I unfortunately did not understand or appreciate at that time. My hope is you will find some wisdom in my tips and know that you can always count on me to help you overcome your darkest moments.
1. Believe in yourself.
I already know you are mastering the art of self belief. I’ve read your blogs and at your young age, you can already see the importance of self love. We all have a fear of looking bad in front of others. Plenty of people seek validation and attention from others. Social media has us creating inauthentic relationships and competing for “likes” as social acceptance. The most important person’s opinion of yourself is your own. Despite what others may or may not say about you, never stop believe in yourself and the possibility of you being and doing whatever it is you set your mind to do. You are unstoppable!
2. Stay away from drugs and alcohol abuse.
At 16 you are at the beginning of the stage where peer pressure is at it’s peak. Drugs are rampant in today’s society and readily available. The danger of drugs is that they are highly addictive. What you think is an innocent and fun experiment, could turn into a life long battle with substance abuse. With the recent passing of Robin Williams, you can see how drugs can play a huge role in the destruction of life. A natural high is the best kind. A drug-free life will lead to happiness. If you’ve ever experienced a “hang over” you will understand why alcohol is fine in moderation. If you can avoid alcohol altogether, you are in a much better position to not create bad habits or make poor choices under the influence.
3. Less is more. Quality over quantity.
I am constantly reminding myself of this old and wise saying. Sometimes you think you need more to be happy. More money, more friends, more time, more, more, more. I’ve learned throughout the years that MORE often equals more of everything that you DON’T want. More stress. More bills. More head aches. More frustration. More conflict. Always maintain a close and quality circle of friends. Value all people and things equally. Practice gratitude and before you take on too much, ask yourself the right questions. Is this something you really need? Does this person really add value to your life? Can you do without it?
4. Collaboration is key to success.
I love the saying there is no “I” in TEAM. This is very true. I’ve discovered in my personal and professional path, I’ve always experienced the most success and joy when in collaboration with others. Doing things solo isn’t as fun or as rewarding. You can actually achieve your goals faster by recruiting people who share your vision. When you can find people who share the same goal and welcomes ways to work together, go for it! You can also create opportunities and collaborate with others when you understand what people need and make the connection.
5. Practice patience.
I’ve had a long time battle with this 8 letter word. P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E. When you can learn to endure difficult situations, challenging circumstances and difficult people, you will be so ahead of the game! Living an extra-ordinary life means having the patience to go through the pain before you can even see the light at the end of the tunnel. “Patience is a level of endurance that one can take BEFORE negativity.”
6. Look at the big picture.
I have to give credit to my older brother Roy for this sweet and awesome life tip. When you are “on the court” in your game of life, you can very rarely see the outcome. When others are sitting “on the stands” in your life, they have a very different perspective of what’s happening. I want you to remember that what is happening right NOW isn’t always what IS or what WILL BE down the road. We often sacrifice doing things or trying things when we don’t take a step back and look forward. It’s easy to give up on something when you forget the end goal. If your WHY is big enough, you will find a way!
7. Be grateful.
The fastest way to be happy is in your practice of gratitude. It’s always easy to play a victim and to be in a place of “wanting.” If you stop to appreciate the smallest things which we often take for granted, like breathing, speaking, hearing and thinking you will find yourself in a place of peace and happiness.
I have often thought about the self-less contributions I’ve made in my life. I can say that some of my happiest and most memorable moments have been in the service of others. In the FREE service of others where there was no monetary gain, just a simple thank you. Volunteering is an excellent way for you to be in the service of others and contributing your precious time to the betterment of humanity.
9. Spend time with people who make you happy.
They say that you ARE who you spend the most time with. Over and over again experts say who you spend the most time with has the greatest influence and impact on your life. I’ve found that your top 5 friends will strongly affect your choices in a positive or negative way. When you start to sense negativity or something doesn’t align with your values, it’s time to really address those matters that are not in line with your life goals.
10. Don’t chase love.
Love is a funny thing. How many times have you heard that if you love someone you should “set them free?” I have found from my own personal experience that when you CHASE anything, particularly with matters of the heart, you need to ask yourself what are you really chasing? Love is not something you can “hunt” down. You CAN’T make someone feel something for you that they don’t. Real love finds you. It’s like a magnet. It’s not something running away from you.
11. Stay in communication with your parents.
I’ve met so many adults who are living with countless regrets about their broken relationship with family, and in particular their parents. My life tip for you Britt is that you stay in communication with your parents and you take a stand for what an open, loving and communicative relationship is like with your parents. They love you and want to see the best for you.
12. Show and tell your family & friends how much you love them.
Friends and family are the people you turn to the most in times of need. They should also be the people who get to share in your joys and your successes. It’s natural that time flies and we all get busy with life. A kind word or caring gesture can make the difference between having a good day, bad day or GREAT day!! Any form of communication or contact you can give to someone you care about, will remind them that they are in your their thoughts. Nurture and value the relationships with those who matter most :)
13. Ask for help.
For many people, asking for help seems like a weakness. Be careful about the stories you make up in your head about who you are, and what things MEAN when you are in a position of help. Life is all about ups and downs. You may allow your fear of judgement prevent you from reaching out to people who will HELP you move past your challenge. Asking for help means you are being responsible and taking action in areas you need more work on.
14. Don’t hide things.
Hiding things creates a lot of resentment, isolation and loneliness. Once you START hiding things, you may find yourself continuing this behavior and not sharing with anyone. Look how far you’ve come from being speechless, to speaking to the WORLD through your blog!
15. Be coachable.
As you gain more knowledge and experience in life you may find yourself in situations where you are no longer listening to what others are saying. You may feel as if you’ve “been there and done that.” All of a sudden you may approach people and situations with a different perspective. Being coachable allows you to always remain a student of life. Each person you encounter has something unique to contribute. Find solutions instead of challenges. Create opportunities to learn from others and be in the presence of someone else’s experience. Allowing others to share their ideas and thoughts about similar situations, may open up new ways for you create solutions.
16. Use anger as your fuel.
“Anger is an emotional response to one’s psychological interpretation of having been threatened.” It often indicates when one’s basic boundaries are violated. Consider that it is a “psychological interpretation of having been threatened.” My life tip for you is to truly step back from the situation and REMOVE the emotion attached to the threat. What is really happening? Is my interpretation correct? How is it occurring to the other person? What can I do to change how I FEEL about what’s ACTUALLY happening? If you’re able to remove emotion, stay calm and use the negative energy to find a positive solution, you will be able to successfully walk away without becoming emotionally disabled. When you are uncomfortable, you sense something is wrong. Make sure you ask yourself those important questions to determine f the threat is REAL or just your interpretation.