My Top 8 Life Lessons — What Are Yours?

We all have life lessons buried in our years of experience, living life and watching others around us. When was the last time you took a few minutes to distill yours?  

If it's been a while for you, you're not alone. I often discover some of my most important lessons as I am coaching someone. When this happens, I find myself wondering whether the words I just said out loud were just as valuable to me as they were to the leader I was coaching at the time. It always leaves me feeling like the "Twilight Zone" music should be playing in the background and Rod Serling might pop out any minute.

Despite any "aha" moments we might have, most of us don't write the lessons down unless something prompts us to do so. For me, it's typically when I am asked to speak at conferences or companies, or if I am on a plane where no one can call or email me. For others, it may be when a major life event occurs and they are trying to make sense of it. It's the rare person who makes reflection about life lessons a regular part of her leadership development without someone (like a coach or mentor) suggesting it.

I hadn't planned to generate a list of life lessons on my flight as I headed to the Grand Canyon recently. I was actually trying to take a nap. But I guess my head was too full, and this list came oozing out.

  1. It is OK to want what you want. Admit it to yourself, stop judging and get started.

  2. You get what you give. Be generous.

  3. Accept support no matter how tough and self-sufficient you are. It makes others feel good.

  4. Stop overthinking and go with your gut. It will be OK.

  5. Your body knows when you are taking a wrong turn. Don't ignore your insomnia and pain.

  6. Decide what kind of leader you want to be, regardless of how others are showing up.

  7. Be good to yourself. Empathy isn't just for other people.

  8. Own your value. It is the first step in creating a ripple effect, that positive impact you want to have on others.

As you read that list, what resonated most with you? I want to challenge you to identify the biggest lesson for you this year. It might be one you've learned before but needed to be reminded of. I would love to hear from you.