In a few days, I’ll be turning 29.
I’ve thought a bit about that. About what I want to do and accomplish in my 29th year. I’ve also thought a lot about how I’ve finally started Twenty-Eight & Searching and what that means.
I had the idea for my podcast for months before I actually did anything about it. I was skeptical that I could do it. That I wanted to do it. But the idea pestered me and pestered me. I knew it was good. I knew it would be worth it. So, finally in the last two months of my 28th year, I started.
It seems to be fitting. While I was 28, I was searching. I had been searching. And while turning 29 doesn’t stop that search, it has definitely made progress in finding. Instead of only searching, I’ll actually be doing.
While this journey down a road of doing has started for me, I know a lot of people are still pretty lost. I don’t have answers for you. But I do have suggestions.
Here are twenty-nine things I have learned, that may help you find what you’re looking for:
Start already (1)
I know there’s doubts. You don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s too expensive. What about so&so.
You need to kick these thoughts and just go for it. I’ll be honest, you’re probably going to fail. SO WHAT! When did failure become the worst thing to happen? When did anyone truly succeed without failure? Go ahead, find them. I’ll wait.
To that point, FAIL A LOT (2)
If you’re failing, that means you’re doing it right. Pick yourself back up and do it again. Fall in love with trying. Starting this podcast, I had no clue what I was doing. I hate dealing with the specifics of technology. I had used Skype less times than I have fingers on one hand. I had never recorded a conversation in my life. I lost several interviews to technology and had to bring my failures to those people and beg them to help me out again.
Guess what? I didn’t die. I’m still here. It sucked, but I learned a lot from it. Now I can move on better than I was. Isn’t that the point?
Invest in yourself (3)
It’s easy to say that a class is too expensive, or your harebrained side hustle isn’t worth spending money on. Other people will probably even back you up on it.
Don’t listen to them or yourself.
Spend money on your goals. Even if it doesn’t work out it isn’t a bunk investment. I’m not encouraging you to put your family in the poorhouse. What I’m saying is don’t go buy the new iPhone. Use the phone you have right now and put some money into your entrepreneurial side.
Invest in your partner (4)
Having a spouse or someone you’re spending your life with means you are part of a team. Often you won’t have the same dreams. While I encourage you to follow your own path, I also strongly suggest you encourage there’s as well. Taking a backseat to support someone you love isn’t taking a backseat at all. It’s playing as part of a team. There’s enough room and time and value for you both to become something great. And when you’re needing someone’s support, you’ll have it too.
Think about your legacy (5)
What are you going to leave for the rest of the world when you go? What will your name remind people of?
At my father’s funeral there were bus loads (literally) of people who showed up. People left work. An entire school district was there. He had a baseball field named after him. A bench built in his name. He was missed and remembered.
That was an important lesson, one of many I’ve learned from him since his passing, that I hold on to.
What will my funeral look like? What I am leaving the people behind to remember me by?
Write this shit down and post it somewhere you can’t forget about it. Everything you do contributes to this. Evaluate your legacy often and scale every other goal against it.
There is no such thing as too late (6)
If you’re still breathing, there’s still time. Get your shit together and do it. I don’t care if you’re 100 years old. You can make strides toward any goal, at any time.
We are living in the greatest age in history (7)
I’ve taken this one from the playbook of Gary Vaynerchuk. But guys, he’s right. We are the greatest group of humans to ever live. We have amazing things to help us become great. I know the news sometimes makes it hard to see and we get caught up in the emotional roller-coaster of it all, but you just have to ignore the feeling and submit to fact. This is the greatest time in history. Period. Take advantage of that.
Understand your influences (8)
This is probably one of the hardest pieces of advice to live with but has the most benefits.
Guys, you have to know what influences you and how. If you have a friend or family member who every time you talk to them you feel put down or out? You’ve got to rectify that. Analyze how you feel after interacting with people. If you find yourself in a slump or doubting your worth, it is imperative to distance yourself from that relationship. It doesn’t even need to be someone close. If you watch a certain type of show and realize how horrible you feel when it’s over, stop watching it.
Influences change who you are and what you do. It can take you from a course of unbelievable potential to either success or quitting. You need to know which ones do which so you can change and shape your influence.
Don’t give others the permission to bring you down.
Create Routine (9)
I work on this one daily. When I’m on point, I feel amazing. When I’m not, I feel disheveled.
It’s important for out well beings to have routine. Get up at the same time everyday. Have a cup of coffee. Brush your teeth. Work out. Watch a TV show. Meditate. Write.
It doesn’t matter really what you do, just do it consistently. Make time for the things that make you feel like a person and that takes care of your physical and mental well being, whatever that may be.
Find a Cheerleader (10)
This can be a person you know. I mean I do have many people who cheer me on. But they are still people and that means I cannot always expect their optimism.
A better option is a podcast or a youtube or a book. Anything that gets you pumped. Right now I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk & Tony Robbins a lot. Both of them have such motivation and inspiration in their chats that I feel myself getting ready to rumble. I listen on my way to work or when I’m feeling particularly down.
They’re my own personal cheerleaders, on call, at the push of a button. I can listen to the same speech again and again and know there’s no downers possible.
Create Something (11)
Not everyone is a writer or an artist, but all of us are creators. Even if you don’t think you’re good at whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it. We need to create to be our best selves.
Look, I’m not very good at art. Still, a few times a month I go to a pottery painting place and paint. Or I write stories or poems. Sometimes I color or draw.
Doing these things opens my mind to possibilities. It calms my need for perfection because I already know that’s unattainable. It makes me be more open because I don’t feel like these things matter. It connects me to the physical and gives me a sense of accomplishment when it’s done. Give yourself this gift often.
Say “I don’t know” (12)
You don’t have to have an opinion on everything.
Let me say that again…
YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE AN OPINION ON EVERYTHING
In the age of the internet and being “woke” this phrase isn’t stated often enough. Look, it is impossible to know everything. Hell, it isn’t likely you know yourself well enough to have an opinion on it all. And you shouldn’t. Not knowing and saying that you don’t know is how we learn. Being open to the ideas that are given help you determine who you are as a person.
Pretending to know so you don’t look stupid only hurts you.
But, say that you are going to find out (13)
Not knowing is OK, but you should always try to find out. Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t care about whatever it is that you don’t know! But trying is the only way you’ll figure that out and you might find something new you’re passionate about. You might find that you believe something you never did before.
Say Yes to experiences! (14)
Too many times in “advice columns” are we told to say no. Saying no is important, your time is valuable. But saying yes, is arguably more important. There are so many experiences that have brought me joy and where I have learned a lot that I couldn’t image my life without them. It would have been easier to say no. They weren’t things I really wanted to do, or I just didn’t “feel” like it. Still, I got my butt up and said yes anyway.
Your TV shows (or reading/gaming/sleeping) can wait. Do something you’re not sure of, at least you’ll have the experience of saying yes!
Tell people no (15)
In the same breath, people are going to ask things of you. A lot of things. Between spouses, family, bosses, communities… people all want you to do more than what you’re doing. You’ve got to prioritize and say no. Can what someone is asking from you be done by someone else? Does it take your specific skill set to get it done? If not, you can probably say no and give another solution.
This one goes along with saying no beautifully and a lot of people have a hard time wrapping their heads around it.
I’ll give an example.
My husband and I both hate taking the time to clean. We fight and it stresses us out to do it, but it also stresses us out to not do it. Otherwise, it’s something that needs to be done frequently. We batted around and tried to make it a priority for us, but we still fought and procrastinated and loathed it. So, instead of living out the rest of our lives like this, we hired someone.
Most of you might be gasping and saying, “Why on Earth would you pay money for someone to do something that simple?”
Because readers, my time is more valuable than the money I spend to get this done. My sanity is worth more.
Lots of things in my life are delegated this way by either people or programs. I pay to have more time and brainpower to take care of the things I can’t trust others to do. My laundry? Not important, I can hire this out. Hosting my podcast? Important, I need to focus my time on this.
Your life will be better if you don’t continuously try to make yourself waste time and emotion on shit you hate and are always going to hate. At some point it no longer builds character, it just makes your miserable.
Bite off more than you can chew (17)
This seems counterproductive, but how are you going to know your limits unless you test them?
Sure, I’ve become stressed when I’ve taken on more than I can handle. I’ve also learned that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. I also learned that I am really good at dealing with life altering decisions. I’ve learned to prioritize, to take deep breaths, to find gratitude. Most of the biggest things I’ve learned about who I am, came from biting off more than I could chew.
Be OK with being bored (18)
I’m still learning this. I constantly want to move and have my mind preoccupied. I need something happening. I need a stress lurking somewhere. It’s one of the reasons I find exercise so difficult, because my mind is free to wonder aimlessly.
But some of my best ideas have come from walking around a pond with my husband.
Seriously. The minute I put down my phone and stop trying to fill my time, ideas come. They practically flood. Twenty-Eight & Searching wouldn’t be here without that aimless wander.
Another thing I’ve found is that I am more easily entertained when I allow myself to be bored. Anything can be fun when there’s nothing better around the bend.
Do more “single-tasking” (19)
Speaking of being entertained, stop multitasking all the freaking time! Seriously. Do you know how much you miss when you multitask? I know it was the big buzzword a few years back but now there’s tons of research to back why it doesn’t work. Google it. When you try to do a million things, you do none of them well.
Even silly things. I’ve started putting my phone or book or magazine or whatever away when I’m watching a movie or TV. I focus solely on the show in front of me. If I want to do something else? I turn the TV off. If I’m writing, I use a distraction free app. If I’m hosting a podcast, I stare into the void, thinking only of my podcast.
When you really listen and see and feel what’s in front of you without distraction you learn to love simple things again. You also learn how to be engrossed. Your mind likes to do this. So will you.
I feel like the bulk of our society doesn’t ask enough. And no, I’m not talking about asking someone to bring you a snack or wash your car. I’m talking about the big stuff.
Ask for a raise.
Ask someone to be your mentor.
Ask people to help you with their expertise.
Everyone has this underlining fear of being told no and it is fantasy. If I didn’t ask people to be on my podcast, do you think it would happen? And I have to often ask them multiple times and more often than not they want to help! People are busy. Be persistent. Ask, ask, ask. You’ll never get a yes if you don’t.
Give Back (21)
On top of asking, I don’t think enough of us give enough. We don’t give our expertise and our knowledge to each other. We hoard it. We think that if we give it away everyone will have it and what will make me special.
Guess what? Knowledge is free. People can get it from somewhere else if it isn’t you. Your value isn’t based solely on what you know, it’s based on what you do with it.
Give it out freely. People will clamor to you. Most will appreciate it. You will find joy in seeing others succeed with what you’ve taught them. Remember the part of this essay about building your legacy? It starts here.
Seek Out Opposition (22)
I will intentionally ask someone, who I know will have an opposing view, their opinion. Why? How else am I going to learn what I really believe if I don’t? How else can I see the whole picture if I only talk to people who agree? How else do you test yourself?
You don’t. Look for those who are different. It takes all kinds to make a whole my friends. Find them and make yourself better, your position stronger and your outlook broader.
Listen to your gut (23)
So many people ignore what their unconscious self is telling them. They feel the nudge. They feel the pull towards something else. They feel the fear and the happiness and the dread. Your gut can have mixed feelings. Your mind will interpret things wrong. Sometimes, the right answer goes against everything you feel. But you still need to listen to what your intuition is telling you. More often than not it’s right.
Don’t fall into the social media facade (24)
Everyday, someone posts something spectacular. A photo they look flawless in. A vacation that seems unbelievable. A wedding that looks like a million bucks.
Don’t fall into comparing your value to this.
You are not a sum total of your social media accounts. People only want to show you the good. They want to incite jealousy and envy. It makes them feel like more, for a moment. Then that moment is gone and they are the same as you. Don’t chase this feeling. Recognize that someone has a beautiful moment and has recorded it. You have plenty of amazing moments, they might just not be on Facebook and that’s OK.
Put your time and energy somewhere else that can better the “real” you.
Find it. Show it. Believe in it.
Being grateful is a gift you give yourself. It’s the #1 remedy for most ailments. I’ve found it’s power to be undeniable.
Have Grace (26)
I really learned about grace from a dear friend of mine many, many years ago. It’s often talked about in the context of religion, but can be used no matter what you believe. You need to find it in yourself to have grace. For yourself. For others. Being able to allow yourself the room to be human, for others to be human, will save you so much pain. It will make you stronger and capable of very beautiful things.
You have more time than you realize (27)
I downloaded an app at the beginning of this year that would track both the use of my phone and my computer then tell me where my time was being used.
Needless to say, I was shocked to learn the majority of the time I spent online was surfing the internet, playing dumb-ass phone games, or checking social media. Hours I lost to this and only a fraction of real work was being done. It was appalling.
What I learned was, I have way more time than I realized. I took this a step further to look at the time spent in a day and what I was doing.
Relationships should be mutually beneficial (28)
This sounds harsh, but it’s true.
If someone makes you laugh and you make them think. That’s mutually beneficial. If you work for someone, they give you a pay check. That’s mutually beneficial. If you support someone through a tough time, then they support you? That’s mutually beneficial.
I think you see what I’m saying.
If you are the only one doing all the work and getting nothing at all in return (not even happiness), then it’s time to move on.
Love what you do (29)
You aren’t always going to love what you’re doing, but it’s the big picture you need to love. Spending large chunks of your life hating what you do… well, it sounds crazy to me. Change it. You have the power to make things happen. To change your life into something you want to be living. You have the options available to you. Sure, you’ve got to work for it. Sacrifice is a given. Frustration happens to the best of us. But that overwhelming feeling of “I love this” is worth it. Just listen to people who have done it here.
Here’s to twenty-nine my friends!