Today I turn 30 and over the years I’ve learned a lot. Here are my 30 life lessons from 30 years.
1. Travel is the best teacher, seriously.
I’ve been working remotely while traveling the world since June 2015, hitting up over 25 countries, and I’ve experienced more personal and professional growth in those 3 years than in my entire life. Traveling will teach you what you’re truly capable. Beware, people and situations will also be a mirror to the things you didn’t want to see or that you’ve been running away from. And you know what that means, facing those demons.
2. Work through your shit.
Don’t keep everything bottled in. Sooner or later it will catch up to you. Proactively work on yourself. Meditate, journal, practice gratitude and work on that stuff that makes you uncomfortable and that you’d rather avoid at all costs because working through your shit will give you the ultimate freedom.
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3. Be patient.
I used to want everything right now, immediately, at whatever cost. Starting a business, WiFly Nomads, has forced me to be patient. It’s the one thing you can’t rush. I’ve learned the faster something comes, the quicker it goes. Be patient and play the long-term game. That’s when you create something withstanding. Whether it’s relationships, business, or everyday life. Be patient.
4. That thing you’re scared of doing, do it.
Those things you’re scared of, face them. Start small and work your way up. You’ll soon realize it’s not that big of a deal. We always seem to paint very vivid and extreme examples of what success will look like and what failure will look like and neither are ever close to accurate. Going after the things that scare you will start to give you confidence and next thing you know you’ll be taking on things you never dreamed that you’d try and face.
5. People are more concerned with their own problems than you.
Ever worry what people will think? What if I fail? What if I embarrass myself? Guess what? People are more concerned with themselves and their own fears and insecurities than to get caught up in your shit.
6. You already have everything you need inside of you.
I didn’t learn this until I was 29 and I wish I could have learned it earlier. I always looked for external validation or support - signing up for online courses, getting coaches etc but then I realize I have everything I need inside of myself and all those external things did was give me validation that I was worthy to do something. You’ve already got it inside yourself.
7. Don’t close yourself off from truly connecting with people.
Well into my twenties I didn’t show emotion, didn’t open up to new people, and was never vulnerable. But then, after deep reflection and an increase in self-awareness, I become open to changing this and it was the most incredible thing. Because of it, I have now welcomed some of the most incredible people in my life.
And remember, you can also connect with people deeply and briefly. Just because you open up doesn’t mean it needs to be a lifelong friendship.
8. Not ‘every’ ‘person’ has to be ‘every’ ‘thing’ to you.
Different people will fill certain roles in your life. You’ll have people to talk business with, people who humble you, people who you just go out and have fun with. Not everyone has to be everything. Every person can fill a different role in your life.
9. Never settle in love.
Marriage doesn’t make a strained relationship perfect. It just becomes a strained relationship with rings and legal papers. If you have the slightest feeling in your gut that someone isn’t right for you, they probably aren’t. (Note: I’ve never been married or engaged but that’s my viewpoint based on what I’ve seen others do). Be patient. That being said, no one will be perfect. You have to take your pick of what you’re willing to ‘put up with’ and as long as it’s not ‘that bad’ and not compromising your values or who you are you’re probably ok.
10. Never stop the inner work.
There will be times where you make leaps and bounds in your personal growth, but the inner work never stops. It’s a practice. Just like you need to keep showing up to the gym every day to maintain those abs, you’ll always need to work on yourself. Some periods of time you’ll experience more intense deep spurts of personal growth and other times it won’t require too much of you to maintain but it’s an ongoing journey.
11. There’s something else at works beyond what we can understand.
Call it god, science, the universe - it exists. There have been many things that have happened to me that I simply can’t explain and the more I tap into what’s beyond us, the more ‘magic’ seems to happen.
12. If you can master mindset you can overcome anything.
The mind is a POWERFUL thing. Mastering the mind will give you confidence, help you overcome fears, help you become resilient, courageous - all those good things. It all starts with the mind.
13. Expressing your emotions is ok. In fact, it helps.
I used to mask my emotions but what I didn’t realize is that in doing so I would subconsciously hold that emotion with me for a long period of time. When you can honor that emotion, be with it, and feel it, that’s when you can release it. Expressing emotions doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human. This especially goes for men - key word being men. Real men can honor their emotions too and hold a space for emotions because they’re also human, not robots.
14. Set boundaries.
This was a huge thing for me. People won’t respect you or your time if you don’t set boundaries. At the same time, it will be completely freeing for you. This is in business, relationships - all areas of life.
15. You know who the good people are in your life, keep them close and prioritize them over anything and everyone else.
Sometimes we can take advantage of the people who mean the most to us because they’re always there. Don’t do that. Because at the end of the day those are the people you need and those are the people who will stand by your side when everything else has dissipated. They don’t care about your status, accomplishments, awards etc they care about YOU. They deserve your respect and your time no matter ‘how busy you are’. Make time for them.
16. Eliminate toxic people immediately.
This also took me a long time to realize through many situations over the years. These people come in different forms. Some you get a gut feeling about right away but hold on until they ‘stab you in the back, or ‘bite’. Then there are the ones that slowly release the negativity or toxicity into your life. It’s a small comment here, a small comment there etc. Regardless of the type, eliminate them asap. I’ve had people who I knew weren’t great, “but they were fun to go out with”. Once I eliminated those people I soon realized I got more out of my time by being alone than being surrounded by those toxic people.
17. Angry people aren’t really mad at you, they just haven’t dealt with their shit.
They’re struggling internally and it’s a cry for help, love, and support. The best way to address someone’s anger is to come from a place or love vs a reactive state.
18. You are the sum of the 5 people you hang around the most.
Hate to break it to you but if you’re surrounding yourself with 5’s or 7’s chance are you’re not the unicorn 10 in the group. If you wouldn’t want to be a combination of the 5 people you see the most, then you need to change up your crew.
19. Speak your truth… even when no one else agrees.
This also took me a while to learn. It’s ok to speak your voice and opinions. Once you do this, more people will push back but this way you’re standing your ground as your own person and living in alignment to your truth and to who you are.
20. Be a kind person.
So basic, right? Yet so hard for so many people to do. If someone needs help, help them. Look out for people and be kind even when it’s not convenient for you. Don’t do nice things and expect it in return, that’s not the point of kindness. The point of kindness is to just be a good human being.
21. Taking care of the earth is actually super important.
I truly never realized this until I started traveling around the world and seeing issues first-hand. I’ve had plastic wash up on me while swimming in the oceans, I’ve cleaned up bags full of plastic from the beach, I’ve seen sea turtles on the beach with fucked up growths all over them (see the turtle in the middle) because of some shit in the ocean.
Living in Bali, I’ve been humbled and reminded that as humans we aren’t invincible and that mother nature holds the upper hand. From volcanoes to earthquakes. I’ve lived through that. If we don’t respect the earth, it will come right back at us in a way we can’t control. Know your place in this world and respect the environment. If the Earth goes to shit we will be first to go, well before the earth does. The earth operates in balance and by us not respecting the earth, we’re setting ourselves up to create an environment we can’t survive in but that the world can. Once we’re gone balance becomes restored. Don’t think you’re above the environment because you’re not.
22. Question everything.
I’ve worked in advertising, I’ve been on a reality TV show, and I’ve come to learn that I took on false truths because that’s what I was taught or raised to know, whether it was from parents, the education system, or society.
I’ve learned that in advertising and business people will dabble into grey areas more often than you’d like to believe Ie. I had a client allude to their product being ‘environmentally friendly’ which it wasn’t, so they used words such as ‘it makes me feel like I’m being environmentally friendly’. Not fair and very misleading if you ask me but the everyday person wouldn’t realize that.
I’ve also learned that our parents are humans, not gods, and they simply passed down the only information they knew from their time. Take it upon yourself to learn and when being presented with information, consider all perspective and decide for yourself what you bring on as your truth.
23. If your travel involve animals there’s a 90% chance those animals aren’t treated properly.
Educate yourself on animal tourism. I’ve made the mistake of swimming with dolphins and due to a lack of awareness. I didn’t realize the suffering these animals endured either while being “trained” or “behind the scenes” because everything seems and looks fine.
Places will lie to you and tell you what you want to hear to make you feel “ok” with it. Even elephant “sanctuaries”.
I always err on the side of caution and simply avoid anything that involves animals. To me, those photos posted online with wild animals are something of shame and not something to be proud of.
Animals are like children and are vulnerable. It’s up to us to stand up for them and as travelers, it starts with responsible tourism.
24. Confidence is a mindset and comes with practice.
“When I’m confident I will be this... I will have that... I will act like this…” But what most people fail to realize is that it’s just a mindset and you can only achieve it with practice.
25. Trust your gut. Always.
If something doesn’t feel right, it’s not. There’s a reason our gut gives us that warning sign. I’ve tried to overlook my gut many times and eventually it came back to bite me so now I always listen to it.
26. Stay in your own lane.
There’s nothing worse than getting so consumed with other people, where they’re at, and getting into a comparison game. Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20. Focusing on where others are at will just distract you from getting to where you want to be. Be better than you were yesterday, compare yourself only to the person you were yesterday and stay in your own lane. This has eliminated stress and anxiety for me and helped me get to where I want to be at a much faster speed.
27. If you really want to ‘make it’ you have to work your ass off.
You can want something really bad but don’t expect it to manifest without putting in the work. My journey to going remote took ALL my effort. 110% - all the time. It was the hardest I’ve ever worked for something and that’s why I am now living a location independent lifestyle.
The same held true with business. If you’re going to half-ass the effort, don’t expect any results but if you really want to ‘make it’ you’ll have to work for it. Patience and persistence are key.
Remember, if you do what’s easy, life will be hard. If you do what’s hard, life will be easy.
28. Take responsibility for all aspects of your life.
If your love life sucks, realize you’re the common denominator.
Take responsibility for that and do the deep work to see why you keep attracting a certain person into your life. This usually ties to lack of self-worth, a sense of purpose by being the ‘fixer’ etc. Also, who you attract is a reflection of you. Don’t expect to attract a 10 if you’re showing up as a 5.
Where you are in life is an exact reflection of what you feel you deserve and is a result of all the actions that you’ve taken in life.
Victim mode won’t get you anywhere but taking responsibility will.
Take responsibility for your mistakes.
You’re not perfect. Apologize, learn, and move on.
Take responsibility for your education.
School systems don’t teach you a lot such as, managing money, mental health, and nurturing your mind. And, sometimes what they do teach isn’t right. Question everything, do your own research, and ultimately take responsibility for your education.
Take responsibility for your health.
Before a doctor hands you a pill, question if that’s the right solution. A symptom is usually a result of something being off balance in your body, so instead of popping a pill to mask the symptom, question why your body is reacting in that way. Go to the source of the problem and address that.
I find it crazy that doctors never ask what foods you are consuming, if you’re exercising, or if you’re taking care of your mental health. All of these things are core to diseases but doctors prescribe a pill before addressing the cause of the problem. Your body is a temple. Exercise it, nourish it. If you don’t commit to your health now, you’ll pay the price later.
29. Money is good.
For the longest time, I had money mindset issues that I have since overcome. I’ve learned that people with money aren’t bad. In fact, they’re quite awesome and do a lot of good with their money. Being rich doesn’t make you a snob, it makes you more of who you already are. You can make and deserve money too, regardless of your life situation. And finally, money = time freedom. Overall, money is good. Learn to love it and don’t be afraid of it.
30. Life doesn’t have to be hard.
This one took me a LONG time to learn. In terms of work, I always felt like if I was exhausted, burnt out, and working crazy hours meant I was “working hard” and thus deserved the rewards of hard work. It doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, when you are doing work that’s in complete alignment with you, you will operate from a state of flow and “work” will feel quite easy and you’ll wonder how on earth you’re getting paid to do what you do. This holds true in life too. Don’t overcomplicate your life. You don’t get some “great citizen award” by making your life a struggle. You can make an impact, you can produce great work, and it doesn’t have to be hard.
There you have it, 30 years of life lessons. Thanks to all the people, places, companies, countries, coaches, great people, shit people and ex-boyfriends for teaching me all these lessons.
Although this is a compilation of the last 30 years, I learned most of these lessons in the last 3 years, at a very intense rate. It hasn’t been easy but through every painful or uncomfortable situation, I grew. I know I’ll continue to grow, but I’m also looking forward to the intensity of my learnings to slow down a bit. And although I’ll continue working hard into my thirties, I’m also looking forward to reaping the rewards of the hard work I put in in my twenties.
Thirty can seem scary but if you haven’t noticed yet I dance to the beat of my own drum, which has me really excited for this next chapter of my life. I’m feeling pretty confident that this year and my thirties, in general, will be pretty kick ass. This will be a time where a lot of my major life milestones will happen, which I’m super pumped to see unfold.
Which of these did you resonate with? Are there any other life lessons you’ve learned that you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.