And ways you can power forward, happy.
When I look back at old photos, I see a shine and sparkle in my eyes. There was limitless hope, possibility, and imagination.
I hadn't experienced the world yet. I hadn't faced life challenges. And emotionally, I was unshook.
At the time of this writing, I'm 27 years old and, for the life of me, I still try to hang onto that bit of sparkle and shine.
Reflecting on the life I've lived so far, I feel that I've put miles on my soul to test and try new things. To learn and experiment with new concepts. And to fail and start again.
By no stretch were any of my accomplishments "successful". I was merely lucky to walk away from the things I did without ruining my future.
My first company, Phased, cost $27,000 to discontinue. Selling SUP Baddeck offset the owed amounts and helped me get a healthy start living in Toronto. Add in a few heart breaks along the way and poof - life can become somewhat negative.
But despite all the setbacks, realizations, disappointments, and tears, I keep my head up and look forward.
I consider being happy throughout aging ESSENTIAL to living an active and enjoyable life.
So while not all times are excellent, here are a few ways I stay happy as I get older.
This is a controversial topic with a few people. Some see it as a cry for attention, while others see it as a way to help people.
When I first started my career in marketing, personal branding was a very important concept. If I was going to reach any level of success compared to my family members, I would need to master this skill. So admittedly, it was a cry for attention.
But then something really interesting happened.
Every time I hit a wall or faced failure, I'd disappear for a month and start again. Over the years, this started to strike some people as motivation.
Motivation was never my intention. However, after a few conversations with people in my community, my province, and in other parts of the world, I started to see how my actions were HELPING people.
This is now a big part of why I post content online (and to an extent why this blog exists).
Helping people makes me feel happy. If my own personal drive and ambition can inspire 2 people in a given week, it's worth it for me. So I keep writing, I keep posting, I keep moving. In the spirit of "keep going" and "try again", I'm okay with my choice to be very active on social media.
My grandfather used to drive down our street, honk the horn, and hollar "come on kids, we're going to McDonalds!" RIGHTTTT when my mother was setting the table for the meal she prepared!
Maybe not the best timing, grandpa.
That was him, though. Loud, active, diligent, and a worker. He saw what he wanted and he went for it every shot.
I also like remembering times with my parents like when I went grocery shopping with my mom as a kid. She asked me to get a bag of marshmellows and for whatever reason, they were part of a large triangular display. I grabbed a bag and the whole thing tumbled. She thought that was hilarious.
It's also funny to remember stupid decisions I made as a kid. There was a time I was driving my bike to McDonalds and I was trying to pop my front tire up on the curb. Anyway, I was a fat kid and wound up going over the handle bars and landing on my back.
Where was Tinkerbell when I needed her?
I have to give credit where it's due. 2 great friends of mine named Anthony and Amy helped me embrace that emotional intelligence wall we hit as we get older.
Anthony helped me learn how to receive a compliment. Whenever people asked what I did for work or where I went to school, I would bow my head down and start shamefully sharing a small phrase about my businesses and some school (not all of it). Anthony helped me realize that items like starting a business and going to school are great achievements that I should be proud. He also helped me cross that barrier of giving myself permission to be happy for my accomplishments and to thank people if they mention them.
As for Amy, she helped elevate my mindset to realize life can't always be balanced and we can't always be ready for the next step. There were times I would stress out, lose sleep, and eat poorly because I had an unrealistic amount of work due. I recall a blunt conversion at work (because Amy is a straight shooter!) where Amy asked "Okay, you got a lot of shit on your plate. Are you going to stop breathing next week? Are you physically going to exist?".
Amy was right.
No matter if I dropped the ball, delivered, or scraped past the finish line, I would still be alive and breathing the next week. But her words struck me in a deeper way - that I'm more capable of what I know.
In the past, I would stop myself from taking on new projects because I didn't want to do too much. But why not? After reading a book called The Science of Luck and realizing the power in saying YES more often, it all started to click.
I now take on MANY projects, keep them all moving, and watch for my next exciting opportunity.
This mindset brings me tons of joy!
Even right now writing this paragraph, I'm FEELING the energy. Come with me people. Get pumped up.
I once worked for a guy who ALWAYS found a way to get invited to corporate parties, concerts, etc.
He was always connecting with super interesting people around the world, and was finding new ways to collaborate with different folks - it was awesome.
And like.. rightfully so. The guy is literally the embodiment of charisma.
But what was most fascinating was his ability to cut through fake professionalism and connect deeply with people (and I mean random strangers).
That was special skill to see in action and luckily I got to see it a number of times.
In an effort to try and mix a bit of his skill into my own style of doing business, my relationships REALLY improved.
People started to think of me as chill, fun, someone to get lunch with, etc. It didn't mean I couldn't be a hard-ass in meetings. It just simply meant knowing when to shut-off work mode and to turn-on people mode.
This is only a recent alteration to my character, but ohhh how I enjoy it. Plus it means I laugh and smile more often!
So like.. be happy.
Don't beat yourself up over the things you haven't done, or take shame in the accomplishments you HAVE done.
Pull yourself together and remember the times you had a good laugh or felt good. Then take a crack at enjoying YOUR DAY.
If exercise makes you happy, cool. If you want to read a book and let the world f*** *** for a bit, go for it. Just make sure you get those smiles in.
You're a winner. Don't forget it!
You've accomplished a lot of amazing things in your life. Be proud of those moments! No one can ever take those from you. And if your achievements are bothering someone, then **** those people! Carry on, brother.