Do you ever wonder how to live a life with few regrets? Lately I’ve been reflecting on this as I feel myself getting older, see parents slowing down, and watch friends cope with illness and other life challenges.
I’ve distilled my top 10 tips for a great life down to this list:
Tip #1: Write Your Own Story
I am a strong believer in finding your own unique gifts and purpose in life. Years ago I was challenged to describe myself without using my profession. For so many years, I saw myself as Lucy Morgan CPA-a not-so-typical accountant.
But who am I really outside my job? This exercise forced me to realize that at my core I am a problem solver and teacher. It’s never too late to grasp who you are and write your own story with that knowledge.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined
Henry David Thoreau
Tip #2 Don’t Give Up
When I was in school, I remember running a race that I was winning. As I neared the finish line, I experienced a strange floating sensation of victory within my grasp. Unfortunately, as my coach pointed out-I stopped running hard-and lost the race. I always remind myself to not stop running until after I cross the finish line.
Tip #3 Open Your Heart
As a CPA professional, you are trained to keep a skeptical eye about people. Unfortunately, keeping people at a distance stops you from building quality relationships. Studies have shown that one key element of living a great life is having great connections with others. Open your heart to let others in.
Tip #4 Let Go of the Past
Let’s face it, if you made it past age 16, you’ve made mistakes and would choose to do some things differently. Hanging on to the past is like holding an anchor tightly. The weight of the past can drown you if you don’t let go.
Tip #5 Give Yourself Permission to Practice
We didn’t learn to walk after one time. We fell down and started again. Thank goodness we were allowed to practice walking over and over.
Don’t we deserve the same grace as adults? It’s OK to practice. It’s OK to fall down. Just get up and get better.
Tip #6 Seek New Opportunities
I’ll let you in on a little secret…people don’t get into accounting because they love public speaking. But public speaking is an important skill for business and life. You can choose to say “I’m not a public speaker” or you can seek opportunities that allow you to try new things in a supportive environment.
My first foray into this was volunteering to greet people at church. This meant I had to go up to total strangers and talk to them. Scary? Yes. But it was a great opportunity to practice speaking in public which opened even more opportunities for me to hone new skills.
Tip #7 Let Creativity Flow
Accountants are not supposed to be creative. (Especially if you are dealing with other people’s money-they don’t want a creative accountant.) But humans are designed with creativity as part of our make-up. You’ll be amazed once you start to nurture your creative brain, the problem is not having too few ideas, the problem is having so many ideas that you can’t remember or act on all of them. Keep an idea log close to you-for future action.
Don’t let your creative juices run down the drain!
Tip #8 Seek Success by Example
When we were little we all wanted to be like a famous athlete, artist, actor, astronaut, teacher, chef, or other role model. When we get older, we still need role models to aspire to. Surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you to be a better person. Life’s too short to hang out with negative people.
Tip #9 Overcome Procrastination
I started writing this section, and then put it aside for a while…just kidding.
Overcome procrastination by taking the first small step. Once the body is in motion, it tends to stay in motion. Shut off the TV. Leave your phone off for a few minutes and get started. Push off from the shore and start paddling.
Tip #10 See the Destination
Having a vision in your mind of where you are going increases the likelihood you will achieve your goals. What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like?
Create the movie in your head with images, audio and a feeling at your core. If you see where you are going in very real terms it can focus and motivate you through the inevitable rough patches.
What about you?
What are your top tips for living a great life? Put your thoughts in the comments section-let’s see what the top five answers are.
Lucy Morgan CPA