Birthday Wisdom 2.0: 26 Tough Lessons I Learned From Being 25.

Guess what!? It’s myyyyyyyyy birthday!

Well, almost my birthday . . . I officially turn 26 on Sunday.

I hope this year brings more adventure, connection and joy into my life. To be completely honest, 25 was a really tough year of serious growth. From my evolving coaching business and my deepening personal relationships, to my own inner growth and ego battles, a lot of big lessons were learned  — and I’ve decided to share the most important ones with you.

Here they are:

1. Make decisions.

Don’t waffle in the space between for ages trying to figure out the perfect way to get what you want. Because guess what? That’s what keeps you stuck! Instead, choose to DO something. You’ll never fully know what’s right for you until you try it out. And if you’re scared, remember, nothing is permanent. You can always change your mind.

2. Let shit go.

When you hold onto anger, resentment, old grievances, you’re the one who’s losing. Your negativity has little effect on the person you’re upset with, but a massive effect on you.  As Buddha says, “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Despite what it may seem, we’re all trying are best here. Forgive them. Move on. You’ll feel sooooo much better, trust me.

3. The universe truly is a mirror reflecting back to you exactly what you’re putting out.

You know the feeling when you’re first falling in love with someone new? The first few weeks where you feel all warm, fuzzy and floaty and literally everything in your life is going RIGHT. People keep complimenting you, you’re *killing it* at work, your bank account is bloated. That ain’t a coincidence! Your outer experience of the world is a direct mirror of what’s happening internally. So if life isn’t so sparkly for you right now, you’ve got some inner work to do.

4. Writing down your goals and your intentions literally creates magic.

When you put pen to paper you’re giving your hopes and dreams a physical home and making them real. You’re getting clear about what you want and planting the seed that will ultimately blossom into what you want to manifest. At 17, I made a half-serious bucket list to kill time at a boring administrative job I worked while in high school. I found the list five years later going through old things and it BLEW MY MIND how many of the things that felt like a pipe dream at 17, I’d ACTUALLY DONE by 22. Write your dreams down!!!

5. Be patient and stay present.

Phew, am I ever working on this one right now. When I launched my business last year I had somewhat naive expectations of how much money I’d be making and how fast I’d be making it. I’d invested a lot in myself then grew antsy and frustrated when that investment didn’t pay off immediately. This made me feel incredibly anxious and caused me to seriously doubt myself and my decisions. Nahhhhhhhhhht good. When I took the pressure off my shoulders and focused on my business journey — staying present with clients, creating content, putting my systems in place — I began to feel so much better, AND experienced better financial results. So be patient. Trust the process. And keep focused on the here and now.

6. Be nice to yourself.

It sounds soooooo easy, doesn’t it? But yet, if we really pay attention to our inner dialogue, most of us will discover we’re actually pretty mean to ourselves. We berate ourselves for screwing up, being late, blowing an opportunity. Eventually that negative self-talk wears on our confidence, self-esteem and ambition. So build yourself up! Cheer yourself on! And soothe and comfort yourself when you’ve had a rough day.

7. Salt water is healing.

So sweat, cry and swim in the ocean as often as you can. Did you know that humans are actually creatures of the sea?  Millions of years ago before we evolved into land-dwellers the ocean was our home.  Salt water is healing, purifying and rejuvenating. When you’re stressed out, sad or struggling make sure you have a good sweat, a good cry or a long swim. Immerse yourself in salt water and let that negativity wash away.

8. A long walk outside in nature is often as effective as therapy.

My love and appreciation for nature and our environment has deepened so much this year. It still blows my mind how perfect and simple it all is. Flowers don’t “try so hard” to bloom; birds don’t “push themselves” to fly, they simply allow their natural processes to take place. We can learn a lot by being in nature and watching its divine magic unfold.

9. Be grateful for your fuck ups and horrible mistakes.

It’s all character building. You wouldn’t be as smart, strong, witty or compassionate if you didn’t go through that.

10. Own your story.

This year I started diving into shadow work and looking at the aspects of my personality and psyche that aren’t so shiny. The process was so enlightening and really deepened my sense of compassion for myself and other people. We all have shit to work on, parts of ourselves that need developing, nurturing and understanding. Don’t ignore what you don’t like about yourself or be ignorant. Own your story. Acknowledge your whole self. It’s only then that you can truly step into your power.

11. Your body is wise, listen to what she’s telling you.

This year, I read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, and it shifted so much for me in terms of how I view my body. I’ve always believed in the mind-body-spirit connection and holistic health, but Hay’s book taught me how intelligent our body truly is. Don’t ignore your aches and pains, or assume that stomach ache you always have is nothing. Ask your body what’s going on and your intuition will guide you to the answer.

12. You DO have time to meditate, so stop making excuses.

I know, I know, meditation might seem like just another wellness trend with all of the apps, celebs and health nuts preaching about its benefits. But do yourself a favour and hop on the bandwagon, because they’re all right. Making time to meditate at least once a day for a minimum of five minutes and completely shift your physical, mental and emotional health. I meditate every morning for 20 minutes, and most days again in the afternoon for 20 minutes, and holy shit I feel like a totally different person. I rarely feel anxious, get worked up or feel tight for time anymore. My life has this magical flow to it. I trust that everything is as it should be and unfolding exactly as it’s supposed to. Want some of the mojo too? Meditate.

14. Play is MORE important to hard work.

It’s not what we learned in school, but trust me it’s true! When you’re happy, you get what you want. So make time for play, laughter and joy every single day.

15. But if you want results you’ve got to TAKE ACTION too.

It’s not enough to pray, meditate and make gratitude lists . . .  we live in a physical world, and that means if we want to see experience real, tangible results we’ve got to DO something.

16. You are your own guru.

Self-help books are great, life coaches are amazing, retreats are incredible, but the truth is you already have all of the answers. Buried within you is the blueprint for how to live your happiest life. Make a habit of looking within, not without, and you’ll soon realize you’ve always had it all figured out.

17. Be fierce with your finances.

When it comes to money, ignorance is not bliss. Money might not be your favourite thing, but in our modern world it’s what makes our dreams and goals possible. So make a commitment to know what’s going on with your money and set yourself up for a life of freedom and success.

18. Everything you believe is happening TO you is actually happening FOR you.

Thank you, Oprah, for that super soul nugget. It totally changed my life.

19. Know what you stand for.

Taking the time to unearth your values will really, really help you build a life you love. Without truly knowing what matters to you in life, you’ll always be searching and struggling to be happy. But when you know — on a soul level — what’s important to you in this world,  you can begin creating a life that blows you away with how fucking awesome it is. 

20. Be an eager student. You don’t graduate from the school of life until you die.

My open mind has opened soooooo many doors for me this year. By walking into obstacles, situations, and opportunities with the mindset of “what is this here to teach me,” I’ve uncovered incredible lessons that have had a massive impact on my life.

21. Always ask: What would it take?

I love this question!!! When I’m feeling completely blocked, stuck or totally stumped on how to move forward or make something happen, I simply ask myself what would it take? Then I see what comes up and take the first step. Simply sending an email, going for a walk to shift my energy, or writing down an intention, all builds momentum and gets me moving towards my goal.

22. Commit to being real.

Drop the persona and show up as your true self every single day. When we deny others the ability to see who we really are, and instead present some watered down, muted version of our truth, we’re compromising an opportunity for genuine connection and magic. Your success depends on your authenticity. You have gifts, talents, skills and quirks unlike any of the other 7 billion people on this planet, so share them! We need them!

23. If you ask for guidance, you get it. SO ASK!

I’ve always been pretty spiritual, but over the past year my faith and intuition has deepened immensely — mainly due to some pretty profound experiences I’ve had asking for guidance. If you’re lost, confused or stuck, simply ask for guidance. Seriously,  you guys, it works. Write down your feelings in your journal, speak them out into an open room, appeal silently in your mind, pray — just ask for help. Then pay close attention to your life. Become fully present in all that you do and you will get answer every. single. time. It might come in the form of a feeling or an intuitive hit, you might meet someone who tells you exactly what you need to hear, or literally see it on a billboard, it could be anything. Just pay attention and be patient. Once it happens it’ll blow your mind.

24. Unplug on the regular.

I never realized how intense my iPhone addiction was until I was forced to put it away for three full days while off the grid at a retreat in Algonquin Park. At first, I felt mad separation anxiety. What was my BF up to? How would my friends know how gorgeous this lake was if I couldn’t post a pic to Facebook? What funny long-weekend snapchat shenanigans was I missing?

But two hours later I had no desire to check anything. Connecting with the living, breathing, beautiful humans around me, immersed in nature filled me up so much, my anxiety totally vanished. And that weekend, unplugged, helped me get clear on some really important next steps in my business, relationship and personal life. While technology is ahhh-mazing, no doubt, it can also be really distracting. If all of your downtime is spent scrolling mindlessly on your phone (which, let’s be honest, a lot of it probably is), you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to tune into your intuition and inner guidance. Stillness and quiet time are so important for rejuvenation and clarity. Feeling burnt out, stuck or unhappy? It’s likely time for a digital detox.

25. Create space in your life for what you want.

That means physically, emotionally and mentally. Clear out the clutter, mend your broken relationships, let go of your negative thoughts. If you’re life is full of things you don’t want, how’s there room for anything new?

26. Assume nothing, about anything or anyone, ever.

I really feel that so much of our negativity comes from our own perceptions and projections. We assume the best or we assume the worst instead of letting life unfold naturally. Then when our assumptions don’t match reality we’re left feeling disappointed and unhappy. Easy fix? Allow your life to just flow. Don’t pass judgment or muck up all of life’s magic up by projecting your own fears onto it.

26. Let inspiration lead you.

Out of all of the clues your destiny leaves you, inspiration is probably the biggest. Think of the last time you felt really inspired by something? What did it feel like? Remember that sensation and when you feel it again pay close to attention. Because when you act on inspiration, you move into your dharma. There is a reason your mind lights up and your heart sparkles when you feel inspired — that’s your soul saying you’re onto something, so act on it! You most definitely will not regret it. For more on this check out the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

Whether you’re 26, 66 or 16, it’s my sincere hope that my big aha revelations and hard-earned lessons serve you on your journey.

With so much love,

Alex