Let me tell you a story.

Over the past years, I’ve taken some time to go back all the way to the beginning and read those first few posts that started something that would change my entire life. I will never forget the first line I ever put down on paper…”I sit here mashing at the keys in no way a perfect man.” Truth is, that statement is as true today as it was then. I sit here writing to you tonight in no way a perfect man…and with 5 more years of experience under my belt, I realize that I never actually want to be.

When I go back and read those posts, I realize how much I was struggling. The horizon for what was possible in my life was very very short and I couldn’t even imagine a tenth of what I was actually capable of. Life just seemed to be happening to me and I had no role to play in it. The best way to describe it actually would be that was my entire world was on fire…and not in a good way at all. One thing after the next after the next came barreling into me like meteorites and I suffered endlessly without realizing that I had much of any capacity to make some changes.

I guess I did realize that I was capable of one thing though…making a small step in a different direction. That little step changed the course of my life and I doubt I will ever fully understand the magnitude of that moment because I will never be able to see what the other path looked like. Maybe one day after all of this is said and done that will be in store for me – who knows…anything is possible right?

There are some pretty interesting times going on right now, especially in having turned 26 today and looking ahead to what this year could all be about. Traditionally, most people wait till the new year to dedicate their lives to new goals, resolutions etc. I never really believed in that. I’m actually quite the opposite – I believe that long term sustainable growth over time is something that you should aim for because you can really keep at it. Sure, once in a while along that path you are going to have to take big risks…but the goal should be to continue growing every single day no matter how bad it gets. You have to simply never give up. That right there is specifically the reason why my motto for years has been Love – Passion – Never Quit. Keep going no matter what and in the end it will all turn out just the way it is supposed to.

Turning 26 today really made me think about everything I have learned over this past year. Wow, talk about an intense year of growth. I came back from a disaster in LA, picked myself back up, voraciously devoured books, changed my body completely, saw some dreams through that had been out of my reach for some time, took some of the biggest risks of my life, loved people like crazy, faced significant disappointments, found my calling, developed myself nonstop and in the next week I will be launching my professional life coaching business. This year has been an incredible year and it truly has been the most impactful.

There are many lessons I’m carrying with me into this 26th year, but here are some of the most important ones.

  • There is a whole lot of color in between black and white. Seriously though. The amount of shades of brilliant color in between what we usually deem “right” vs. “wrong” are so beyond our understanding. Thousands upon thousands of different variations. How does this even correlate with understanding life? When you think you have something figured out, just know that there are billions of other perspectives out there. Keep in mind…yours is just one of them. If something is working for you, then great! But if things are not turning out…know you have access to so much information and people that can help you make a change.
  • People are messy and complicated. So is life. But especially people. You really have to hold people you love with an open palm. This, by far, has been the most significant lesson I have learned throughout this entire year. In the years past, I have had a horrible time letting people go and letting things end. I would hold onto things so tight and I would still lose them. The lesson I’ve learned is that I have to really appreciate people when they are here…and still appreciate them when they feel like they need to leave (for WHATEVER reason). You have to love people…unconditionally. It’s pretty…stinking…hard…to do at times I can tell you that. But it’s better than acting damaged all the time isn’t it?
  • Risk. You’ve got to go for it at some point. I spent 7 years struggling with fitness and bad eating habits and finally put it all on the table and gave myself one last shot. That “one shot” ended up being a complete game changer.
  • Positive boundaries. This one is pretty big. Learning how to say no to things because they aren’t good for you is a very powerful thing. It also makes your “yes” that much more powerful. If you just are a complete doormat and say yes to everything…that’s not a very powerful position to be in…or a respectful one to yourself. You have to be willing to understand where your boundaries OUT OF LOVE are…and move past your boundaries created in fear.

I’ve got some things up my sleeve this year. Besides the launching of my coaching practice, I have a few other things that are in the works that I am ready to bring to the table. This past years ability to take risks and go for it has given me the courage to do it again this year. So I’m going to do that. I’m going to take the biggest calculated risks I know I can take and give this my best shot.

I’m going to continue building the life I’ve always imagined.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt.”

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project