As I hit a “milestone” birthday this weekend, I find myself grateful for the journey so far and excited about the possibilities going forward.

There’s a lot of things I would do differently if I could regarding people, circumstances, and key choices. But I’ve learned and grown from every outcome, every disappointment, every ounce of shame, and every thrill of success. And it’s all brought me to a place of clarity regarding what I value the most:

Kindness. Health. Curiosity.

It’s hard to rank these three core values in any particular order, because each plays off of the other and is strengthened or weakened by the fulfillment or lack of the other. I suppose a “Venn diagram” could best illustrate them; but this is a blog, and I’m sticking with linear expression.

Kindness. Everything in life becomes energized and hopeful when I’m kind to other people. My self-esteem, creativity, and sense of security plummet when I am not. I intend to be kind in every interaction, with whomever crosses my path. And I recognize how healthy the practice of kindness is for me and others.

Health. This is holistic in nature for me: ongoing physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health. I intend to continue to eat well, exercise well, and rest well. I intend to keep learning and stretching my mind. I intend to keep growing in self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and resilience. I intend to keep practicing mindfulness toward mastery. And I recognize how the healthier I am, the more kind I tend to be.

Curiosity. About people. About places. About countless fields of knowledge. I love to read, write, travel, and coach and mentor others, and I love to be coached and mentored by others. I will never run out of topics for my curiosity, and that provides an internal joy that cannot be fully extinguished by difficult circumstances. And I recognize how being kind and being healthy fuel my fires of curiosity.

I’ve no idea how many more decades or “milestones” are ahead of me. But I do know what and whom I value, and for now–and, hopefully, for the long run–that is more than enough.

Growing Your Strengths

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.

Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.

Strengths that you can develop as well.

Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.

Choose to do something new. Today. Start with this post, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.

 

John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.