The Secret Handbook 4 Teens


My yoga practice ended with this poem today and I was inspired to share. Lately I’ve been feeling really sad about my Dad and missing him a lot. This poem helped to remind me that I can think if my grief as a housecleaner of sorts. Sometimes you have to just wipe everything out and start fresh. And so, I will try to treat my grief honorably and you can do the same with your emotions too. If you’re sad, it’s ok to feel sad. Happy? That’s great too. Angry. Sit and work it out for awhile. These emotions make us who we are and prepare us for what’s next. Well enough of my paraphrasing. Go enjoy the poem yourself! Let me know what you think!

The Unexpected Guest

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Three Things U Need 2 Know About Your Final Grades

I know many of you are in the process of taking, finishing up or have recently completed your final exams in high school and that many of you are relieved, depressed, happy, nauseous or some combination of all of these emotions. Yesterday, I experienced the tears of someone who didn’t do as well as expected on one of their finals which blew their chances of getting a 4.0 for the year thus ruining their chances of getting that same 4.0 for all four years of school. My heart breaks for this student and for all of you who didn’t end up where you wanted to be with your final grade(s). That said, I have three really really important things to tell you about your final grades and you need to trust me that these things are true because I always only tell you the truth on this blog and I’m older than you and living happily and successfully so I’m living proof that I’m right. (Ok, there’s a bit of sarcasm there but stay with me!)

Here’s what you need to remember and remind yourself of about grades:

  1. You are not a number or average and this number cannot and should not ever define who you are. I admire you for wanting to get good grades because, sadly, they matter. Schools look at them and people judge you by them and frankly, that’s life and sometimes it life isn’t fair. But, who you are today and who you decide to become in the future has nothing to do with those grades on a report card. I promise that your dreams and goals in life are not going to be impacted by the B you got on your chemistry final and that a few bad grades (and a B isn’t actually bad so let’s also try to remember that) truly are a few measly raindrops in the ocean that is you and your future. You didn’t do as well as you wanted to do. It’s over. Mourn about it for a day and move on and start thinking about what you’re going to do differently moving forward. That leads me to #2.
  2. Use your unhappiness about a grade or grades to look at your actions and what responsibility you can take, if any, for the outcome. Another sad thing about life is that most of the lessons you will learn from life are learned the hard way and often with pain and heartache. I’m not sure why our lives are set up this way but it is and the sadness and pain you feel about the outcome of your efforts can teach you something. Maybe you got the grades you did because you worked as hard as you could and there is nothing you could have done differently. If that’s the case, then take a moment to be disappointed but feel good that at least you tried to do your best. But maybe, just maybe, you didn’t do as well as you would have liked because, in truth, you really didn’t work as hard as you needed to throughout the semester or at the end. Hard work and sacrifice are often necessary to achieve our goals and sometimes that means temporarily giving up some pleasures to get some work done. Did you spend the days and night before your final really and truly studying as hard as you could or did you put your books away (or only pay half attention to them) because you were watching the NBA finals? Only you truly know if you did your very best but being honest with yourself is really important because you will need to be honest with yourself for the rest of your life to live your best life so start now. I’m sorry if your disappointing grades are teaching you a lesson at the moment but let that be a positive and use it to make positive changes in the future.
  3. Finally, stop thinking about your grades and move on! If you’ve read anything I’ve written on this blog you will know that I am always talking about living in the present moment and practicing mindfulness and meditation too. It’s easy to sit and chew on your feelings like a stale piece of gum over and over and over and over and over and over and over again but why are you torturing yourself?! You got a bad grade. Maybe you deserved it and maybe you didn’t. Maybe you needed to work harder or maybe you did everything you could have done. The thing is, it’s over. Summer is starting and frankly, you deserve a break and some down time. Take a deep breath. Actually, take three or more. Sit and think about what happened for a moment and with one really long and deep exhale and let it go. It’s over. Sitting and thinking about it is only going to make you miserable like most of the past memories we hang on to. The rest of your beautiful and amazing life is sitting right in front of you if only you’d look up and start it.

So that’s what I want you to think about when it comes to grades. I got some sh*tty grades along the way too, believe me, and yet I never gave up on my dreams and followed whatever path was necessary to achieve my goals. I didn’t let a few bad grades define me and you don’t need to either. Trust me. Now go and enjoy your summer before it all starts over again. 🙂


What r u hanging on to and can u let it go?

Here’s a question for you to ponder today: What are you holding on to and what would happen if you let it go?

While this might seem like a simple question it’s actually sort of terrifying if you really spend some time with it. When I think about this question, things like hurts, anxieties and fears are the first things that pop into mind. And so I ask myself, what fears am I hanging on to? Fear that if try something new I might fail so I avoid doing it altogether? Fears about losing someone (because after losing my Dad last fall death is always on my mind)? Fear of change? Geez, actually when I think about it it’s sort of amazing to watch the list evolve.

But let’s talk about what happens when you hold onto something. Eventually, you may hold onto something because it’s true to you. You’ve been hurt by someone and you hold onto that hurt and don’t trust again. You failed at something and you hold onto that fear moving forward and don’t take chances.  Eventually, these things come to define you and they also become comfortable – like a pair of comfy old sneakers that you can’t imagine parting with. But what would happen if you did let it go? What if you realized that those comfy old sneakers are actually pretty stinky and that you can’t run as fast in them anymore (and, God forbid, that they aren’t fashionable anymore!?) You would dump those sneakers and be ordering a new pair in a heartbeat. Well, it’s the same with all the things you’re hanging on to that don’t serve you anymore. What would happen if you let go of your fear and took a chance at something you want in your heart? What would happen if you forgave the person who hurt you and decided to let love in again? Sure it might be uncomfortable, like a new pair of shoes, but before you know it, you’ll break in your new state of being and wonder why you hung on to those old smelly sneakers for so long.

So ask yourself today, what am I holding onto and what would happen if I let it go? Be brave and let it go for a minute or two and just try it on for size. You might discover a new look!


Why U Should Stop & Hug Your Parents

Hi all…Sorry I haven’t been posting lately but my Dad’s health was failing so that was pretty much consuming my time, energy and focus. I’m devastated to report that my Dad passed away on Oct 17th. He was 89 years old and lived a full life and ended that life surrounded by everyone he loved. As far as dying goes, it was about as beautiful and peaceful as anyone could hope for. I expect I will be silent blog-wise for awhile as I sort out my feelings, sit with my grief, help my mom and try to adjust to life without my Dad in it.

That said, there is one bit of advice I’d like to pass on to all of you teens. Believe me, I remember all the arguments I had with my father growing up and all the moments I found it hard to like him very much never mind love him. Thankfully, as you grow up you eventually (and sometimes begrudgingly) realize how much your parents love you and you learn not to take them for granted.

My advice to you is don’t take them for granted now.

Accept that they are acting in your best interest.

Accept that they love you unconditionally.

Accept that they are human and doing the best they can with the tools they’ve been given.

Life is short and hopefully most of you will have your parents around for a long time but imagine if they were gone tomorrow? Imagine if they were snatched away and weren’t there to nag, cajole and pester you. Imagine that they weren’t there to say good morning or good night or “Put that phone down already!” Believe me, you would give anything just to have them scold you one more time. So, while I know you are young and death seems abstract and far away, life is unpredictable and it’s important to live every moment to its fullest and to love and appreciate those around you.

Hug your parents today. Tell them you love them. You can go back to eye rolling tomorrow.

Peace to you my friends.

What Do U Love & What Does it Say About U?

I just got a pamphlet in the mail and on the cover is the quote by St. Thomas Aquinas – “The things we love tell us what we are.” and it really made me pause and think. What do I love and what does it say about me? Family and friends were the first things that popped into my mind. Ok, that’s good. That probably means I value relationships and those who are close to me. Ok, I’m good with that. My next thought was animals. I love all kinds of animals and nothing brings a smile to my face quite like an animal encounter (even if it’s just watching funny animal videos online). Yup, I’m good with that too. A love of animals, to me, in some ways shows that our souls are wide open to love and especially to the unconditional love that animals offer. It also shows a love of the natural world and all the benefits associated with it. Ok, good. My next thought was Real Housewives and reality television. Whaaaat??? It’s true! I love getting lost in the scripted and unscripted drama of these shows (a guilty pleasure for sure) but if I dig deeper, I also think it may show that I am fascinated by human behavior and what makes us tick and God knows these shows are filled with humanity at it’s best and worst. Right? That’s why I watch these right? Surely there is some deeper reason why I love reality television! Maybe it’s just escapism? Maybe I love to leave my world for a little while and immerse myself in fiction (which is why I love reading too perhaps?) All interesting musings…

So what do you love? What does it say about you? Are you spending or giving your love to something that doesn’t serve you in the long run? Does your love show you areas where you are lacking or needing something? Does it show you a part of who you really are that you should invest in more deeply? A simple question with many deep answers. Ok, you go think about that. I have to get back to watching Bravo TV.

The Only Thing U Need 2 Know Before Heading Back 2 School

Ok, this might not be the only thing you need to know before going back to school but I do think it’s one of the most important things you need to know. It’s also really simple which is a bonus.


Only you can hurt yourself.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s not true. Plenty of people hurt my feelings all the time. I respectfully and gently disagree. People may say or do things to upset you along the way but it’s up to you as to whether you feel hurt or not. You see, we create our own internal experiences so you can choose to react to a hurtful word internally with much drama and reaction or you can choose not to react. It’s up to you. You can change your mind at any minute or moment to not feel this way. Pretty powerful right?

And yes I know this is actually really hard to do and I am by no means an expert myself on this, but every time I read something to remind me of this, a little lightbulb goes off like “Ohhhh, yeah….I’m the only one who can make myself miserable.”

So, as you head back to school remind yourself that you are in charge of your brain. You decide what you let in and who you let in. You decide whether you’re going to let the little stuff upset you or if you’re going to rise above and try to live as your best self and the hell with the haters. I say, the hell with the haters. Go be you.

Help Me Help You!

Hi guys! I could use some help and I could use it from you!

You see, I write this blog to help teens live happy lives. I try to provide tips, tricks, advice & thoughts (I don’t confess to have all the answers) to some big questions like, “Who am I, Why am I Here, and What is Life all About Anyway?”. What’s most important to me though is providing content that’s most important to you. How can I help? What can I write about that will help you get through these teen years with grace, style and happiness? What questions can I answer? I’m not a therapist by any means (but I am a life coach) and I’m here to provide some guidance and honest answers just for you!

If you’d rather not post here you can DM me on twitter (@handbook4teens).

Your teen years really can be your best years and with a little help and guidance from the Secret Handbook, they can be even better.

Hugs to you!

Be Brave. Take Risks. Nothing Can Substitute Experience.

I’d love to take credit for the catchy title of this post but sadly it is a quote I “borrowed” from the author Paul Coehlo. While I can’t take credit for the quote, it doesn’t diminish the importance of these simple but powerful words.

Life seems pretty risky sometimes. From feeling nervous about wearing red sneakers because they’ll make your feet stand out (a favorite post of mine from a fellow blogger about anxiety) to setting your sights on a dream and taking the steps to make it come true even though you might fail, there is much to be fearful about in the world.

As someone who has actually survived and is thriving in my adulthood, I’m here to tell you that you will be ok and the worst you can imagine is almost never going to happen. Ok, I lied. Sometimes the worst may actually happen. Here’s a personal example. When I was in college I started applying to graduate school. My grades were average, my GRE scores were crap and I was applying to pretty competitive programs. I was super nervous about it and guess what? Surprise surprise I didn’t get in. Was it the worst I could have imagined? Was I devastated? Yeah, I suppose so but it did make me volunteer for the professor I wanted to work with, take a graduate class to show I had what it takes to make the grade and take a test prep class to raise my GRE scores. When I reapplied did I get in? I sure did. In fact, I went on to get my Ph.D. but I doubt I would have ever gotten this far if I hadn’t taken the risk and learned from the experience. In fact, that experience is part of what makes me want to help you guys today. I am living proof that you don’t have to be a superstar to succeed and to live your dreams. You just have to take risks, work hard, try and try again and I promise you’ll get to where you want or need to be.

Here’s the best part about taking risks though – even if you fail, you will grow and learn SO much from the experience and by growing and learning, you become your True Self.

Now you tell me? What are you afraid to do? Where are you holding yourself back? When did you try, fail and come out all the stronger as a result? Share your stories with me and help other teens too!

Afraid of Change? Here R Five Ways 4 Teens 2 Deal With It

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. -Einstein

If you don’t do well with change you likely aren’t going to do well with being a teenager. It sounds harsh I know but change is pretty much the only thing we can be certain of in life and your teen years are chock full of it. Everything changes when you are a teen. Your body changes, your mind changes (sometimes several times a minute it seems), your friends change, your interests change, your viewpoints change and it definitely seems like your parents change their minds all the time (though at some times they likely won’t budge and you wish they would change their minds!).

Here’s what I want you to remember though when you are struggling with some kind of change in your life.

Change is good. I promise, it really is.

Here’s a few tips to help you deal with changes when they pop up.

1. Take a deep breath, step back and really look at what’s happening. It might not be as bad as you think.

2. Try to look at change as an opportunity rather than a challenge. How you view change impacts how you deal with it.

3. Say yes instead of no. Fighting change might not work but being open to a new path can be invigorating & exciting.

4. Stay in the present moment. Change feels scary so we immediately start trying to predict what the future is going to look like. Why? The only future you can imagine is based on your past experiences and that might not be the best predictor of the future.

5. Realize, like Einstein did (and he was a really smart guy) that how you deal with change is a reflection of your intelligence. Smart people deal with change well so why not be smart about it? Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to work so suck it up and face change with confidence, calm and peace. You got this.

Now you tell me. How do you deal with change? What are some big changes you’ve gone through during your teen years that seemed monumental and life changing? How did you deal with it? How can I help you live happy (yes, even when change is in the air!)

Want 2 Live Happy? Be Willing 2 Lose Control

Throughout your life you will discover that many of life’s painful moments end up being the ones that teach you the most. My parents are in their 80s and both have serious health issues so every day is filled with stress, sadness and the very strong desire to be in control of the situation because I can obviously fix everything and make it right, right? Ah, that’s the thing. I’m learning that I can’t make it right. I’m also (slowly and painfully) learning that I can’t control the situation. I can’t make my mom rest. I can’t make them get the help they so desperately need. I can’t make them move to a place that would be safer and more comfortable for them. I obviously have all the answers! Why don’t they seet his? If only the world would listen to me, it would be a better place.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Throughout out lives and even throughout the day, we are constantly examining other peoples’ behaviors and actions and coming up, in our oh-so-perfect minds, with better ways of doing things. If only he would drive faster. If only she would study more. If only she would break up with him. If only he would eat healthier. If only she would listen to better music. If only, if only, if only, if only the world would listen to me, it would be a better place!

Here’s the thing. If you really want to live happy, you need to give up trying to control or wishing you could control the decisions, behaviors, choices and actions of others. Sometimes you might actually be right and that person’s life would improve if only they would stop drinking 6 sodas a day but you can’t change them and, in order to be happy, you need to stop trying.

Focus on you. Focus on your own happiness. Focus on what you can control. Focus on your own behaviors. Focus on living your own best life. I promise if you do this, you will be happy and, you never know, by setting a positive example for others, you may just end up changing some of those things you’d like to change!

Dream Big Because No One Else Can Dream for You

Alexa von Tobel (be sure to click the link watch the video!) is a leading CEO (and yet another Harvard drop out…maybe it’s just me but there definitely seems to be at least a slight link between big dreamers who drop out of Ivy League schools but I digress…) who pursued her dream and started her own company. I love her advice to recent grads and young people: Dream big because no one else can dream for you. What you also see in Alexa’s story and the story of many entrepreneurs and dreamers is that success wasn’t easy and it didn’t come over night. These things take hard work, time, patience, the ability to take some risks (and fail and take some risks again) and perseverance. Let this little story be a reminder to you that no dream is too big if you’re willing to work hard and not give up. Not stop reading this and go do something to kickstart YOUR dream!

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that something deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

e.e. cummings

Do U have Challenges or Opportunities? Words Matter

“The name we give to something shapes our attitude toward it.”  – Katherine Paterson

That test is going to be so hard.

The team we’re going up against is going to be really tough to beat.

Getting into the college of my dreams is going to be impossible.

Life is filled with all kinds of challenges. But wait…are they challenges or are they opportunities? Your perspective on all these moments in life matters and, believe it or not, the words you use to think about them matters too. When you have something coming up that makes you a little nervous or gives you butterflies in your stomach, change the way you think about it. Every moment in life presents you with a new opportunity to succeed and be your best self. If you don’t do as well as you’d like at something (let’s say you don’t get a good grade on that test), vow that you’re going to try harder next time and look at that next time as your next opportunity to do better. Note that I said opportunity – not challenge!

If you look at everything life throws at you as a challenge your life is likely to be….well…challenging!

Be positive. Think positive. Live positive. Speak positive. It sounds simple but it matters.

Already dealing with broken resolutions? Start with a vision.

 “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”  – Buddha

What we think we become.

5 words but such powerful ones  and, it turns out,  the perfect solution to broken New Year’s resolutions. A vision is a powerful picture that your mind will believe and support (especially the more you focus your mind on it!)  Resolutions are nice but they often aren’t rooted in a vision of what you want to accomplish. Resolving to lose weight, exercise more, read more books, study harder, get better grades, are mostly just lofty goals. Easy to say but not very motivating when it comes down to doing the work to make them happen.

A vision of what you want to accomplish can be much more effective in motivating your actions and in making your mind believe in what you’re proposing. A vision that you live by and think about and dream about is much more likely to come true (which is not to say that you don’t have to work on achieving that vision – work will always be necessary.)

So how do you know if your goal or dream is really your vision?

A vision is something you jus can’t stop thinking about. You wake up and go to sleep thinking about it, you daydream about it, you modify it and edit it and still can’t stop thinking about it. You can see yourself doing it. You can see yourself being successful at it. It makes you tingle and makes your nervous and makes your doubtful and yet you still think about it! That’s a vision.

So, go ahead. Reassess your resolutions. It’s ok. No one is judging you. Make sure they align with your vision. If they don’t, maybe they can be next year’s resolutions and maybe it’s time to focus on what you really want to achieve. Maybe it’s time to pursue your real dreams. Maybe it’s time to turn your vision into reality.







Looking 4 a New Year’s Resolution? Here’s 1 That’s Easy but Scary!

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you have a New Year’s resolution? I actually think it’s fine if you don’t. I mean really, we are always changing, evolving and pursuing our goals…January 1st just gives us a nice clean start date on which to do so. But, around December 30th, the pressure mounts to bravely state your intended resolution for the year.

If you’re still looking for something to resolve to do and you want to move past some of the usual suspects like losing weight and exercising more (both admirable pursuits), why not try something that requires you to be a little more brave? It’s actually a pretty simple concept but it’s pretty scary to actually do but here it is: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

This doesn’t mean you need to go skydiving (but if that scares you and you have the opportunity one random day, go for it – you are braver than I!) It does mean, however, that you should take chances and push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit.

For example, it’s easy to just walk through life with your head down, eyes focused on your smart phone and not making eye contact with anyone. Eye contact can be a little scary though right? All of a sudden, you’re face to face with someone with their humanity (and your own) staring you back in your face. So why not make that the scary thing you do one day? Just make eye contact and smile. Why is this scary? It’s scary because it makes us vulnerable (What if they don’t smile back? What if they think I’m just some random smiling creepy weirdo?). We’re basically putting ourselves out there and it’s quite possible our smile or acknowledgment might not be returned. Scary right? But what happens if you do get a smile back? Or if you actually connect with someone for just a quick moment? You’ll feel happier and so will they, all because you took a chance and smiled.

Doing something scary doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. Have a difficult conversation. Try a food you’ve never had before. Listen to some music you have previously declared to despise. These aren’t big scary things but they are icky feeling and scary enough that we still usually don’t do them.

Resolve to scare yourself a bit this year. You’ll be amazed how your world opens up to meet you.

Dream Big But Act Now


“If you have a great idea, act on it now.” Max Levchin, founder of Paypal, Yelp & Innovator Extraordinaire

Do you know who Max Levchin is? I have to be honest, I didn’t know who he was until I saw him on CBS This Morning recently discussing his new loan business that’s likely to revolutionize banking (much like  his idea for Paypal which revolutionized the way we pay for things online.) Clearly he’s a smart and cool guy with a lot of amazing ideas but the one thing he said that really struck me was that young people need to pursue their good ideas now. In other words, don’t wait until you finish your education to pursue a dream – do it now!

History is ripe with examples of people who put aside what they are “supposed to be doing” to do, what they know deep inside, they need to be doing. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are two perfect examples of people who dared to dream big and changed the way we compute and stay connected via social media. I’m not suggesting you should or have to drop out of Harvard (or any school) in order to be successful but I am suggesting that sometimes big dreams require big leaps of faith and big actions.

Here’s the thing, yes you may only be a teen and yes, you may not quite have all the tools you need at your fingertips but that shouldn’t stop you from acting on a great idea. For example, with online crowdfunding opportunities, you actually could sketch out your idea and proposal and raise the funds to make a go of it. Look at student Jeff Powell who created a prosthetic hand with a 3D printer for a little boy who needed one.  Or 13 year-old Shubam Banerjee who made an inexpensive braille printer using Legos and a robotics kit. I bet they never said, “I have a good idea but I’d better wait until I’m in my 40s to pursue it.”

Your age is not a roadblock to your success. In fact, because you’re young and energetic and have your finger on the pulse of the latest ideas and technology, you are the perfect age to ignite change in this world!

So stop sitting around and waiting until you get older. By then, someone else could come along and steal your big idea.

Dream big but act now.

Every Decision Counts So Who R U Becoming?


I was watching a show yesterday and the speaker noted that all the small decisions we make throughout the day add up and that ultimately, we end up becoming those decisions. It’s not really rocket science but it did make me pause. I started to question all the habits I have and all the things I do without even thinking about them and wondered who I was becoming as a result. (And we are becoming all the time so don’t fool yourself by thinking that this process ever really stops.)

I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but many of the decisions you make as a teen really will define your life. Again, this isn’t really breaking news and you probably sense this deep down but have you really thought about what it means? Have you looked at your every day actions with a critical eye and asked yourself, “Who am I becoming?”

Ask yourself some of these questions: Do you treat people the way you want to be treated? Do you respect others? Do you respect yourself? Do you make decisions based on what others want for you or what you want for you? Do you say yes or no to life? Do you love yourself and others? Do you accept yourself and others? Are you kind? Caring? Compassionate? Thoughtful? Open? Inquisitive? Do you procrastinate or get things done? Are you neat or sloppy? Careful or daring? Do you challenge yourself or take the easy way out? IPhone or Android?

The answers are up to you but they do matter. The cool thing is that you get to decide who you want to be in this life. The only instructions I have for you is that you have to pay attention to who you are becoming along the way. If you don’t pay attention, everyday decisions become habits and habits, as you know, are hard to break.

So stop every once and awhile and look at your habits, your friends, your decisions and ask yourself, “Is this who I want to be? Is this who I am becoming?” The answers just might surprise you.



What Do U Want 2 B When U Grow Up? Why It’s OK Not 2 Know


The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. – Einstein

“What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to study in college? What major are you going to choose? What schools are you thinking about? Any idea what you want to study?”


I know, I know. These are the annoying persistent questions that adults like to pepper you with all the time but I hope, in most cases, we’re asking because we’re genuinely curious and excited about your futures. At least that’s why I ask. I know you understand this deep down but you do get that the world really is yours for the taking right? You get that? You can be and do whatever it is you set your mind to do as long as you really want it and work on it. You know that right?

So here’s the thing. Don’t be stressed out about college or a major or knowing (or not knowing) what you want to do with you life. It’s ok if you don’t know. In fact, I tell people all the time that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I am a grown up – or at least I pretend to be. Constantly reinventing yourself to be true to yourself is ok. In fact, I think it’s a great way to live. That said, you do need to follow your instincts and what your gut is telling you in order to live this way and that means paying attention.

You know how a bloodhound gets a scent and just sticks with it until it finds what it’s looking for? That’s how you should be with your dreams.

If you’re sitting in a class and a little thought flutters through your mind about a goal or a career – follow it. If you read an article about someone who inspires you, figure out why. If you look at a problem in life (big or small) and wonder if you could come up with a solution to fix it, keep thinking about it!

Whatever you do, please please please promise me that you’re not going to do something just because your parents want you to do it (or a teacher or friend or family member). Don’t pick a school just because everyone else is going there. Don’t choose a major just because it seems like a good enough option and you have to pick something. Don’t slog through life and commute to a boring business job that you hate just because you need to earn a paycheck. It’s true that you will eventually need to earn a paycheck but you have the option to make money doing what you love if you pursue it, plan for it and pay attention to it early on.

These are exciting times in your life and ones that once they’re gone, they’re gone. So live big. Dream big. Be present to every moment of every day and keep an eye out for those wishes, hopes, desires and dreams. The fleeting thought that you brush off as just a daydream, might just be who you are supposed to become. You won’t know unless you’re open to it.


Got Goals? Good for You. But Why?


Goals, dreams, accomplishments…it doesn’t matter what you call them. At the end of the day, all you know is that you have a strong feeling that there is something you need to do. No, something you must do. It might be to write a book. Or to become a successful musician. Or to become a doctor. Or to make a varsity sports team. It might be big. It might be small. But you know deep down that you must do this thing.

But why?

It turns out you actually need to think pretty deeply about the motivation behind your goal because that understanding matters. You might discover that your motivations aren’t really ones that align with your moral code or set of values. If that’s the case, it’s time to re-think them. You might discover that your goal is actually not related to what you think you need to accomplish. For example, you may feel the need to write a book but when you look at the reasons why, you might realize that what you really want to do is touch people and improve their lives. As you look deeper, you may figure out that you don’t actually need to write a book to do this. You may decide that you could also become a speaker or a teacher or a health care worker or any other number of things. What you’ll find is that there are often many paths that can help lead you to your dream and the “thing” you need to accomplish, may actually just be an action you need to take.

At the end of the day, your goals should be driven by the experiences you want to have and the person you want to be in this world.

Let me say that again just to make sure you’re hearing me:

Your goals should be driven by the experiences you want to have and the person you want to be in this world.

Your dreams should help you to grow and should help make your life richer and deeper. Your dreams should be about what you want to contribute to the world and the journey you want to take.

So think about your goals and dreams and ask yourself:

Why do I want to achieve this?

What does it mean to me?

Where will it lead me?

Who will it make me?

What will it allow me to contribute?

What will I look like at the end?

What will the world look like at the end?

Understanding the motivation behind your dreams is a powerful tool to helping you achieve them.

So the next time you think about a goal ask yourself: Why? Then ask it again.