The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

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!

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!

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.


Devotion. Dedication. Loyalty. Pick Your Word But Do It 4 Your Dream.


To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Passion. Desire. Faith. All critical components for achieving your dreams but we can’t forget this very last critical ingredient – devotion.

Devotion (noun) is defined as  a :  the act of devotion <devotion of time and energy>,  b : the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal.

Call it devotion. Call it dedication. Call it loyalty. Use whatever words resonates the most with you but make sure you’re devoted to your dream.

What exactly does it mean to be devoted though?

It means putting your dream first and being loyal to it (much like you would be loyal to any relationship or promise.) It means taking the time to pursue your dream and making time to work on it. It means you’re invested in your dream and you’re willing to do whatever is necessary to keep it moving. It means not letting other things stand in your way or distract you from your dream.

Devotion isn’t simple and it’s not just a word . Devotion means work. Sometimes hard work. Some might try to convince you otherwise but if you look at anyone who has pursued a dream, they will tell you that there’s always hard work involved.

Ask yourself: are you devoted to your dream or are you willing to give up on it if something else distracts you or gets in the way?

Start to pay attention to your level of devotion. A lack of devotion doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re pursing the wrong dream but it may mean you need to look at and perhaps shift your priorities.  Then again, it might mean that it’s not the right dream for you and that’s ok too. Look deep into your heart and think about what you’re devoted to and why. See if you can apply that same level of devotion and dedication to your dream.

Work hard and don’t give up.

Be loyal.

Be dedicated.

Be devoted.