This post was originally posted on Unsettle.org
It was 1989.
The cold was bitter record-breaking.
Just days before, a freak snowstorm ravaged the valley.
Six people died because of that snowstorm. The cold increased the death toll by another two.
But I wasn't waiting for anything.
I came into this world on February 4 1989, almost born in my parent's car in the hospital parking lot on one of the city's coldest days in history.
On Wednesday, it's my birthday.
It also happens to be my last day of my contract at my day job, where I spent the last 7 months.
And as I move on to the next chapter of my life and career, it seems almost Kismet that I'm starting my 26th year with such a bang.
Over the past 26 years, I've learned so much about life and business.
And I'm sure I'll only learn more with every year that passes.
Here are my favorite, life-changing lessons I've learned in my years on the planet:
26 Lessons I've Learned in 26 Years About Succeeding in Life and Entrepreneurship
1. Learning and growing is impossible in one place. We're like fish that will only grow as big as a container allows. Travel and your container gets bigger.
2. If you rely on motivation to get shit done, you'll never get any shit done.
3. You can learn and do almost anything. Limitations put on your potential are self-inflicted.
4. Sleep is one of the most important factors in business, relationships, and life.
5. You do know where to start.
6. Brains are like batteries. They need to be recharged sometimes. Down time is the charger for your brain battery.
7. Hard work isn't the answer. Smart work is the answer. And if you work hard at smart work, you can do anything.
8. If you can build a habit from it, you can become successful in it.
9. We can only understand ourselves as humans once we fully embrace how irrational we are.
10. If Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs was for entrepreneurship, relationships would be the second most needed, second only to value...
11. ..because the key to amazing relationships? Add value. Doesn't matter if it's a client, spouse, friend, or co-worker. All relationships are built on value.
12. When things are going wrong or you can't get the hang of something, your often close to a breakthrough. Try shifting two millimeters.
13. Most of us have the choice between enjoying our work or not enjoying our work. Even if you don't think you have a choice, you probably do.
14. You can, and should, break the rules. Nobody became successful from following the status quo.
15. Everyone needs somebody who call them out on their bullshit.
16. Create the product, business, article, podcast, or art that you would want to see, read, or listen to.
17. When you don't know what to do with something in your business, ask yourself: "If I were the audience or market for this, what would I want?". Then, do it.
18. People are mainly good.
19. You need three types of people in your corner: people you can help, people at the same level as you, and people who can help you. This is a load-bearing triangle and without one of these types of people, there's nothing to hold up the load.
20. There's no such thing as a quick fix. Put in the work.
21. Sometimes, mentees are the best mentors. If you're up against a problem, tell them. They'll flip your words back on you and make you see things clearly.
22. The mental and physical energy you have is a result of fuel you put in your body. You put junk in your body, you get junk.
23. The best cure for overwhelm and anxiety? Oxygen. Breathe.
24. Sometimes the best cure for a bad mood is putting gratitude in your attitude.
25. Always keep one foot in what you know, and one foot outside of your comfort zone. This makes your comfort zone bigger.
26. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
It's True What They Say
Every single year gets better and better.
I know a little bit more about myself, human nature, and the world with each birthday, and for that I'm grateful.
On Thursday, I'm flying to Ponta Delgada, Portugal with nothing but a carry-on and a one-way ticket (and of course, my laptop) for the first leg of an adventure.
Six years ago, I would have never dreamed that travel, location independence, and the ability to reach thousands of people worldwide through blogging and online business was a possibility for me.
I'm so grateful that this has become my reality, and for all of you reading along.
Here's to making my 26th year the best year yet!
Sarah is an entrepreneur, traveler, and writer who helps people stop settling for careers and lives they don't love. Get her report, 5 Killer Tools to Skyrocket Your Productivity and become instantly more productive.