Lessons for a Successful Life

Each of these lessons is applicable to Life, Business and to Managing your Finances.  Master these and you will master life.


1. Know yourself and what situations you can thrive in

Avoid the situations where you have been unsuccessful; Learn from past mistakes and mis-matches. Ask yourself what worked (vs. didn’t) the last time.  Look for those things and situations that worked well and seek out more of those opportunities.

2. Be selective about where and how (and with whom) you spend your time (and money)

Managing your time well is a key characteristic of very successful individuals. Be disciplined and protective of your time. KNOW and MONITOR how you spend your time (and money).  Cut out those activities (people and expenses) that keep you from fulfilling your dreams.

3. Build Bi-lateral Relationships

Your reputation precedes you; Build valuable relationships through out your life that you can draw on during times of difficulty; Don’t wait until you need help to reach out and develop these relationships. Relationships should be bi-lateral; it’s not just about YOU.  Your integrity, credibility and reputation will follow you for life. Protect it!

4. Name your Goals

Identify a goal, name it, claim it, and share it freely.  It doesn’t have to be your DESTINY.  It can simply be a step toward your dream.  It can change over time. People won’t know what you want – or how they can help you - unless you tell them.  You will be amazed at the help you will receive and doors that will open when people know what you want and how they can help.

5. Be Selective About Who You Consider Your Friends

Not everyone is your friend.  You will have “acquaintances” and “colleagues”, but not everyone is your “friend” OR have your best interests at heart.  Friends look out for you, are honest with you, and are supportive of you and your dreams and you of them in return. Friends are hard to uncover in matters of money and even harder to nurture in life.  Having “true friends” is critical as rarely can we navigate life without them. 

6. Think Half Empty; Project Half Full

Always be thinking of alternatives to your current situation; Ask yourself, “What can go wrong”; (Inward and Outward) over-confidence in any one thing is a recipe for disaster.  Be prepared for bumps in the road.  Think of alternatives but be careful not to project paranoia.  Show confidence BUT not over-confidence.  Confidence can be a magnet but too much of it can be perceived as arrogance.

7. Trouble Don’t Last Always

Don’t panic. Stand tall during crisis; Focus on your ultimate goal; When others are scurrying during crisis keep a clear head to navigate the challenge; Expect that life is cyclical; Is a Test. Don’t dwell in the problem; Focus on the solution.

8. Have a Plan B (and C and D)

Not every thing in life is going to go the way that you want.  Expect bumps in the road.  Every problem has a solution. Think through your options in advance and be ready to execute on at least one alternative solution immediately.  If Plan A doesn’t work out, don’t give up, try Plan B. 

9. Focus on what you can control

Don’t try to control others, their issues and/or their problems.   It is not your job to manage other people’s lives, or their problems or their money. Rather be an example that others can emulate. Be a light for others, but don’t be a crutch for them.    

10. Everything in Life Happens for a Reason

It’s hard to see this in the moment but life should not be about regrets. Everything in life is meant for you. Every person you encounter is intended for you.   The key is to find the lessons in every experience.  That bad boss passes through your life to teach you how to deal with different personalities.

Amazing Grace

It was an evening in January 2014 when I was hit by a car as I headed home from work. I had the right of way as I walked briskly across the street to get to my car on the opposite side of the road.  

A driver making a sudden illegal U-turn did not see me in the darkness and ran right into me.  I was alert, but scared, as my body went numb laying on the icy pavement awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. After all the X-rays, my injuries were limited to a broken wrist and elbow; some black and blues, and intense soreness down the entire left side of my body. Thankfully, the numbness was only due to the cold weather and nothing more severe.  I was so grateful.  God had spared my life.

As you might imagine when you almost lose your life, it flashes before your eyes. You begin to think about all the things you wish you had done but hadn't.  

Among the things I regretted not doing, was finishing the book I had been writing for years. Pages and pages of memories that filled my mind. Jotting them down had been a form of therapy for me, and now more than ever I wanted to share it with the world. I kept thinking that this was the time for me to finish. My right hand was functional, so I decided to spend time during recovery putting the finishing touches on the book that I was so desperate to complete.  

Eight weeks later I hadn't made a speck of progress. Recovery complete, I went back to work. No progress made. A few weeks later (actually it was around THIS time 3 years ago) that I attended a conference where - as usual - I knew many of the women there.  "How's the book coming along Val?", they'd ask. I let them read a few chapters, unsure if the story was even interesting.  My disappointment in myself was obvious. "This is AMAZING! You've gotta do it", they encouraged me. 

Overwhelmed, I slipped back to my hotel room.  I needed to get away.  I escaped to the balcony of my hotel room. A magnificent and beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Naples, Florida. Not a cloud in the sky. Nothing but ocean for miles as I sat there with tears in my eyes, disappointed in myself. "Why can't you get this done?", "What's holding you back?", I kept asking myself. I had no idea the answer.

That's when an eerie, but warm breeze brushed my face. I felt my two angels in the wind. One on each shoulder. Grandma's voice spoke to me first,  "It's time, child. You have nothing to be ashamed of". Mom's voice followed in the wind, "It's okay. I'm okay with it. You can do it!".  

I realized in that moment that all along I just needed them to be ok with me telling their story. It wasn't just MY story, It was OUR story, and I needed them to be okay with me sharing it. It didn't matter what any one else thought. It only mattered that they were ok with me sharing it with the world.

In September 2014, only a few months after receiving their permission, I published the long-awaited story as a 50th birthday present to myself and a celebration of the lives of my two angels. No regrets. I realize now that it was a story meant to be told so now I share it freely.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. I once was lost, but now I am found. Was blind but now not only do I see but I am free.

Happy Easter all!