I always wanted to be a train driver, choo chooing along the coastal cliffs of South West England.

Somewhere between the age of 5 and 15 that vision faded. Why is that?

Life is full of situations to maneuver. We get sidetracked.

During my childhood, my mother suffered from mental illness and spent long periods in hospital receiving care. My father worked night shifts as a long-distance lorry driver. As a result, I was often home alone.

Lucky for me, my grandmother and aunt stepped in to nurture me. My gran, who lived close to poverty in a small apartment, took care of me at the weekends with what little she had. Somehow she managed to scrape little resources she had to provide for food on the table. Similarly, my aunt and two cousins took me under their wings during school holidays.

Grateful for their shelter and love, I vowed to one day to lift up others. So began my thirst for personal development.

Below a selection of life lessons I’ve learned on my journey to get on track. Many lessons you may already know, for which I salute you.

As with all personal experiences, take what resonates with you.


  • Design the life you want ten years from now and go for it with laser-like focus. Reverse engineer the steps you need to take to get there over 5 years, 1 year, 1 month and next week.
  • You’ll get distracted. Stay focused. You’ll get sidetracked. Stay focused. You’ll fail sometimes. Stay focused. You’ll criticize yourself occasionally. Stay focused. Be Romanesque in your quest for a straight road to your goals across the hills and valleys.
  • Take risks, be courageous, take action, trust your capacity to learn, fail miserably, trust you ability to pick yourself up and start again. Lean into uncertainty and know the universe has your back.

The greatest investment a young person can make is in their own education, in their own mind. Because money comes and goes. Relationships come and go. But what you learn once stays with you forever – Warren Buffet

  • Decide what you want to give instead of what you want to get, you’ll become a more authentic and fulfilled person.
  • Choose things that strengthen your spirit rather than your ego. This will save you a lot of time.
  • Dream big but sweat the small stuff. Big successes are built from hundreds and thousands of small tasks and decisions maintained over long periods of time with little recognition. That’s life!
  • Dreams are real, fear is not.

Inspiration and influence:

  • You know that dark inner voice that brings you down? Be the one who silences that voice in other people’s minds.
  • Respect that everyone is doing his or her best to cope and grow (including yourself). Let your compassion inspire people to lift themselves up.
  • You’re not alone in your struggles. Our situations may differ, but we all experience the same emotions. It’s what you do with what you learn from your struggles that counts.
  • Understand that chemicals associated with your brain’s limbic system are responsible for emotion, behavior and motivation. Practice questioning your whims and desires. Influence your mental state by exercising the freedom to choose consciously rather than emotionally.

Belief in yourself:

  • To live a full life, leave no part of yourself underexposed. Celebrate your uniqueness. There is and never will be another you. This is it. It is your duty to shine in all your glory now.
  • 99% of things you worry about will never happen. The 1% that does happen simply means you need to make changes in your life that will ultimately enrich your life immeasurably. Ask yourself what is the lesson here and move forward.
  • Stop worrying about what other people think of you. They couldn’t care less. There’s freedom in that. Be courageous with your self-expression and actions. Secretly, we all admire and are inspired by people who follow their heart. It gives others permission to do the same.
  • Everyone is just winging it. No one is a total expert. Just believe that your knowledge and expertise has value and set about sharing it with others. The only thing that differentiates people is the belief that they can do it.
  • Stop thinking you’re special or entitled. Waiting to be discovered or chosen is a big killer of creativity. Do the world a service and start proactively seeking ways to bring your unique gifts into the world for a greater good.
  • Intuition is your higher-self speaking to you. You are most powerful when you are connected to it and act consciously from it.

Success in relationships:

  • Never love anyone more than you love yourself. Don’t let your happiness depend solely on the attention and adulation of another. First ensure that your own glass is full.

What’s in the cup is mine. What flows out of the cup is for y’all  – Iyanla Vanzant

  • You can’t force friendships and they can’t force you. Don’t spend time with people who don’t treat you well or are not interested in you.
  • Don’t tolerate people who don’t treat you well.
  • Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you and with whom you can be totally yourself.
  • Be good to the ones that care about you. Help them, nurture them, entertain them, support them and love them. Be present in the good and bad times. Let them know how much you care through your actions, not just your words. Always go that extra mile.

Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. – Oprah Winfrey

  • Don’t get caught up in someone else’s negativity. Stay in your power: forgive the other person, wish them well and move on.
  • To be effective in any relationship, you’ve got to put your growth and progress first. If your priorities are not listed in your schedule, your boundaries aren’t clear to anyone (including you).
  • When you matter to you, you matter to others too.

What are your top life lessons? I would love to hear from you. Leave a reply below.


Cover image: Andrew Lance