How crazy awesome to think of how many hours you’ve been alive for, as well as how many of those hours were you happy, kind, healthy, loving, or compassionate?
For some perspective:
I’ve been alive for: 30 years OR 10,957 days OR 262,968 HOURS
My daughter Sienna has been alive for: 4 months OR 129 days OR 3,106 HOURS
It’s funny as you start getting older, closer to certain milestones, 30 in my case, people (even me) start saying/thinking things that reference your age, getting older, judging ourselves and others, etc..
Then, in our own minds, we start saying/asking things like “where should I be in life right now?” “how much money should I be making?” “should I have a family, a wife, kids, by now?” “Am I behind on life, finances, relationships, etc…?”
Why do we ask ourselves these questions? Why are we so hard on ourselves all the time, about either past experiences that we regret/dwell on or about a future that hasn’t even happened yet?
All of this nonsense takes away from the present moment, the only moment that matters!
Anyway, I was originally going to share this on my 30th bday (March 1st, 2014), but life (Sienna Reese Garcia, new business, new home, etc…) happened and, ironically and appropriately, I finished this article right around Father’s Day.
And the best way to celebrate my 1st Father’s Day is to reflect and share with Sienna the lessons I’ve learned over the years, values I’ve created, and problems I’ve (created) experienced.
Well, it’s been 2 weeks since Father’s Day and I am just NOW sharing this article…maybe I’m worried it won’t be good enough…or maybe the right time is NOW. Either way…
Sienna, baby-girl, my beautiful daughter this article is for YOU.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.
I’ve read in many personal/professional books that “success begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I never really got what that saying really meant, until I started “not giving a damn” about life, what people thought, how people judged me (and others), what my parents thought about my career choice, etc…Now, it may seem like an “I don’t give a damn” attitude is reckless or harmful, in fact, it is QUITE the contrary. The moment I started a life of one might say “reckless abandon” I was happier and I instantly/indirectly made those around me happier and healthier. That’s success baby!
Your comfort zone will cause you to be stagnant and feed your fear of leaving it even more. You might say “Dad, but I’m scared” and I’ll believe you, because I was scared to (still am), but I’ll say “I know you’re scared, but you are STRONGER than fear…show em you are.”
Do Epic Stuff to Be Epic.
I stole this from my past amazing assistant and sassy friend Shelley (you’ll really like her). Shelley may have used a different word than “stuff” but the effect is the same: “DO amazing things in life, with other amazing people.” She has successfully organized multiple epic adventures with other fit women with my fitness business Get it Girl Boot Campers (shout out to Bette, Terri, Jacquelyn, Hadley, Lindsey, Patricia, Jill, Danette, etc…). Do things that make you feel great and powerful after doing them, Trapeze, dancing, rock climbing, hiking, etc…
Be productive, but don’t get so caught up so caught up in productivity and efficiency that you forget that humans are meant to be mobile, active, and EPIC.
I already know you have the potential be to amazingly EPIC and I’ll do everything in my power to create a conducive environment for Epicness.
Challenge All That Is Conventional.
It is my purpose to challenge the status quo, to challenge conventional thinking, and to challenge myself every day to be better! Why challenge conventional? Conventional food, farming, thinking, wisdom, etc…is a product of mediocrity, stagnancy, and laziness. Choose not to be mediocre, stagnant, and/or lazy. Choose to follow the path of MOST resistance, even if its “against the grain.” Society’s approach to health, specifically, is backwards. Instead of trying to find the cause of something, we try to mask and fix the problem, NOT the cause.
I say to challenge the conventional, because I believe conventional living is settling and I don’t want you settle, do you?
Our Minds Are Cunning, But Our Heart Is Powerful.
A powerful heart trumps a cunning mind, IF you allow it, if not the mind will always win. I think the ultimate goal is to find the balance between your intelligence/intuition (heart) and your intellect/logic (mind). And I think you find that balance through awareness, SELF-awareness that is. Aware of when you use the cunningness of the mind, like justifying, rationalizing, or excusifying an action (or lack there of).
Don’t just listen to your heart, BECOME your heart .
Perfectionism is Lame.
What is up with our constant desire for perfection? I personally know that a search for perfection leads to anxiety and neurosis. For me, perfectionism is derived from my self-consciousness about my knowledge. I always ask myself “Do I know enough?” or tell myself “What happens if you don’t the answer?” “Who cares?” should be the only question! Instead of perfection, why not live totally, totally in the moment, totally YOU. I believe THAT is perfection, when we live completely, unconditionally happy and care-free, not worrying about the future, not regretting the past.
Remember, you and everything you do is imperfectly perfect. Instead of perfection, strive for progress in everything you do.
Success Happens In Chaos.
For me, truer words have never been spoken. Since I found about you I’ve experienced multiple opportunities, created some, and ignored others. My ENTIRE business life has been a rollercoaster of finding my TRUE purpose and aligning my thoughts, actions, and LIFE with that purpose.
Success is rarely a straight and narrow course. You will zig and zag, fall and rise, twist and turn your way to your goals. You WILL make mistakes, but you MUST learn and gain feedback from your mistakes to leverage more success.
Right around the time you were born I opened up a new business, we moved into a new home, your Mom was in the middle of her start-up venture, and your great-grandmother passed away, AND to top it off, well YOU were born! 😉
Stay calmly chaotic.
Always Be Fine-Tuning (ABFT).
This is probably my “current” favorite acronym, I use current, because I come up with a new acronym OTR (On The Regular) :). The process of fine-tuning is an art, because the idea behind it is dynamic. Dynamic in your everyday interactions, with your thoughts, and actions.
One thought you have could stem from a reaction to someone being rude, and that thought could lead to an action of you being rude to the other person. This accomplishes nothing. However, if you fine-tune your thought process, from reaction to response, and communicate to the other person that you understand them (even if you don’t) and proceed with killing them with kindness.
Fine-tuning works with everything: your eating, your exercise, your homework, your ability to clean your room, and be nice to your daddy (I’m digging these shameless plugs.).
Be dynamic. Fine-tune and flourish!
Chill Out and Be Healthy.
Stress… from food, relationships, thoughts, poor sleep, self-consciousness, toxic food, and everything in between will prevent you from being optimally healthy, always 100% of the time, every time. There is a book cover I read one time titled: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” I never read it because well the title was powerful enough.
I did, however, buy it for your Grandma…she wasn’t very happy, but eventually realized I was trying to help her realize that small things can control our ENTIRE life and that doesn’t promote health or happiness.
Side Note: I also bought your Aunt Nella “He’s Just Not That Into You” she was VERY angry at first, but thanked me 8 years later. Another win in the “books” (pun intended).
We all sweat the small stuff every now and then, hopefully you’ll be around awesome friends and family to be compassionate and show you some perspective (and by that I mean tell you most likely what you are experiencing is a #firstworldproblem.)
Laughter and Playfulness are a Measure of Intelligence.
Laughing at yourself empowers you beyond belief, because it prevents others from dis-empowering you by laughing at your expense. Yes, sometimes people will laugh at something you unintentionally did, but trust me when I say, brush it off, quick! Realize that silly things happen to everyone, embrace the silly and laugh it off.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, OSHO, references playfulness and being in a child-like state for TRUE happiness and vibrancy. In other words, NEVER grow up…sure you’ll become mature, an adult, make money, buy nice things, etc…BUT with your heart stay playful. You playful heart will be the only way you can overcome your “mature mind.”
You can playful and serious at the same time. Understand yourself, your friends, family, and people. We all secretly wish we could be blissful and playful all the time, but society represses this wish. Right now, turn “I wish into I will.”
Action Alleviates Anxiety (AAA).
One of my favorite acronyms that I reflect on daily, because at some point throughout the day, we all feel anxious about something, especially if you choose the life of entrepreneurship. Being anxious is normal, but it can seriously take a toll on you, your growth, balance and happiness.
My goal with anxiety is this: take action on what you are feeling anxious about. When you take action, no matter what, even if it’s the “wrong” action for that particular thing you are anxious about, at least you are doing something about your anxiety, right?
Love Yourself, Unconditionally.
Know ONE thing…there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you. There will be many people that tell you otherwise, mostly because they are self-conscious with themselves. No matter who you are, what you do or say I will love you unconditionally, which I know is important, but even more important than that is you love yourself.
You will be bombarded with messages suggesting you should look or feel a certain way. Ignore them. Look and feel how you want to. Ironically, when you totally love yourself, you’ll naturally take care of yourself, only put good things in your body, only hang around awesome people, and only attract love your way.
Unconditional love is more than love, it’s all that matters.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You.” – Dr. Suess
Life is All About People.
Being an entrepreneur I remind myself of this daily. My rewards, financial, psychological, mental, emotional, etc…are directly correlated to the amount of value I share with the world and PEOPLE. The more people you help, the more rewarded you will be. Now the caveat is that you shouldn’t help people FOR the rewards, you should help people for the sake of passionately and purposefully helping them.
Sure, be receptive to receiving from all the good you are giving, but stay humble and focused. Life is so much more fulfilling when you share it with great people. Not all people are great or will be great to you, but stay compassionate, caring, and loving. Those people need your understanding and love the most.
Just Eat Real Food.
I can’t even imagine what the state of our food supply will be when you are my age, or even 10 years old! It’s scary to think about it, like monsters under the bed scary. The foods today are not anything like the foods your great-great grandmother ate. Real, whole food from the “fat of the land” that was raised, slaughtered, and prepared by each family themselves.
Trust me when I say you will eat amazing food for the duration of life you spend your mom and I. Why? Because, eating good quality food has kept us happy and healthy, and it will do the same for you. Food promotes LIFE, gives you ENERGY, and supports your CREATIVITY.
To at real food is not a diet, it is a lifestyle.
Learn AND Un-Learn.
Always be learning…and always be un-learning, it’s just as important if not, MORE important to your personal growth. When you learn you become intellectual, when you un-learn, you start becoming not only intellectual, but intelligent and wise.
For example, much of my current nutrition philosophy I un-learned from high school and college. The best way to un-learn is to never stop asking “WHY?” Never stop questioning conventional thinking and always be receptive to someone with a different viewpoint then yours.
Being married to your learned beliefs only makes you look like a fool.
Be Weird, Be Bold, Be You.
One of my favorite authors Seth Godin, I’ll read you a few of his books before you’ll be able to speak, wrote a book titled “We Are All Weird.” Essentially, he says to “embrace your weird.” Too often we repress our true selves for fear of being made fun of, judged, or not looking cool.
Guess what? At the end of everyday the ONLY person that has the last say about who you are, is YOU. Do you want to be the person who holds in their truth, their boldness, their amazing weirdness? OR do you want to fall to sleep every night HAPPY that you lived your life on your terms, spreading your awesomeness the only way you know how…being yourself.
I want you to be bold, be weird, and be yourself
Define Your Own Values For Living.
People will try to instill their beliefs, values, opinions, and everything in between on you and your life. That goes for everyone, even me. I invite you and strongly suggest (see I’m already doing it) you create and define YOUR own values for living, eating, being, etc…
Without values you are like a lost little birdie, flying around in circles. Your values define your thoughts, actions, and responses to experiences. They attract specific people into your life and repel others. Your values will set you free in a way, allowing you to live your truth.
Listen and observe…become aware of other’s values, then start creating your own.
In Acceptance Transformation Will Occur.
If you become interested in Zen, THIS statement: “In acceptance transformation occurs” is what ZEN is all about.
Later in life you’ll wonder why people won’t change, no matter how hard you WANT someone to change, they aren’t going to budge unless you first ACCEPT them for who they are. The funny thing about that is YOU are the one changing and once that happens, you won’t need anyone else to change.
Accepting other’s for their weirdness helps you accept your own weirdness.
Since I know you are going to be the type of person to help people, I’ll leave you with this: You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves, accept that.
Comparison has no place in your quest for a healthy and happy body. Comparing yourself/your body to others is a needless distraction.Each individual is unique and incomparable. Be aware that our minds desire to compare is because of our conditioning and programming.
Someone is always prettier, smarter, fitter, more educated, stronger, etc…so what? Be a prettier, smarter, fitter, more educated, and stronger YOU! Your mission is to become better than you were last year, last month, yesterday….and you do that by focusing on LIVING, EATING, BEING awesome every moment!
Only compare yourself to the girl you were yesterday!
Create Your Own Luck.
“Good luck!” You’ll hear this a million times for very well-intentioned people, who truly want you to succeed, others say it out of indifference, and others just say it because “that’s what you’re supposed to say.” Either way, know that the people who take the most intentional action will have the most luck.
Sure, sometimes “luck” will be in your favor and other times you’ll feel like it’s not at all on your side. No matter what, don’t rely on luck AND don’t let “bad luck” bring you or keep you down.
Control your luck, by creating your own. Remember, sometimes you need to build a few doors to open them up yourself.
Society: Challenge It But Don’t At The Same Time.
You may be thinking “Dad, why can’t you just say something without making it confusing…” To that I say, well because sometimes life is confusing, so I’m giving you a lesson IN a lesson…how’s that for confusing?”
Let me explain myself, society should be challenged, but it shouldn’t be challenged for the sake of challenging it. Question society, the status quo, and all that is “thought to be true.” You’ll find a lot of answers in questions, not necessarily the right answers, but you’ll learn or un-learn something from asking.
Everyday find something to challenge and become BETTER or more experienced at, not because you want to win or lose, but because society is there to teach you something.
We All Want To Change The World, Start With Yourself.
At some point you’ll want to change the world, which I’ll encourage for the rest of my life. At some point you might try to change the world, without focusing on changing yourself first.
You see, we ALL want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and that’s a VERY awesome trait of us humans, however, many humans get caught up in OUTSIDE transformation, completely ignoring INTERNAL transformation.
When you focus on being the absolute BEST, most AWESOME, you, the world can’t help but start changing for the better. You’ll start having better thoughts, taking better actions, and start CREATING outside transformation.
Your insides can only take so much awesome, until you just start bursting with LOVE and ENERGY.
I know you’re going to do BIG things, I can’t wait to experience that with you.
Skill Power > Will Power.
Relying on willpower to avoid doing things you don’t want to do is a losing game. Take eating junk food, many people say “I just don’t have the willpower to avoid stopping at fast food places.” That’s a cope out, because will power isn’t a thing.
You set values, you develop skills, and you have priorities. You don’t and never will need willpower. What you focus on every day is enhancing your skills that allow to make the best decisions for you, your life, and your body. That’s how true WILLpower is achieved.
Baby girl, work your skills NOT your wills!
Everybody Has A Genius Inside, Be Remarkable.
Too many times I thought about being a doctor, when I really wanted to CREATE stuff. Not that doctors can’t create, because they do, but I KNEW it wouldn’t make ME happy, yet I keep thinking it was what I “SHOULD” do. Epic fail.
I hated school and I hope you like it more than I did (or not, whatever). It’s not that I was one of this “kids who is too smart for school” it was more I was too stubborn to learn things I didn’t care about (or was I?)…
My point of this “lesson” (ironic, ehh?) is that you, my sweet little girl will have a GENIUS inside of you that NO ONE will ever understand better than you, however, people will try to repress it by telling you to focus on something else other than your genius. Don’t let them. Show them how remarkable your genius is and maybe they’ll leave you alone and focus on their own genius.
If you are an artist, be awesome. If you want to be a doctor, be the best doctor you can be. If you want to write code, be remarkable! Be what you want, express your genius.
The World Changes Whether We Like It Or Not
Don’t resist change, embrace it. Why embrace change even when it doesn’t go in your favor? Because the alternative choice sucks worse. Sometimes you must create your own silver lining when it comes to unexpected change, many times on the change that you create.
Everything changes, the way it should, because nothing stands still, as it shouldn’t. Standing still is boring and being stagnant is probably the worst feeling in the world, trust me I’ve been stagnant many times over my life.
Back to resistance…if you resist change you’ll inhibit your own growth and my sweet girl, is not something you want to do.
Be Happy Now, Be Happy Later
How you feel and what you create in the moment will create your future. I’m not saying it’s NOT ok to be sad or angry or emotional, because those feelings are normal and natural. But, when you are experiencing those emotions, be completely happy that you are feeling that way. Don’t fight the sadness, just be sad. If you are angry, be angry. If you try to fight the emotions you are feeling, you can’t be happy.
Fake happiness will NEVER lead to more happiness my dear.
Mistakes are Inevitable, Don’t Make The Same One Twice.
You’ll hear things like “don’t make mistakes” from teachers, coaches, and other people you’ll interact with as you grow older. I believe this is horrible advice, because mistakes are inevitable. You will make mistakes and you’ll probably make a lot of them, but that’s ok!
Learn from your mistakes and try not to make the same one twice, 3 times, or 5 times. If you are anything like me, you’ll make the same one twice more than once. The key is to understand your mistakes, where they came from, how to avoid them, and being ok with making them.
Don’t mistake mistakes for failure.
Experience, Don’t Expect.
I used to (and still sometimes do) recommend people like a expectation-free life. Over the past year I’ve modified my stance a bit. I instead say, live an experience-full life.
For me, this one was a tough one to grasp as you will be told to have all kinds of expectations when it comes to your life. However, ignore them (or most of them at least), as there are very few things that you can truly “expect.” Expectations can ruin relationships. Experiences can enhance them.
You could have low expectations and excel, but why think so low? You could have high expectations and miss, but did you really miss? Do you see how strange expectations can be?
When you go in an experience mindset, you always win!
Take Responsibility For Everything You Create
The most successful women I have ever met (including your Mother) all have ONE major thing in common: they take responsibility for their life. They don’t blame outside circumstances for their results. They CHOOSE how they are going to feel today, instead of letting the day dictate their feelings. They are proactive, instead of reactive.
Sure, sometimes people will do mean things and hurt you (inside or outside) and technically it will be “their fault”, but you get to decide who REALLY wins. Responsibility means being true to yourself and not allowing others to influence that truth. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Excuses are Real, Solutions are Created.
Everyone has a million and one excuses for a million and one things, I did/do and you will have excuses. What separates the people who take responsibility for their life and those who don’t are solutions.
For every excuse or problem in your life there is and always will be at least one solution. Be solution-oriented. Be an excuse eliminating machine. Take responsibility for your reactions to excuses in your mind, because that’s where they start. Watch your excuses, understand them, and then use them to your advantage to understand yourself and others.
Create solutions to your “real” made-up excuses.
LOVE, respect, and understand your parents
(Shameless Plug): My Mom and Dad (your grandparents) are two selfless, loving people who I KNOW will love you unconditionally. Throughout various points in my life I felt the need to “make them proud”, but I was going about it all wrong. The BEST way to make your parents proud is to be kind/loving, be a leader/role model, AND most of all live YOUR truth.
Living your truth means being and expressing yourself (even if it doesn’t align with their beliefs).
I hope you enjoyed and received some insight and value from my mad ramblings. I’m sure we’ll discuss most of these before you’re able to read and understand all these ideas, so until then I love you and I can’t wait to LEARN a thing or two from YOU!
P.S. Always love and respect your Mother, no matter what. She may seem like the worst person in the world sometimes, but I promise you, she always has your best intentions at heart. She’s the best.