One of the birthday “traditions” in our family is when a member gets to a certain age, they share one “pearl of wisdom” for each decade they have lived.

Today is my 50th birthday! The five decades behind me were all wonderful and as I reflect on each one of them, I can clearly see how each decade blended into the next to bring me to where I am today. I’m very excited about the next 50 years with lots of ideas and plans for living a meaningful and full life. In keeping with my family “tradition,” I’m going to share with you my five “pearls of wisdom” that have been instrumental in my life so far. This is not an easy exercise! Choosing five was a real challenge. We all have beliefs that we carry inside of us. They come from our families, mentors, and life experiences that we have along the way. However, I’m clear now that the five “pearls of wisdom” that you read below are the ones that have shaped my life in the most profound way:

1. Be on Time – Sounds simple doesn’t it? When I was a young girl in my teens, my Dad was forever rallying my sister and me to be on time. (When I was a teenager, the only thing I wanted to do was stay up late and sleep-in the next day!) What I’ve learned is that people who arrive on time (or even a little early) get access to opportunities and decision-makers that late-comers don’t. All (and I mean all) of the successful people I’ve met in my life arrive on time. Thanks Dad.

2. Listen – My favorite line in the movie, “Pulp Fiction” is when Uma Thurman asks John Travolta, “Do you listen or are you always waiting to talk?” Brilliant. Stop for a moment and ask yourself that question. It sounds simple, but have you mastered the skill of “listening?” It is one that I highly recommend that you practice. This one “pearl” alone has made a big difference in the course of my life. My grandfather used to say, “There’s a reason you have two ears and one mouth.” Enough said.

3. Be open to learn from the unexpected – I’ve been to lectures and seminars that have been taught by people who were highly educated and the information was insightful. However, one of my most influential teachers, who ultimately became my mentor, was a high school drop-out who became a multi-millionaire.

4. Follow your instincts – In my work with women, I refer to this as “follow your internal voice.” As I reflect on the last five decades, every single time I didn’t follow my internal voice, I got myself into hot water---very hot water! Your internal voice is always with you (she’s been with you since the day you were born). She knows you better than anyone else and she will never, ever misguide you.

This “pearl of wisdom” leads me to #5 which is…

5. Practice Solitude – I discovered this “pearl of wisdom” in my 40’s. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I was so busy running around living a very fast-paced life, that I never, ever appreciated (or was comfortable with) solitude or silence. When it got quiet, I got moving. As I crossed the threshold into my 40’s, I began to crave solitude. It was like breathing. It was necessary for me to live. This “pearl of wisdom” ties right into #4 – “Follow your instincts”. It wasn’t until I learned to practice solitude that I could “hear” what my internal voice was telling me. She speaks very softly and with all of the roles and responsibilities you have as a woman, it can be a challenge to hear her words of wisdom. It is in those precious moments of silence that I hear and visualize the best next steps for me in my life.

These are my “5 Pearls of Wisdom” and as I reflect on each of them, they come together like a single thread weaving their way through the fabric of my life. It is my hope that if you practice even one of them that you will begin to see positive change in your own life. As a mentor once shared with me, “The slightest shift creates the greatest impact.”

Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.


Author's Bio: 

© 2010 Joy Chudacoff

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