3 years in Cali… more lessons learned

Today marks three years I’m living in California.

In 2011 I wrote these 33 lessons I learned in my first year in Cali.

In 2012 I scribed 21 more lessons learned in my second year in Cali.

This year, it’s a baker’s dozen, 13 lessons learned.

Most are new, some bear repeating, all are worth learning.

Here goes:

1. Get in the river, go with the tide and stop clinging to the rocks.

This has been one of the most challenging and liberating rides of my life. I jumped into a new river without knowing where it was going. I let the tide take me.

Clinging is resistance. Resistance creates tension. Tension forces me to make decisions under stress and duress. Resistance is futile. I decided to let go and let the river take me. This is the adventure of life. I surrendered and gave up control. It’s hard to do. The trip is worth it.

2. Mitch’s 2 NEW Rules:

Rule #1- Meet my needs first.
Rule #2: See Rule #1.

If you’re like me, you seek first to meet the needs of others, then to meet your own. This is not an equation for healthy and happy living. Giving too much and receiving too little creates imbalance in the yin and the yang of life.

It’s not noble to meet the needs of others and allow your needs to be unmet. You are as valuable as every other human being. The world is better when your needs are met. When you meet your needs first, you are better able to meet the needs of others. You are energized to fuel the life force of others, without depleting your own.

Highest and best happens when all parties get what they want. That includes you.

Start today. Meet your needs first. Let me know how it feels.

3. Be open, flowing, adaptable and flexible… be like a tree.

Ancient proverb: “That which is rigid and closed withers and dies. That which is open and flowing grows and thrives.”

Are you open and flowing? Adaptability and flexibility are essential for longevity and success. If I don’t flex and bend with the winds of life, I will break when a strong gust blows my way.

I want resilience and bounce back ability. It’s not a matter of IF the wind blows. It’s only a matter of WHEN and how strongly.

Be open and flowing. Be adaptable and flexible. Be like a tree.

4. Share your gifts with everyone who is ready to receive them.

My business partner and friend Sandy helped me see I was burying my gifts under a rock. I confused being in the spotlight with bringing the sunlight. My gifts light the path and the sunlight brightens the world.

I continue to practice. I’ve been stepping out of the cave and into the light. There’s plenty of light to go around for everyone. I invite you to join me in the sunlight. Seeking sunlight keeps rocking my world. Let me know if it rocks yours.

5. Don’t look at what’s NOT done… look at what’s GOT done.

This mantra changes everything. Your “Got Done List” will transform your life. Instead of starting your day with a “To Do” list that grows longer every day, begin it with your “Got Done” list.

You can’t build on what’s not done. You can build on what’s got done. Looking at what’s “got” done not what’s “not” done will transform you forever.

What got done today?

6. Beware the curse of knowledge.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the curse of knowledge. When I meet someone stuck, we can often source it to the curse of knowledge, either too much or too little.

I am often too smart for my own good, with too much knowledge that gets in the way of progress. Other times I believe I know too little, and need to acquire more knowledge BEFORE I can be credible or help someone.

The curse of knowledge can stop me dead in my tracks. Sound like someone you know? Do you have the curse of “too much” or “too little” knowledge?

Both curses are illusions. You can find, acquire and buy knowledge.

What people really want is to be loved and served. You don’t need special knowledge to love and serve others. How do you not let the curse of knowledge stop you?

Practice my friend Tony Alessandra’s “Platinum Rule”:

“Do unto others as they would have you do unto them,” and the curse of knowledge will never stop you again.

7. Expand the pie by asking, “Who can I love and serve today?

I keep these words above my desk. I love and serve, and people reward me with their money. It’s a complete loop. I will always be rich, and never be poor if I love and serve.

The NEW Game is an abundance game. You win by expanding the pie, not by taking someone else’s piece. Creating more pie for yourself and others is one of the most valuable skills you can develop. It’s called Rainmaking.

Are you a rainmaker or a rain taker? Do you create or consume more pie? How can you create more pie, more value and mo’ money? Start by asking yourself,

“Who can I love and serve today?”

8. “May we be kind to others” because people matter most.

I am practicing this simple wisdom from the Dalai Lama. People matter most. Everything else is fleeting and transitory. I can acquire riches, fame, and fortune. Yet if I don’t have people who love me and care about me, I am not truly wealthy.

Achievement is exciting. Applause feels good. Money is important. Recognition is nice. Success is sweet. These things come and go. Love lasts. People matter. Life is a human game.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your loved ones. Alan Cohen writes, “Keep memories of insult on a short leash, and memories of blessing on a long one.” Every day is a day for blessings.

In a world filled with fear, anger and violence, you can “be the change you want to see in the world” by being loving, kind and peaceful.

Don’t put any thing above any one. In the end, those who love you will remember who you are and what you did, not how much you had.

Here is a simple formula for peaceful living:

1 – Love everything and everyone especially you (fear nothing).
2 – Accept everything and everyone especially you (resist nothing).
3 – When fear and resistance take hold, go back to #1 and #2.

Ask… “What if I love everyone? What if I accept everything?

9. Everyone is on a path… some stay, some go, you never know.

People come and go. Sometimes they stay. Everyone is on a path. I am on my path and you are on yours, and we may cross paths for a moment or a lifetime. I’m learning to love and let go, not get attached to people or outcomes. Not so easy.

I’m practicing Don Miguel Ruiz’ “4 Agreements” with a focus on these two:

Take nothing personally.
Make no assumptions.

Allow others to be who they are, do what they do and go where they go.

10. Stop pushing and pitching, start vibrating and trusting.

I call this “tuning fork” living. You strike your turning fork, and those who resonate to your pitch are attracted to you. Those who don’t resonate aren’t attracted. For greater harmonic convergence, strike your “tuning fork” in business, money and life. See who shows up.

It takes courage to trust my intuition and strike my own chord. The mind is a powerful master if not directed to serve. It diverts me away from my intuitive knowing and perfect pitch. I trust my intuition above my analysis. Most of the time good emerges.

Trust yourself! Strike your tuning fork, and vibrate to your own pitch.

11. Life is a dance between self-reliance and interdependence.

My dad told me when I was a lad, “If you want to get something done…!”

I bet you know the last three words of Dad’s phrase are… “do it yourself!”

So I become independent, very self-reliant. Then the game changed.

The NEW Game is interdependence. Team is as important as talent. Surround yourself with the best players you can find. Know what you want and need, and start asking for help.

I learned to ask for help. Asking for help is a gift I give to those I ask. I get what I want, and you get to give it to me. We both win. We all need help, and we all need to help. Offer it when you can, accept it when you must. Take what you need when you need it. Give what you can when you got it.

Asking is a big breakthrough for me. I’ve usually been the one asked, not the one asking. I’m digging asking.

12. Wisdom is a supply and demand game. Is your “Money Talk” talking time or value?

The commodity game is price driven game. Advice is often a time game. Wisdom is a value game. Being comfortable talking money is a big challenge. I got good at helping people see the value of my treatment, not look at the time it takes to write the prescription.

Wisdom is a value game. It’s pricing is based on results, improvement, progress and experience, not cost or time.

There is little training in having the money talk. We did two hours of coaching on how to have the money talk, how to ask for it and receive it. It’s among the most valuable practical training we’ve ever done. We show you how to never again fear the money talk, and know how to start getting paid what you’re really worth

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13. Life keeps going, then one day it stops (#33 from year 1; #21 from year 2, it’s a lesson that bears repeating every year).

Enjoy today. My nephew Robert passed away in December 2010 too young at 46 with too much life left to go. He left behind a beautiful wife, 3 gorgeous kids under 8 years old and my broken-hearted brother and sister-in-law who live with the unbearable pain of losing a child.

On August 26, 2012 we lost my sister-in-law Nancy, my brother’s wife of 49 years, Mom to 4 wonderful children and grandma to 10 grandchildren.

On June 8, 2013 my brother-in-law lost his son.

Again we are jolted into remembering to be kind, relish every day, and be present in every moment.

My game is to fill my day with love, serve and deliver. If I love, serve and deliver, I will have a great life.

More than likely, the money will come.

If it doesn’t, I still have a great life.

Life is beautiful.
Enjoy every breath.
Savor every moment.

Make today a WONDERFUL day!


P/S ~ “Play it Forward” and please, share your thoughts and feelings below.

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