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May 28, 2024

In a few days, the good Lord willing, I’ll celebrate my 40th birthday.

To be transparent, I’ve thought about it more than I probably should have. I’ve never been one to really focus on birthdays, but this one feels different. I’m sure those of you further along in your journey are rolling your eyes right now. I get it that life isn’t over. However I can relate to Norman Corwin’s sentiment from his book The Ageless Spirit, where he said, “I remember now that the toughest birthday I ever faced was my fortieth. It was a big symbol because it said good-bye, good-bye, and good-bye to youth.”

Much of my identity has been wrapped up in my youth:
Writing the first book at a young age.
Being the youngest speaker at the conference.
Creating leadership programs for the next generation.

I also realize that 40 brings lots of opportunities. Corwin went on to say, “But I think that when one has passed through that age it’s like breaking the sound barrier.”

As I reflect on the first 40 years, here are some truths I’m carrying with me into the next phase of life:

1. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.
Obedience is more important than feelings. Ike Reighard says, “The great doors of opportunity swing on little bitty hinges called obedience.”
3. Conformity: Doing what everyone else is regardless of what is right. Morality: Doing what is right regardless of what everyone else is doing.

4. The most important things in life aren’t things.

5. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.
6. The best way to know God is to spend time with Him.
7. “Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” – Donald Miller
8. If you want to change the world, you have to break the rules. Remember, Orville Wright never had a pilot’s license.
9. In order to make a difference you have to be different.
10. My kids are growing up fast. I need to enjoy each season. Yes, even the hard, frustrating, exhausting ones.
11. Don’t be afraid to like what you like.
12. Take the trip.
13. You can love the past without living in it.
14. Loyalty to those you love is good in the good times, but essential in the tough times.
15. My dad always said: If you’re going to be stupid, you’ve got to be tough.
16. Choosing your friends is choosing your future. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
17. “People will always try to stop you from doing the right thing if it is unconventional.” – Warren Buffett
18. “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan
19. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie ten Boom
20. Find ways to make memories and visit them often. Cesare Pavese says, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
21. You can’t change that which you tolerate.
22. Stop chasing the next thing. The next paycheck, the next client, the next book, the next country, the next house. Too much focus on what’s next makes you wish your life away.
23. Success is not measured in the money you make or the recognition you receive, but more so in the lives you touch and the impact you have.
24. My favorite Zig Ziglar quote, “The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.”
25. There is no better way to see the world changed than to be a part of changing the world. Get off the sidelines and do something to change the world.

I hope these resonate with you. More importantly, I hope I’ll have the courage to practice what I preach.

I’m thankful for each of you in my life. Many of you who receive this list are friends, fellow church members, colleagues, and other incredible people I’ve met along the way.


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