Two years ago I gifted myself the ultimate present - entrepreneurship. My last day of corporate work was two days before my 26th birthday. I made a promise to a few choice family members that I would start this life I was talking about.

Fast forward two years, it’s been a wild, bumpy, sometimes out of control ride that I can barely keep on the track - I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s taught me lessons you can’t read about in a textbook. It’s taught me lessons you can’t ask from a mentor, peer, or colleague.

You simply have to live your own life in order to experience them, to really feel them.

27 was a year with all kinds of feels. I’m not one to promote any self-celebration, like a birthday. However, they are actually important to acknowledge from a point of self-reflection. Just like NYE, it gives you a chance to loopback on the year, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future.

Here are five lessons I learned at 27 that will guide me at 28:

1. Age is arbitrary, life experience is real. To experience more, we must do more. We must live more. Age is not an excuse to give up on things reserved for “someone younger”, nor is it an excuse to keep you from pursuing a life passion. You want to skydive at 75? Rip that shit. Start a business at 21? PLEASE. We’re counting on you.

2. Tasks expand in complexity to meet the timeline you give them. When you work for yourself, it’s easy to become distracted. No boss is looking over your shoulder, no reports to draw up. If you don’t create deadlines, you don’t get anything finished. I set some goal for Live Better and myself, all of which were accomplished! The year seems to fly by, but upon review you’ve done so much. In chronological order:

  • Joined Barry’s Bootcamp as a founding instructor in Chicago
  • “Hired” our first team member as part of Live Better, Mr. @ryhormel. The GOAT.
  • Participated in my first national Nike campaign for Training, and then my second three weeks later
  • Ran Live Better’s first Influencer Wellness Retreat in El Salvador
  • Completed a life goal of mine to give a coaching session sitting on the water during a surf lesson
  • Got engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world, culminating 9 years of love, friendship, and companionship
  • Ran Live Better's first corporate retreat in Whistler, B.C.
  • Secured dates and successfully sold spots on Live Better’s first public retreat and first media trip to work with a tourism board

3. The energy you put out into the world is real. The things you make happen, the things you give focus to, how you treat people, how you help people, and what you want in life come to life when you put energy towards them. Take every coffee meeting, serve first and lead second, and never, ever stop moving forward.

4. EQ (“emotional quotient”… vs. “IQ”) is the most important thing you can work on as human being. I firmly believe this should be a mandatory college class every single year at university - could even call it “mindfulness.” Our self-awareness, how we handle our response to situations, and how we interact with others is so important to both personal happiness and success in business, Many people are under the impression that people “can’t change…they are who they are.” I disagree. It takes hard, consistent self-review, but it’s possible, no matter the age, background, or life experience.

5. Two traits of grit and a positive attitude are both rare and so valuable. Last year, I made an unwavering commitment to find success, have fun, and pursue growth. In an age where it’s complain first and have someone else do it for you second, you gain a step. Grit take a challenge and burns it for fuel. A positive attitude takes you the rest of the journey.

On this day, I honestly can’t be more humbled, grateful, and fulfilled. 27 was an insane year for me, and I’m stoked thinking about every minute of it. My life has changed drastically heading into 28.

But whatever comes, I can be certain of two things - surfing, and the best day ever, every single day.