It was 1989. The cold was bitter and record-breaking. Just days before, a freak snowstorm ravaged the valley.
Six people died because of that snowstorm, and the cold increased the death toll by another two.
But, I wasn't waiting for anything.
I practically came into this world in my parents' car in the hospital parking lot on one of the city's coldest days in history.
On Wednesday, it's my birthday.
It also happens to be my last day of my contract at my day job, where I spent the last seven months.
And, as I move on to the next chapter of my life and career, it seems almost kismet that I'm starting my 26th year with such a bang.
Over the past 26 years, I've learned so much about life and business.
And I'm sure I'll only learn more with every year that passes.
Here are my favorite life-changing lessons I've learned in my years on the planet:
1. Learning and growing is impossible in one place. We're like fish that will only grow as big as the container allows. If you travel, your container gets bigger.
2. If you rely on motivation to get sh*t done, you'll never get any sh*t done.
3. You can learn and do almost anything. Limitations put on your potential are self-inflicted.
4. Sleep is one of the most important factors in business, relationships and life.
6. Brains are like batteries; they need to be recharged sometimes. Downtime is the charger for your brain battery.
7. Hard work isn't the answer. Smart work is the answer. And if you work hard at smart work, you can do anything.
8. If you can build a habit from it, you can become successful in it.
9. We can only understand ourselves as humans once we fully embrace how irrational we are.
10. If Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs was for entrepreneurship, relationships would be the second-most needed:
12. When things are going wrong or you can't get the hang of something, you're often close to a breakthrough. Try shifting two millimeters.
13. Most of us have the choice between enjoying our work or not enjoying our work. Even if you don't think you have a choice, you probably do.
14. You can, and should, break the rules. Nobody became successful from following the status quo.
15. We all need somebody who calls us out on our bullsh*t.
16. Create the product, business, article, podcast or art you would want to see, read or listen to. Not sure what desire you want to fill? Join my free course to find a lifestyle business you'll love.
17. When you don't know what to do with something in your business, ask yourself: “If I were the audience or market for this, what would I want?” Then, do it.
18. People are mainly good.
19. You need three types of people in your corner: people you can help, people at the same level as you and people who can help you.
This is a load-bearing triangle, and without one of these types of people, there's nothing to hold up the load.
21. Sometimes, mentees are the best mentors. If you're up against a problem, say so. They'll flip your words back on you and make you see things clearly.
22. The mental and physical energy you have is a result of fuel you put in your body. If you put junk in your body, you get junk results.
23. The best cure for anxiety and feeling overwhelmed? Oxygen. Remember to breathe.
24. Sometimes, the best cure for a bad mood is putting gratitude in your attitude.
25. Always keep one foot in what you know and one foot outside of your comfort zone. This makes your comfort zone bigger.
It's True What They Say.
Every single year gets better and better.
I know a little bit more about myself, human nature and the world with each birthday. For that, I'm grateful.
On Thursday, I'm flying to Ponta Delgada, Portugal with nothing but a carry-on and a one-way ticket (and, of course, my laptop) for the first leg of an adventure.
Six years ago, I would have never thought travel, location independence or the ability to reach thousands of people worldwide through blogging and an online business was a possibility for me.
I'm so grateful this has become my reality and for all of you reading along.
Here's to making my 26th year the best year yet!
Sarah Peterson is the author of Unsettle.org, where she encourages people to never settle for careers they don't love. Sign up for her free course to find the perfect idea for a lifestyle business so you can gain flexibility and freedom and do work you love.
This article was originally published on Unsettle.org