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  • Mary Schreiber Swenson

The 7 Life Lessons I've Learned

Throughout my time as an entrepreneur, businesswoman, and CEO, I've learned numerous lessons that have been crucial in helping me to accomplish all of the professional and personal success I'm so proud to have achieved today.

Without further ado, I'd like to share seven of the most important life lessons I've cultivated across my journey in hopes that it inspires you to make the most of your own unique path in the years to come.

  • Number 7: If you can achieve your dreams in this lifetime, you are thinking too small. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. Refuse to be silenced. We realized the importance of our voices only when we are silenced. Break the sound barrier.

  • Number 6: Don't believe in "happily ever after." No one is coming to save you. This is your life. You are the pilot, and you are 100 percent responsible for what happens, how it happens and when it happens. If you let your epitaph say "Died at 57 years old but lived to 85," then you wasted decades of your life. Your stint on Earth is too precious to cast away time.

  • Number 5: Learn to have a very causal relationship with reality and refuse to live an unlived life. Risk your significance. If the risk is high, then the reward will be high. If you are not willing to take a chance, you will have to settle.

  • Number 4: Even heroes get tired, but there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. You don't have to set yourself on fire to keep everyone warm, but you do need to always have a sense of community. It unites us and makes us a part of something greater than ourselves. You are graced with the gift of connecting one another.

  • Number 3: Always be unapologetically feminine with a clever sense of brilliance and glamour. Own that brilliance and depth. Embrace that glamour.

  • Number 2: Love your God, partner, family, and friends with all your heart. Don't ever let fear stop you from loving. Yes, some relationships are bound to hurt and let you down; but that's the beauty of being human. The joy of love is just too grand to not experience its fullness. Life's greatest obstacle is fear and giving up because of fear.

  • Number 1: Go from pursuing money to pursuing meaning. Discover what gives you meaning and how dangerous it is to be completely free. The meaning of life is to find your gift, and the true purpose of life is to give it away.

Mary Schreiber Swenson, PhD

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