Own Your Life; No One Else Will

The best day of your life is that day on which you decide your life is all your own.

No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on or rely on.

The gift is yours; and you—yes, YOU—are responsible for the beauty, wonder and quality of it.

People are always going to tell you how to feel, how to think, how to react, how to believe, how to choose. Sometimes the advice is good. It usually comes from people whom you admire and care about.

Sometimes it's not.

At the end of the day, you're the only person who has to live the life that everyone else is chiming in on. And that means that you have to listen to yourself above anyone else.

Of course, you can keep your mind and your heart open. You can listen to the advice of those who have lived longer than you or in a different way than you. You can believe that everyone you meet has something to teach you. But you have to have the final say.

Learn from others. Listen to others. Respect others. Admire others. But when it comes to living your beautiful life, remember that no one else can do it for you.

What things do you have to give up to be wildly successful and happy?

• Give Up On The Unhealthy Lifestyle
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." — Jim Rohn

If you want to live a good life, it starts here with three big, healthy things: Quality sleep, a healthy diet and lots of activity.

• Give Up The Short-term Mindset
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." — Mae West

Successful people set long-term goals, and work on short-term habits that they need to do every day. These healthy habits shouldn't be something you do; they should be something you embody. There is a difference between: "Working out to get in that little black dress" and "Working out because that's who you are."

• Give Up On Playing Small
"Playing small does not serve the world. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. — Marianne Williamson

Dreams are supposed to be big, audacious, and risky adventures. If they don't challenge us, they definitely won't change us. So don't be afraid to fail, and certainly don't be afraid to succeed.

• Give Up Your Excuses
"It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand." ― Randy Pausch

Successful people know that they are responsible for their life, no matter their weaknesses and past failures. Excuses limit us from growing personally and professionally. Own your life; no one else will.

• Give Up the Rigid Mindset
"The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways." ― Robert Greene

People with a black and white mindset think their talents are traits that can't be changed. If you invest your time in developing a growth mindset, acquiring new knowledge, learning new skills and changing your perception you will be wildly successful. Who you are today is not who you have to be tomorrow.

• Give Up Your Perfectionism
"Perfection is over-rated. We are all lopsided people living lopsided lives!" — Julie Isphording

Fear of failure—or even fear of success—often prevents us from taking action. But a lot of opportunities will be lost if you wait for things to be right.

• Give Up Your Need to Control Everything
"Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us." — Epictetus

Detach from the things you cannot control, focus on the ones you can, and know that sometimes, the only thing you will be able to control is your attitude towards something.

• Give Up the Toxic People
"Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." — Albert Einstein

People you spend the most time with add up to who you become.

What are some skills that great people had in common?

• Self-Awareness
"You must be comfortable with who you are and what you are," says Alvin Roehr, CEO of The Roehr Agency. "Don't try to be something you're not. And don't try to change yourself just because others tell you to."

• Leadership
"Focus on becoming the best version of yourself," says John Barrett, CEO of Western & Southern. "When you do that, you become a role model and inspire others to do the same. The best way to help others is to teach them to rely on themselves."

• Writing
"Better writing leads to better thinking, and better thinking leads to better communication," says Barrett. "Better communication leads to better results in your career."

• Mindfulness
"Being a calm and mindful person who is in control of their thoughts and emotions is a person others can rely on," says Roehr. "I don't think we can ever fully master this skill, but by practicing control over our thoughts, we can get better."

• Productivity
"Work is the only way to achieve things," says Barrett. "Become a person who is productive every day. Make good use of your time. Know how to get the best results in the least amount of time."

• Perseverance
"Some days, you want to give up because you don't see any results in your life," says Roehr. You work, work and work. But don't quit on striving for betterment — ever."

• Excellence
"No matter what you do, do it the best way you can — or not at all," says Barrett. "If you want to reach your full potential, that's the quickest route. It is also the hardest. But don't let that be a barrier to achieving excellence."

What makes athletes so successful?

• They are realistically optimistic.
Achieving success is not easy, even though there are some people out there who always seem to make it look so. Successful athletes set realistic goals and equip themselves with an arsenal of effort, patience, and persistence because they know the journey can sometimes be long and difficult.

• They believe in being their best, rather than being the best
Successful athletes know there is always room from improvement. Sometimes it involves a different technique, skill, strategy, or different coach. They enjoy the challenge of finding more in themselves and their abilities.

• They build consistency with small sustainable changes.
Success is built on small sustainable changes. It's about "showing up" every day with passion, perseverance and humility. Eventually, something great happens, but you have a billion chances to get it right.

• They surround themselves with people who support your dreams.
It may sound a little selfish, but if we all did that, we'd be much happier and more affirmed people. In order to create success, you must feel it. The five people closest to you can have the biggest impact on your success. Choose them wisely.

• They have grit.
Anyone who wants to take charge of their own destiny must have grit and stamina. There will always be self-doubt. You must hold firm in the face of challenges and difficulty. Your plans rarely go as planned, and it takes fortitude to get through life's curveballs and detours.

How do you get your children to talk at the dinner table?

• Mad-Sad-Glad
Each family member has to share one thing from their day that made them mad, sad, and glad. In addition to initiating some real conversation, this will give you more insight in your kids' lives — anxieties, accomplishments, difficulties and more.

• Talk about yourself (and let them jump in)
Our lives don't always strike us as riveting, but you'd be surprised at what kids' curious minds want to know. Everyone is unique, including you. They will enjoy the personal stories you share with them and learn something new about you.

• The awkward silence
Join forces with your spouse and resolve to say nothing -- not a word. Inevitably, kids will fill the silence with something.

• The bribe
Use this alternative in truly desperate situations: "Okay, if you two don't start telling me about your day, we're not having desert." This one never fails.

What's a two minute exercise that can increase your energy?

Set a timer for two minutes, close your eyes, then breathe in through your nose for four counts and out for three. Inhaling stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, helping you feel animated and active.

This is a great breathing exercise to try in the morning or right before you go into an exhausting meeting at the end of a long day.