When I was in my 40s, I participated in the Strategic Coach program. When I turned 50, I pulled out the journaling that I did as a part of the program. It took a week to distill everything down to its essence. I then used this information to inform and guide my actions going forward.

There’s a name for this approach. In The Strategic Coach program, this thinking tool is called The Experience Transformer. The goal is to capture the learning that can occur from both positive and negative experiences. By understanding where things didn’t work, a person can learn and move to higher levels of performance.

Last week, I celebrated my birthday and it got me thinking about what life lessons I’ve learned. I found those journals and notes, and here are my top takeaways.

  • Stay invulnerable. Be diligent in reducing overhead by minimizing fixed costs and outsourcing whenever possible.
  • Do what you love. Be disciplined when accepting assignments. Only accept those that energize you and that you can do with grace.
  • Ask consultants tough questions. Scrutinize the value that consultants and coaches bring. Seek 10X returns.
  • Go for the 80%. Give everything an 80% effort, then hand it over to someone else to complete. Perfection wastes time and causes procrastination.
  • Avoid the office. Get out, meet people, and use electronic filing systems.
  • Learn content marketing. It shows value and differentiates you from the pack.
  • Be a lifelong learner: Ask yourself and others thought-provoking questions.
  • Leverage the power of the microchip. Always look for hacks to save time, money and become more efficient.
  • Spend more time with friends of the firm and less time working “on the business”.

Engaging in The Experience Transformer is a habit I adopted and will always keep. My friend and mentor, Dan Sullivan, who leads The Strategic Coach, often says that “successful entrepreneurs look at every experience in one of two ways: Either they see themselves winning, or they see themselves learning.”

It’s sage advice, and one anyone can adopt at any age. Regularly writing and tuning in has helped my business a great deal. In short: I’ve grown and succeeded and not repeated mistakes made in the past.