One of my favorite mentors once told me that the key to staying sharp was to "always be coaching." He meant that the process of being coached, and actively coaching someone else, was the practice field for constant learning and improvement.  The top highlights from listening to a mentor and helping shape the perspective of others can cause gems of advice to keep rising to the top. It is as if you could live to 90 and use that wisdom to advise your younger self on life - to know exactly what was truly important and what wasn't. Here is the coaching advice that I have never forgotten, and you should take to heart, too.

  1. Let mistakes go and focus on the next shot. Learn how to reset and recalibrate when your effort falls short or misses the mark. Recognize the disappointment, but let the mistakes go and start with a clean slate on the next effort. Don't let the missed shot cause you to miss three more. Mistakes are part of becoming exceptional. No one can be successful without mistakes; just be sure to put each of them in proper context.
  2. Make a commitment and stick to it. Few things are as powerful as being passionate and clear about what you want to achieve. A commitment to what you want to create, build, or enable is the force that powers amazing outcomes! Additionally, it is grit, resilience, endurance, and persistence to that commitment that brings it to life.
  3. Extraordinary isn't average. By definition, most people don't go the extra mile, as they are average. Go beyond where most people stop because anything worth doing is worth doing at the highest level. Finding a better way is both your duty and very possibly the key to being extraordinary.
  4. Ask: What's the gift in the setback? Discomfort, setbacks, errors, disruption, and adversity can feel like indictments of your abilities and to be avoided at all costs. But try to see every setback as a gift and search hard within the discomfort to find how you can use it to get better in a big way.
  5. Have and invest in strong relationships. The quality of your relationships is the best predictor of future health. Who would you call in the middle of the night if you were sick or scared? Some people can't list anyone. Who would you call? Having people on that list gives you a sense of comfort and safety that goes a long way toward living your best life.
  6. Embrace and enjoy the now. Don't get so wrapped up in the past or the future. Enjoy and appreciate the now rather than becoming preoccupied with what's next! Avoid the trap of thinking I will be happy when I get that house, promotion, or title. Find happiness and meaning now; it is there to be enjoyed.
  7. Wanting people to like you is the most selfish thing you can do. Wanting people to like you is all about you and not about what you're passionate about, what you want to create, the difference you want to make, or the problems you want to solve. Don't get lost in trying to please people and be what they want you to be. Instead, be who you were meant to be - and you already know who that is.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever given? What about received?