Since venturing into speaking and writing about transforming leaders into servant leaders and corporations to become more human and socially-conscious, I’ve had to go through my own personal metamorphosis.

Every one of us, if we look deep within ourselves, can humbly acknowledge that we have blind spots — things that are no longer working and possibly holding us back from the life we want to live.

But how do you get “unstuck” from things, people, and places that no longer serve you and move forward with crystal clear direction?

To answer that question, the first step is gaining self-awareness; it’s defining your current reality and finding out why you keep hitting the same wall over and over. So let me ask you: what’s truly holding you back?

Once you understand that and start breaking free, I urge you to build up some mental and emotional armor around you as a way to safeguard your journey to the fulfilling life and work you imagine. Start with these seven life principles to propel you forward.

1. Be who you truly are.

How would you feel if, every day, you said what you meant, stayed true to yourself, and behaved in accordance with this? Imagine the happiness and self-respect you’d feel. Being true to yourself is far less stressful than being someone you are not. By being who you really are, you not only trust the judgments and decisions that you make, but others trust you as well. They’ll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.

2. Do the right thing, always.

When you’re honest and live in integrity, you don’t hesitate to do the right thing. You never have to second-guess yourself. Who you are, what you do, and what you believe in–all of these align perfectly.

3. Don’t ignore your problems.

Don’t procrastinate, avoid conflict, or sweep things under the rug. Be open and honest with yourself enough to admit the things you need to take care of. Then take the first step with courage by dealing with your problems quickly and head-on instead of neglecting them! (That’s the hardest part, but it’ll get easier from there.)

4. Be careful of what comes out of your mouth.

There’s an old saying from a wise leader that goes like this: “Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.” So much conflict, confusion and misunderstanding come from our words and what we communicate. So be wise and careful about what you speak: give sound advice, don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth, and always have the other person’s best interest in mind. When you do, you’ll get a lot more in return.

5. Absorb the knowledge of others.

Humbly accept and acknowledge that you don’t know everything. Along your journey to wholeness, you must view yourself as a small fish in the great big pond of life — seeking out connections and appointments from wise sages to learn to do great new things.

People who exercise patience have self-control and are slow to anger. So their conduct is steady, rational, and manageable. In the heat-of-the-moment, they seek to understand first before being understood. And they speak little — giving them a clear edge in communicating and diffusing someone else’s anger. That’s someone you can trust and depend on.

7. Have a mindset of giving.

The late Jim Rohn said, “Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” In The Go-Giver, the main character learns that changing his focus from getting to giving–putting others’ interests first and consistently adding value to their lives–ultimately leads to unexpected returns. Science also says giving makes us feel happy, is good for our health, and evokes gratitude. Lastly, giving isn’t restricted to money. Give of your time, mentor others, volunteer at a shelter, support a cause, sponsor a child, fight injustice, and have a pay-it-forward mindset.

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