I celebrated my 41st birthday earlier this year — I can’t believe I’ve been on this spinning rock for 41 years.

I’ve seen the advent of the internet, the hybrid, the death of the 2D Saturday morning cartoon (where are thou Captain Caveman), the golden age of anime (Robotech was the best), and mobile phones going from a bag with a brick in it to a handheld device that has more horsepower than the first computer I ever used.

There are a couple things I miss about my youth; one of them is having access to and playing the piano (I was classically trained but haven’t played in years).

Learning “All of Me” by Jon Schmidt/The Piano Guys is on my bucket list.

The other is being able to do nearly anything I wanted physically. There was a day in time that I could get out of the car, put on my golf shoes, and hit a full golf shot without a thought. If I did that today I think my spleen would shoot out of my a#$!

In the last 10 years I’m so thankful to have met some amazing people and learned plenty of things…here are 3.

All Calories Are NOT Created Equal
10 years ago I ate smart (or at least I thought I did) but had no idea what a GMO was. I ate low fat and stayed away from butter — now I put it in my coffee. I ate a salad almost every day, but slathered it (and everything else) in ranch dressing. Hmmm…I guess I didn’t eat smart. Now I do.

Leadership is About Service, Not About Being Served
I used to think that when I rose through the ranks of whatever organization I was with I would be the type of leader that could make a room snap to and everyone there would tremble with reverence. I’ve been led by someone like that and — it sucked — and that began my lesson about what real leadership looked like. I’ve had the pleasure of being led by some great men and mentors and as I look back they had a servant’s heart — while they led me, it was always about what they could do to help me succeed.

Leadership is About Service, Not About Being Served

Learn to Sell and You Will ALWAYS Have a Job
At 31 I couldn’t sell water to a man coming out of the desert. I thought I knew everything, didn’t listen, and made those who I needed to persuade feel dumb if they didn’t get the service or good I was trying to sell. Now, I’m not saying I’m a rainmaker (more like Rain Man), but I can present an idea (product or service), educate someone and ask the right questions. I still have a ways to go, but it’s much mo’ better.

Three things — not related, but important to why I am a different man at 41 than I was at 31.

michael aldea go left marketing imageJan Michael Aldea is a jack of all trades finally making good at being well rounded. His background in marketing, consulting, business coaching & training, real estate, fitness, parenthood, marriage, and life makes Michael ill equipped to be in a cubicle, but very equipped to help transform people and companies one (sometimes humorously awkward) step at a time. He is the president and director of business development for Go Left Marketing based out of Charlotte, NC.

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