Dear eleven-year-old Brian

What advice would you share with your eleven-year-old self? What would you want to say in a letter? Below is a letter to me, Brian, my eleven-year-old self.

Dear eleven-year-old Brian,

I’m writing to provide guidance, support, love, strength, and perspective as you navigate this precious journey called life. You will come to realize that there is no precise map, manual or GPS navigation system to travel the infrastructure of life’s roads. The road less traveled has no traffic lights, billboards, speed limits, exits or rest stops.

There will be times on your journey when you experience grief, pain, doubt, fear, and confusion. Understand you are never alone. The sun will always rise no matter how dark the previous night. The “trials of life, the struggle, trauma, disappointment, and pain becomes tools you need to build greatness.”

We as human beings tend to make our only opportunity at life more complicated than it needs to be; in the process distracting us from living our most authentic and best lives filled with intent, meaning, and purpose. When we put our notions of fortune, happiness, fame, and success aside and get to the core of our existence, it starts looking like this constant search and discovery to feel accepted, loved, valued and appreciated.

The hardest battle you will have to fight is to live in a world where every single day someone is trying to make you be a person you do not want to be. Other people’s expectations, opinions, and validation of you will consume a large part of your life. Be mindful and act immediately in controlling your destiny and taking back your life.

Before I go any further, I want to provide this truth… ”You are Enough.” Yes, you. You always will be. ”And I love you.” But along your journey, you will lose sight of who you are at times because the external world will relentlessly attempt each day you are alive to sell and tell you what you should or should not be. Always be kind and unconditionally loving to the reflection in the mirror and remain aware not to allow a negative thought to turn into a lengthy negative conversation.

Your number one job is to straighten out your own life. Before you lead others, you must wisely and earnestly lead yourself. Self-leadership is a daily action fueled by intention, courage, passion, discipline, and perseverance. Not a spontaneous, spur of the moment impulse. Life does not have dress rehearsals. The physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial habits you practice consciously or unconsciously every day either will move you forward or backward in creating the life you envision for yourself.

You will learn that the journey of life is about discovering and rediscovering who you are. Life is about reinventing yourself and turning your wounds into wisdom. Your 86,400 seconds of unique opportunity every day must consist of you looking within and venturing closer to uncovering the plethora of your vast potential.

The possessions you acquire will age and depreciate. Memories and serving others will last forever. Whichever field and career you pursue understand people need to know that they matter. They need to know what they do is noticed. They need to know their efforts, whatever they might be, are not in vain.

So as I begin to close this chapter in my world awareness tour and set to welcome a new chapter, I share with you secrets I have learned along the way while participating in the most precious and beautiful game ever called life.

  1. Each day you have two unique choices, you can choose to be happy or very happy. The best years of your life are in front of you.
  2. Things have a way of working out for the best.
  3. Live in the moment.
  4. Do not allow opportunities to pass you by, even if the time, funding and circumstances are not entirely right.
  5. Break the rules.
  6. Eat less, spend less, and give more.
  7. Make “no” a sentence.
  8. Say thank you to everyone and everything.
  9. Disconnect and disappear frequently.
  10. Think young.
  11. Falling is a part of life, getting back up is living. Inside every difficulty, there is a hidden opportunity.
  12. Avoid fake people, conversations, and their drama.
  13. Develop a “what’s next” growth mentality.
  14. Leave no regrets.
  15. Learning is a process that has no beginning, middle or conclusion. It is life itself. Unlearn to Learn. Undo to Do.
  16. Recognize advice is just an opinion.
  17. Rush but to do not hurry.
  18. Never lose sight of the journey and the bridges built from the sacrifice that brought you across.
  19. Nurture your creativity. Share your voice and become a compelling storyteller.
  20. Be true to your self.
  21. Give more than you take.
  22. Forgive others and yourself.
  23. Never underestimate the power of a kind word, touch or smile. People will always remember how you made them feel.
  24. Be a truth teller and true believer.
  25. Give something away every day.
  26. Always arrive bearing gifts.
  27. Be kind, gentle, giving, appreciative, understanding and lovable.
  28. Talent opens doors, but the strength of character keeps those doors open.
  29. View everyone as a teacher.
  30. Let go of hate, envy, greed, jealousy, ego, and criticism.
  31. Lead with enthusiasm and gratitude.
  32. Bring your most excellent self to life each day.
  33. Welcome and embrace change.
  34. Hold yourself to only one standard: to be the very best version of yourself.
  35. Do not take life too seriously. None of us are getting out of here alive.
  36. Value every second, minute, hour, day, month and year.
  37. Free yourself from other people’s rules, beliefs, assumptions, opinions, validations, and expectations.
  38. Dare to be great. Dare to dream the impossible dream.
  39. Let what you do be an expression of who you are.
  40. Surround yourself with as many extraordinary people as possible. Individuals who can help you tap into your own unique and unlimited potential for greatness.

Until next we meet, realize there will never be a perfect time on your journey to begin taking your life back. So start where you are, at this moment deconstructing your ecosystem, to rebuild a healthier and more vibrant physical, mental, emotional and spiritual world to live and prosper in, while never forgetting there is no finish line.

If it is to be, it is up to me!



Brian Nadon Chicago 2019
Always Smile Brian


  1. Dear Brian,
    The timing of this was perfect for me as I am getting for the first round of chemotherapy next week. If it is to be it’s up to me! I’ll remember this!!!
    Say hello to Ginger!
    Much love,
    Maryam from SF

    Liked by 1 person

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