I was raised with the belief that a good man is a lifelong learner. He is one who admits his mistakes, growing stronger from experience and adversity. In my pursuit to be a lifelong learner, a reoccurring mantra is “Man up.” Here is what I mean: You are what you are and the sooner you stop hating what makes you unique and start celebrating it, the better your life will be.

Make this year your year. Set goals, accomplish dreams, fall in love, and live the life you were meant to live — just don’t ignore the lessons along the way. TV personality Ross Matthews said it perfectly — “One thing I’ve learned about life is that no one gets through it unscathed. You can’t control much of anything. The only thing you can hope to control is how you react to situations.”

Character makes you stand out from the crowd. Shakespeare said, “Honor is the gift a man gives himself. True nobility is exempt from fear.” Aspire to live your life governed by the virtues will and grace. You need willfulness to carve your life. A man lives intentionally: a man has plans. What do you want to accomplish? Your goals don’t have to be high-minded or expensive; they just have to be yours. A man has to chase. And the grace? Well you need that when you’re thwarted by your limitations or by the great uncooperative nature of the world. Grace allows a man to be humble when he ought to be, and to remember how it felt to be small. This isn’t the dress rehearsal, this is your life. Yeah, this. Right now. There’s no time for napping.

How will you react? Are you doomed to repeat the mistakes of your past or will you “Man up” and finally grow into your full potential? What haunts you – maybe its time to face it head on, conquer it, and take the lesson from it. And if you fail? Then you fail. Get up and try again. Keep going until you succeed.

Be open, honest and truly authentic with yourself. Dig down and find your deepest fears (Losing connection with others? Not being trusted? Failure?) Identify how these fears drive your behavior and have held you back from truly living. Once you’ve identified what has held you back, declare new goals and objectives. Begin by making one small promise toward your new goal, and keep that promise everyday until you are ready to make another.

Whatever you set out to accomplish, look good doing it. You may not reach the desired goal, but never compromise what you set out to do. When you “Man up,” your potential is limitless and the rewards just keep on coming.

Need advice? Email askmrmanners@qsaltlake.com

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