This past September I hit a milestone – 40. I like these milestone years because they are easy to use as indicators of how far I’ve come. Unlike in your early years when milestones happen every few years, once we get into middle age and beyond, milestones are measured in decades.


I remember when I turned 30 and someone said to me, “Oh don’t worry, 30 is the new 20”. I responded “Oh dear God I hope not!”

It was a miracle I survived my 20s the first time. I was not about to try THAT again. I remember looking forward to my 30s and hoping they would be better than my 20s — and they were! I enjoyed my 30s. Having more money, a better career, and better friendships, I had a lot more wisdom and I was able to put it into practice to make my life better and more peaceful.

At 38, I got married. My happily ever after only began a few short years ago. With it came a new title – wife – and a new last name – Haagen (Story was so much better).

With it came another title – stepmom – and new responsibilities – stepmomming.

I look back over the last 10 years and am amazed by how far I’ve traveled and the person I’ve become. 30-year-old Kim only dreamed of the life that 40-year-old Kim has manifested.  

So when I’m asked, “how do you allow yourself to change, reinvent yourself at any age, and find and adjust to your next season?’ I have a few suggestions. 

First: Never Stop Learning

Each year I try to make it a point to read five new non-fiction books and attend one national or international conference. Ted Lasso says, “Be curious, not judgmental” and I think this is most important to remember as it applies to our thoughts. Keep that sense of curiosity. The world is changing and sometimes the old tried-and-true ways remain universal, and sometimes they need to be adapted. The older I get, the more I realize that no matter what industry you are in, what your goal is, professional or personal, listening skills are key. Whether you want to be a better parent, boss, friend, or salesperson, asking great questions is THE SKILL that will set you apart, help you to learn and grow, and keep you curious.

Second: One Step At A Time

I can never use the phrase “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step” too often. We often hide our fear behind excuses. “I can’t travel because I don’t have the money”. “I can’t change my career because I’ll lose everything I’ve gained”. “I can’t leave this toxic relationship because of our kids”.

“I can’t (achieve my dream life) because (I’ve created an excuse that is bigger than my dream)”

I’ve heard it broken down so many times by so many successful people that I can’t fit all the stories here, but one that stands out is a guy (who later became VERY successful in real estate) who was trying to sell his truck. He had never sold a car before. On the podcast I listened to he said, “I didn’t know how to sell a truck, but I could wash my vehicle.” Washing his vehicle led to taking pictures of it which led to posting the pictures which eventually led to selling the vehicle and accomplishing something he had never done before. So it is with EVERYTHING new, big, or scary – or all three. Don’t focus on the BIG things you CAN’T do. Focus first on the SMALL things you CAN do and then do that again and again and again until you have the life you want. 

Third: Create A Vision For Your Dream Life (and evaluate it annually)

You can’t have the life you want if you don’t know what kind of life you want. Creating a vision for your dream life is crucial if you want to PROACTIVELY get what you want instead of PASSIVELY accept whatever life throws your way. I like creating vision boards, but I also write out my goals each year in each of the following categories: finance, career, health, relationships, and travel. I update my accomplishments toward those goals weekly. I break the big goals (write an Amazon-bestselling book) into smaller pieces (finish this chapter) or (publish the damn book already). I create repeating, color-coded calendar events that dedicate space to the different goal areas, so that all the busyness of life NEVER interferes with my dreams. 

Fourth: Be Grateful and Enjoy The Ride

Every day there is something to be grateful for. Exuding gratitude is the FASTEST way to get what you want AND enjoy all the bumps and dips of the rollercoaster ride on the way. Don’t just be grateful when things go right. Be grateful when things go wrong. Gratitude is a muscle and it’s most important to use it when it’s hardest. If I’m grateful for EVERY step of the journey, then it becomes less difficult to “reinvent myself” and “adjust along the way”. Life doesn’t have to be hard. It’s meant to be enjoyed. I write in a gratitude journal regularly and sometimes I even write down that I’m thankful for something BEFORE it happens, as if IT’S ALREADY HAPPENED! I call that Gratitude 2.0. This is where gratitude becomes FUN. “I’m so grateful my first book became an Amazon bestseller!” Think of all the possibilities!

Your dream life is here! Never stop learning, take it a step at a time, create a vision for your dream life, and be grateful for everything that has happened – or will happen – and life becomes the adventure it was always meant to be! Stay fabulous!

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