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The two principles my Uber driver lives by

Published on 04/20/2022

I am writing this as I travel to Los Angeles to visit my daughter. The short ride to the Sarasota airport flew by thanks to an enjoyable conversation with my Uber driver, Nixon, a 50-something man with a ready smile and a zest for life.

Nixon told me about leaving his “very poor” native country, Haiti, in 2000, to seek a better life in the US. He has moved around and lived in many cities, but finally settled on Sarasota three years ago, enchanted by the amenities and warm people. We discovered partway through the ride that we both speak French, and quickly switched to this language, delighted for the opportunity.

When I asked Nixon how he felt about driving Uber, he told me he enjoys it and aims to clear $30 an hour, a goal made more difficult by current gas prices. He feels additional pressure to earn since his landlord recently raised his monthly rent from $1800 to $2400, driven by the huge jump in demand for housing (and the low supply) in these sunny climes.

Before moving to Sarasota, Nixon purchased a small house in Naples, Florida, which he has kept and now rents out. When I asked him if he increased the rent he charges for that house—and he could, as the market is just as crazy in Naples—he shook his head, “I wouldn’t do that to my renters.”

I was curious to learn how Nixon found the transition to the US, 22 years ago. He shared that upon his arrival here, he first stayed with his cousin in the Northeast, who told him the two things that will make him successful in this country.

These are the principles Nixon has adopted and lives by.

1. Work really hard.
2. Follow the laws.

So simple right?

This made me ponder what I’d say the principles are that I live by. Could I distill them down to two? I mean, I also believe in hard work and the rule of law. But are those the top principles that guide my life? After a lot of thought, over the last few days, here are the principles I’ve come up with:

1. Grow.
2. Give.

Let me explain…

I am all about personal growth. I am never “done.” I will continue to learn and evolve until my last breath. I am a seeker, an explorer. I push myself to live my best life, to show up authentically and bravely. I am curious about people and the world. I have more questions than answers. I am brilliant and flawed. I am a work in progress. 

And I am very conscious of my desire to give more than I take. To contribute beyond myself. To recognize my privilege and to be grateful for my good fortune, despite my personal struggles. To lift others and pay it forward. To demonstrate kindness and compassion.

That’s why my THRIVE Personal Growth Community is such a compelling labor of love for me. It allows me to bring my principles into lived reality, for myself and for other women 40+. It’s a safe space where I get to continue my own development as a human being, while helping other women design their best lives consciously and courageously. I feel honored to accompany these women on their journeys of exploration.

Your Turn: What are the top two principles YOU live by? Share them in the comments below!

HeleneTStelian Musing
I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE community, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.

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