33 Lessons in 33 Years

I recently came across a fun post, 32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life. The timing was perfect as I was pondering what to post about on my birthday (Yep, Pisces here.), and I had actually been toying with the idea of this type of post.

I hope you find these short lessons useful, and please feel free to chime in with your own at the end. So, here goes… lessons I’ve learned from 33 years of living:

1. You’re only as good as your word. Don’t break it. (Read: If You Say You’re Going To Do Something, Do It!)

2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

kicking toward the finish line

Running makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your favorite activity?

3. Own your decisions. You are responsible for you — not anyone else.

4. Pay it forward. Karma has a way of reciprocating. You’ll  benefit more than those you help anyway. Trust me.

5. Make time for you. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary to recharge and be at your best.

6. Some “vices” are OK. If you really enjoy something, do it (unless it harms others).

7. Pay attention. You’ll learn so much by being observant, in business and in life.

8. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present. It’s the best show there is. If you’re constantly reliving things or worrying about future events, you’ll miss a lot of wonderful moments.

9. Learn to give — and receive — constructive criticism. (“This is terrible” or “you’re stupid” is not constructive.)

10. Listen, listen, listen. It will take you far in life.

11. Follow your gut. It’s your instinct for a reason.

12. Try new things — foods, adventures, travels. You never know what you’ll fall in love with. (Like ice skating, for me.)

ice skating

Snow, wind & ice. Lots of ice. Enjoying some time on the pond — the best part of winter.

13. Respect your values and beliefs. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s OK to walk away. (Read: Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?)

14. An interview is a two-way conversation about an opportunity. Relax.

15. The devil IS in the details. Handle those and the rest will follow.

16. Do something special for yourself monthly, or more often if you can. Because you’re worth it. (Thanks, L’Oreal.)

17. Don’t project your bad day outward. Just because you’re in a bad mood, everyone else doesn’t have to be.

18. Social media’s great, but get social in real life too. (Read: Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL)

19. Embrace the mundane. It’s 80% of life. (Listen: This is Water, David Foster Wallace)

20. If you feel like getting dressed up to go to the store, go for it. Likewise, if you head out in workout gear, it’s no big deal. Life doesn’t hinge on what you’re wearing. (Granted, there are occasions where your dress is dictated by the occasion. Embrace it.)

21. Sometimes, you can buy happiness. Just don’t try it all the time.

22. Value those close to you. Don’t take them for granted, because some day they won’t be there.

Color Run Akron 2013

My sister-in-law, brother & I after Color Run Akron.

23. Make the extra effort. It usually pays off — even if no one’s watching.

24. Have a strong handshake, a genuine smile and a killer pair of earrings. (Gentlemen, I hear cuff links produce the same effect.)

25. Laugh a lot. It’s the best medicine, and you don’t need a prescription.

Yours truly, enjoying the moment

Yours truly, enjoying the moment.

26. Don’t waste too much time worrying. It really doesn’t change things.

27. Think through major decisions but don’t be afraid to act. Indecision can be paralyzing and leave you watching from the sidelines.

28. Be impulsive every once in awhile. Do something crazy at least once in your life.

29. Celebrate birthdays. Age brings wisdom and life experience. Appreciate them.

30. Think — every single day. It never goes out of style.

31. Listen to your body. It’s amazing what it can tell you.

32. “Never being satisfied” makes a great motivational poster but leaves you feeling empty inside. Always wanting more can leave you broke and alone. Enjoy your achievements and appreciate what you have. Remember, perfection is unattainable.  (Read: What’s your riddle?)

33. Be genuine in everything you do. It’s easier in the long run, and people will appreciate you for it. Eventually, you’ll even find people who like you for who you are.

“And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…”  –Lester Burnham, American Beauty

stick em up!

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

I’ve never really grown up (vertically challenged here), but I have learned a lot. Like a good hat can make up for just about anything, even a really crappy day.

Share Your Lessons

What lesson(s) have you learned?

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? Do you disagree with any?

Maybe we can all learn to navigate this crazy thing we call life a little better.


Life lesson: Connect with others!
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Jumping Off A Cliff: My 1st Year As An Entrepreneur

A year ago today, I took a deep breath and jumped off a cliff. Figuratively speaking, anyway. I left my job in corporate America to start my own business.

A year ago today, I walked away from familiarity and security toward an unknown and exciting horizon. What a ride.

A year ago today, I walked away from familiarity and security toward an unknown and exciting horizon. What a ride.

I was terrified and excited, overwhelmed yet satisfied with my decision, completely burnt out but eagerly looking toward my future. In some ways, it’s been better than I expected. In other ways, I had no idea. Would I do it again 12 months later? In a heartbeat.

Venturing out on my own has taught -- and continues to teach -- me to focus on what's important.

Venturing out on my own has taught me — and continues to teach me — to focus on what’s important.

I’ve grown so much as a person and as a business owner even though there’s still so much to learn. I’ve experienced the highest of highs (tremendous opportunities) only to dip into the lowest of lows (major health insurance issues) days later. I love roller coasters, but this has been the craziest ride of my life.

While I continue to learn new things about myself, some things have become even more clear. I love to help people. Whether it’s donating platelets, helping a friend or writing copy for marketing collateral, it makes me smile. It pulls me out of bed in the morning (preferably not too early though) and gets me amped about the day.

My pride and joy, hopes and dreams. I'd love to work with you!

My pride and joy, hopes and dreams. I’d love to work with you!

That’s how it all started. Clearly Conveyed Communications. The name, the focus, the mission. Because my goal is to help others communicate. It sounds simple enough but is surprisingly difficult to do. We live in a 24/7 hyper-competitive world, so it’s tough to stand out.

Whether it’s writing copy that sells, creating marketing that brings opportunities, managing social media that sizzles or cultivating your personal brand to help you stand out and move up, I love it.

I have so much respect for others who have made this jump — successful or not. I’ve learned so much about myself and experienced so many situations because I stepped outside of my comfort zone; I’ll never regret it. No matter what happens going forward, I made the right move.

trail running

I love the outdoors. All of it, even the mud.

I’ve rediscovered who I am. I’ve reconnected with nature. I run on the local metro park’s trails and walk errands and hike to see the beauty. I’m eating cleaner and healthier than I ever have. I cut cable and read even more (certified bookworm here) and finally stopped to smell the roses (or espresso beans, whatever your pleasure).

My point is: love what you’re doing. Enjoy your life and do everything in your power to do what you love and love what you do.

I’m not a motivational speaker (a little too sarcastic) and am certainly not stepping on a soapbox anytime soon. I’m here because I’ve failed and failed and failed again. But I kept pursuing my dreams and I still am today. I’m not there yet but I’m on a much better path than I was 365 days ago.

Oh, and I’d love to work with you. Really, I would. Because I love what I do.

Photos via my Instagram account

Have faith in yourself,

p.s. If you’re new to the CCC website, come back soon and visit our Facebook page too.  We’re going to be running a few contests to celebrate our first year of existence.

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How Ben Affleck’s Story Carried Argo to a Best Picture Oscar (And What We Can Learn From It)

Argo_Best Picture

When Argo won Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, I was thrilled. Don’t get me wrong; there was some stiff competition in the category, and I was impressed by some of the challengers, most notably LINCOLN. However, it was interesting to watch how Ben Affleck’s Best Director snub by the Academy became a leading story, how the actor handled it, and ultimately, how it helped push Argo to the forefront of the Best Picture discussion. And of course, how we can all learn from it.

Ben Affleck has been in Hollywood a long time, bursting onto the scene with his pal Matt Damon while winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1998. As he noted in this year’s rambling, heartfelt acceptance speech,

“I was here years ago or something. I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all… really just a kid.”

Despite this initial success, Affleck continued to seek out and learn from others in the industry while honing his craft. He thanked the “… so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood.” We can all continue to learn every day, no matter how many years of experience we’ve accumulated or success we’ve achieved. Appreciate those who have contributed and continue to contribute to your career. 

In addition to learning every day, perseverance is key.

“It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you gotta get up.”
-Ben Affleck

We all need to learn to persevere because things won’t always go as planned. There are a lot of potholes, detours and speed bumps on this road we call life.

Along with his perseverance, one of the qualities throughout the entire process that drew people to this story was Affleck’s humility. He didn’t respond angrily when the Academy snubbed him of a Best Director nod; he only spoke of the deserving directors who were recognized. This was a big reason why the press and social media picked up the story and brought Argo back to the forefront of the Best Picture race. People empathized with Affleck, spoke positively about him and rooted for his movie.

When you are humble, it goes a long way to connecting with others and forming meaningful relationships — in business and in life. 

So there you have it — continued learning, perseverance to his craft and humility along the way; three reasons that Ben Affleck has achieved success and his personal story helped carry his film to the forefront of the Best Picture discussion. The same three qualities that can help carry you in business and in life. If you missed Affleck’s heartfelt speech (or just want to watch it again), enjoy!

What do you think?

Did Ben Affleck’s personal story help carry Argo to a Best Picture win? What are other examples of the press and/or social media bringing an issue to everyone’s attention and affecting an outcome? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

photo credit: Disney ABC Television Group

Jaime, amateur de cinéma

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