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.

Cheers,
Jaime

Life lesson: Connect with others!
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What inspires you?

Inspiration. It’s a beautiful thing but can be hard to come by sometimes. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Need inspiration? Look at nature.

Typically, I hit the ground running. Physical activity, especially in serene natural settings, does wonders for my creativity and mind (not to mention my health). Today, it was a candle-lit bubble bath with a great book. Delving into another world opened up my mind to blog topics and content marketing ideas. Other days, a quick meditation may do the trick.

Related reading: Need an Idea? Just Walk Away

So, what inspires you? Whether it’s an intriguing piece of art, an upbeat Zumba class or a person you hold dear, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Chime in and help inspire us all to greater things.

Humming the Rocky theme song,
Jaime

Feeling inspired? Let’s connect!
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Wilson: Friend, Confidant & Idea Man

As I’ve noted before, I like to get moving when I’m trying to think,  brainstorm or solve a problem. It just works for me and apparently I’m not alone, as I’ve seen this tactic cited in various business and news publications.

Related reading: Need an Idea? Just Walk Away…

Granted I’m an active person and sometimes need to dispel a little extra energy, so sitting behind a desk just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes I’ll hit the trails for a blood-pumping run or a quiet yet vigorous hike, where I’m always inspired by the sheer beauty of nature.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

The beauty of nature inspires me.

On other days, I’m content to take a brisk walk around my neighborhood, through the park, soaking up the sunshine, to get the ideas flowing. That’s when Wilson joins me.

Wilson -- my idea generator

Meet Wilson, my friend, confidant & idea man.

Wilson is my friend, confidant and idea man. I’ve hashed out many a good plan bouncing Wilson while traversing the streets of my neighborhood. I’ve made decisions, outlined blog posts and constructed marketing plans for clients with him by my side. For some reason, he inspires ideas within me. Perhaps it’s the added activity of bouncing the ball or the rhythmic feel of the worn, fuzzy surface hitting my hand. Whatever it is, it works.

Yes, Wilson is a pink, fuzzy tennis ball. On a whim, I picked up a tube of tennis balls on clearance at Target a few years ago. (Hence, the pink.) I don’t own a tennis racquet, so clearly that wasn’t the plan. I just knew when I looked at that tube on the shelf that I needed to take Wilson (and his bros) home. Who knew?

I’m curious… what unexpected item or situation sparks your genius? Are you a mover and shaker or do you like to meditate and chill out? Do you have a lucky charm that you always take to presentations or always drink the same tea while writing? Do you hit the cinema or catch a poetry reading when you need to crank up the old brain?

What inspires you?

Cheers,
Jaime

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How MacGyver Can Inspire Your Marketing Efforts

I wanted to be MacGyver when I grew up. [Who’s MacGyver?] Not Cinderella or Barbie or Sassette Smurfling (although living in the Smurf Village wouldn’t have been so bad.)

macgyver in action

MacGyver was always thinking, which inspired me to do the same.

Why? MacGyver was a thinker. He didn’t just shoot someone (didn’t even carry a gun in fact) or take the easy way out of a situation. He used logic. He stepped back, looked at a problem from all angles (even under extreme circumstances) and figured out a solution. That impressed me even at a young age.

MacGyver wasn’t flashy; he just went about his business of fixing things and saving people while living his life. The fact that he happened to get into shaky circumstances so often didn’t seem to phase him at all. I related to him as a thinker, an introvert, a problem solver.

Not everyone did though. For show and tell in second grade one week, we were supposed to talk about our favorite superhero. I was excited to talk about MacGyver: how cool he was, and how I wanted to be like him when I grew up. You know, a non-violent secret agent who has a scientific background and uses everyday items to solve major issues. Practical, right?

Anyway, I announced that my favorite hero was MacGyver, which my teacher promptly rebutted with, “MacGyver isn’t a superhero.” My response, “Why? Because he doesn’t wear tights?” My sarcasm was evident even as a seven-year-old.

MacGyver didn’t need tights or special powers, just a Swiss Army knife, encyclopedic knowledge and common sense.

Marketing professionals can learn a lot from this fictional character and utilize MacGyver’s ‘tools’ to succeed.

  • Knowledge is power. The more you know about your industry, organization, objectives and marketing will put you in a position to succeed.
  • Always be prepared. MacGyver carried his Swiss Army knife wherever he went just in case. What’s your Swiss Army knife? A master binder covering every detail of your event? Your company’s marketing plan? Your smartphone? Whatever it is, know where it is at all times.
  • Be flexible. Yes, you need to plan. But the best laid plans can change on a dime, and you need to adapt to your surroundings.
  • Solve problems. Sometimes we get so caught up in marketing, that we forget our primary goal is to solve a problem — our company’s, a client’s, a non-profit organization’s that we’re volunteering for. [I’d be remiss not to mention Jeff Bullas’ excellent post on this subject: Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing.]
  • Think. You have a brain; use it. Don’t overreact to every situation and try to ‘do’ your way out of it. No matter how crazy it seems, you have time to step back, look at a problem from all angles and come up with a solution. Use logic to fight (metaphorical) fires, and more often than not, you’ll put them out much quicker.
macgyver scaling a mountain

He may not wear tights, but he does scale mountains! Looks like a superhero to me.

See, MacGyver really is a superhero. As a marketing professional, you can use the same tools he did to succeed and be a hero to your clients, boss, business associates and colleagues.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s the go to ‘tool’ in your arsenal?

Do you agree with the tools I mentioned? What am I missing?

Did another character inspire you when you were growing up?

Chime in! I’d love to hear your thoughts on MacGyver, inspirational characters, the aforementioned ‘tools’ to succeed, marketing or whatever’s on your mind today.

Photos courtesy of the Richard Dean Anderson Website (Yep, that’s MacGyver.)
Video courtesy of the CBS Television YouTube Channel

Your marketing secret agent,
Jaime

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