Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to Being 50 . . .
Life Lessons and Random Crap I Learned in My Half Century!
By Leslie Sturgeon, Women Inspiring Women Founder
Last week I shared with you some of the things I have learned on my way to turning 50. This is the final part and a downloadable PDF of the entire blog is available here.
- If you own a business, people won’t flock to you just because your doors are open. Spend as much time marketing your business as you do dilly-dallying around in it. There will be no business if you don’t market.
- Speaking of business, just because someone is breathing and has a pulse does not mean they are your client. Don’t expect your family and friends to be your clients either. Remember that it is more cost effective to market to existing clients, too. Make sure they know all the services you offer and all the ways you can assist them.
- You don’t have to have an MBA to start a business, you have to have hutzpah. All your ducks don’t have to be in a row to start either and you don’t necessarily need to know the destination as the journey is so much fun, especially as one door opens and then another.
- Say NO to partnerships. Develop joint venture partners or collaborators instead. Be mindful of people who want to ride your coattails as they will come out of the woodwork the more successful you become. Every Tom, Dick, Harry and Susan will be inviting you “for coffee” and don’t hesitate to ask them why. Coffee is great but you don’t have time to enjoy it with everyone, especially those with their own agendas!
- For the love of God, please RSVP and do it timely. Don’t be a host’s or event planner’s worst nightmare. You might not realize it, but sometimes there is a lot of money at stake and those early responses are critical. Think of an event or party you hosted and how frustrating it was when people didn’t respond. Sucks doesn’t it? Don’t be that person.
- Be compassionate and understanding. Oftentimes things are just misunderstood . . . you see someone who is rude, maybe they are having a bad day for whatever reason. Someone who appears aggressive may just be really insecure. You get the point!
- Mentors are everywhere. If there is someone you admire, ask for a few minutes of their time to ask your burning questions. If it is someone on a national or international “stage,” then read about them, observe them and follow their example. Don’t seek advice from people who aren’t as successful as you or headed where you are headed (although there are valuable lessons everywhere, even what not to do!). And they also say that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose your friends carefully.
- Feel the fear and do it anywhere – always have something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and causes a knot in your stomach.
- It is great to have opinions, but don’t spout off unless you are willing to put some elbow grease behind those opinions (basically don’t sit home and judge/spew unless you are ready to put your money where your mouth is). Don’t like our government? Run for office. Don’t like this, that and the other thing . . . get your butt in gear to change it. One person can make a difference and don’t sit around waiting for others to do it. Armchair quarterbacking is not becoming!
- Social media is great but don’t spend all your time observing other people’s lives and not living your own. Don’t get sucked into the heated discussions or start feeling “less than” when you see others going on about their lives (things are often different than they appear).
- Have a firm handshake.
- Be the most positive person you know (and always have a consistent mood).
- Success breeds contempt. The more successful you are and the more evolved you become as a person, the less people will like you. Bid them a fond farewell, be thankful for the good times and the mark they left on your heart, and move on. Don’t harbor any ill will as the problem is all theirs and not yours. If you find yourself being jealous of others, ask yourself why and maybe use that as a motivator.
- Be resilient and trust in yourself that you can weather any storm. Because you can!
- Reflect on your past with gratitude that it made you who you are vs. a victim mentality. We obviously cannot change the past, so accept it, celebrate it, move on.
- Before you head out for a meeting or appointment, confirm it! What a waste of your valuable time should you arrive to find out there was a misunderstanding in the schedule.
- Don’t participate in other people’s drama and make your life a grudge-free zone.
- Be aware of signs, clues and opportunities – they are everywhere.
- It’s okay to dance around your house if you want. Dancing isn’t reserved for the dance floor or date night.
- Many friends have expressed to me over the years the importance of deep breathing several times throughout the day. I finally do it and it works. Try it. Right now – breath in for 5, exhale for 5. Ahh, relaxation.
- You are your only competition . . . I like to have an awareness of what is going on around me, especially with businesses. I like to study the good, bad and ugly ones across all industries. I learn from them and use them for inspiration. I do not, however, pay any attention to what others are doing who are in my line of work. Watching them or concerning myself with them just takes precious time away from building my own business. Think about a marathon – if you are turning to your right or left or even glancing over your shoulder at what others are doing, it keeps you from moving forward with speed and clarity. The same is true with careers and businesses. I am my biggest competitor and I constantly try to “one up” myself (it is actually kind of fun to figure out how to raise the bar).
- Fifteen minutes can be a very powerful thing! I like to chunk my work down into 15 or 30 minute increments. It then becomes a game for me to see what I can accomplish during that time. Have 15 minutes before you need to head to an appointment? See how many emails you can respond to in that time. Feel you can’t start a big project or it seems so overwhelming that you just don’t get started? Do a massive brain dump for 15 minutes and organize your thoughts or tasks, do an outline of the project. If you manage your time wisely, you should have several 15-minute windows in which to take strategic and massive action. It also creates momentum.
- Plan ahead and always write down your tasks. Plan your meals in advance as well as your schedule, outfits, etc. Review it weekly, daily, hourly. Try your best to be organized and efficient. Try to batch tasks, errands, meetings and appointments to leverage your time.
- Use your drive time wisely. Listen to personal development podcasts, make copious notes about an upcoming project or marketing idea, do that all-important brain dump, or just sit in silence and clear your head. I will often head out for an appointment with an agenda of what I am going to accomplish during my drive time. For me, it is often where my creative juices get flowing. In fact, I have come up with some of my most brilliant ideas on I-93 South from the Lakes Region to Manchester.
- Also, you spend a lot of time in the car. Drive something that is comfortable and brings you joy.
- Don’t be a martyr especially when it comes to taking medication. If you need meds for anything, take them.
- Christmas is great but it is so over the top. Consider giving gifts throughout the year instead. Who doesn’t like an unexpected gift just because? And it doesn’t get set aside in the yuletide craziness.
- As it says in the Serenity Prayer, accept the things you cannot control. We get our knickers in a twist when things don’t go our way – such as it rained on our BBQ. We can’t control the weather so suck it up. Or, because you are 100% responsible for your actions and reactions, move to San Diego where the sun shines nearly every day. Please be mindful of complaining if there is nothing you can do about it and remember that you don’t need a dog in every fight. Ask yourself “will this matter in 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years.”
- Don’t send an email and assume it got to its intended person. Sometimes it just goes down a dark hole for a multitude of reasons. If you send an important email and you get no response, it may just be that the person didn’t get it. Follow up. Don’t take things at face value because shit happens occasionally!
- Enjoy the journey. Really take in everything that is happening around you. Rather than be upset that you are aging, embrace where you are at because it is pretty awesome to be alive. Be grateful and show it in everything you do. Know that your destiny is in your hands (I know, everyone preaches that, but it is true). Rather than rushing through life, settle down and take it all in. Enjoy it or change it!
- Give credit where credit is due. I would not have made it to 50 and would not have all these life experiences, lessons, good times, sad times, laughs and smiles without the people in my life. It takes a village – truly. And I am profoundly appreciative to be loved and supported (and occasionally challenged) for all of my 50 years
Cheers to you and may your years be freakin’ awesome, too! Xoxo
Leslie Sturgeon is the founder of Women Inspiring Women and a lifelong entrepreneur. She embraces her imperfections while learning about herself and others, supporting the fabulous women in the WIW community, journeying through life with optimism, and laughing so hard she snorts or pees (sometimes both simultaneously). www.womeninspiring.com