Lessons Learned This Birthday

birthday candles

Today is my birthday. Another year lived, and what a year it has been.

Components of my life have changed dramatically – my home, my career, my headspace…I guess you can say, I’ve grown up. While I will always be the girl who gets excited over a cupcake, daydreams of ballerina twirls, wears her heart on her sleeve and believes that romantic, earth moving, unconditional love exists, I am also a woman who has made mistakes, wasted tears, held back due to fears but, fortunately, learned a lot during the ride.

Today, I look back on my year, and would like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

On work:

You can create your destiny. Determine and visualize where you want to be first and foremost as after, you can discover the steps needed to get there.

Calmness is an acquired skill. Train yourself to handle the most intense situations with a calm, cool and collected demeanor which others will find reassuring and comforting.

Confidence cannot be faked. It’s energy. What’s worse is if you are insecure about the value you provide and try to overcompensate by loud theatrics, unnecessary comments or go off on a tangent.

If you are on the agency/vendor side – NEVER get too comfortable. Remember, your relationship is business first and foremost. Dress appropriately and when in doubt, wear an undershirt. I am your client and do not want to see your hairy chest during a pitch.

Balance. Doesn’t matter how busy or important you are, if you don’t get some proper “me” time and balance – your work, productivity, output, relationships and efficiency will suffer in the long run.

Dress the part, act the part, talk the part, walk the part, be the part.

“Complaining is not a winning strategy”. Come with solutions and options, weigh the pros and cons of each. Move forward.

A lesson I learned while working at DDB and with my current company. Mediocrity or simply “good” is not enough. Strive for greatness. If you cannot say that you’re proud of what you’ve produced, then don’t bother.

If it’s your profession, do not be afraid to ask for compensation for your services, ideas or expertise. Your time is money, don’t just give it to anyone.

There is a difference between being aggressive and assertive. As a woman, don’t overcompensate for your insecurity or fear by acting aggressive and bitchy. Be assertive – know your value, ask for what you want and have the data to back up your requests.

Always be prepared to pitch.

When I’m about to get emotional or take something personally over a work situation, I take a pause and ask, “What would a man do in this situation?” It helps me remove the sensitivity, hormones and unnecessary drama to move forward.

On Friends:

Your community is a key pillar in your joy, empowerment and happiness. Be open, share, give, contribute, bring value and appreciate.

Don’t be the chick who disappears off the face of the earth once you have a boyfriend. It’s lame, it’s old and quality friends don’t deserve that.

If you always come to the table thinking of what you can do to give and to make the other person happy, you will always win. The ones who are takers and who don’t add value to your life will eventually weed out.

As you grow, you can also grow out of your friendships. People change and grow apart, that’s just a fact of life. Don’t feel guilt or do things out of obligation because of that.

Make effort. Invest in your relationships with key friends.

On Love and Men…

“The most important relationship is the one with yourself.” Work on yourself, learn, grow, and once you are at a place of contentment and self love, that is when you truly ready to create love with another. No one can fix you, at least not for long.

Have standards, not expectations. Standards is a level of quality, respect and value exchange that are non- negotiables. You deserve to be treated the way you treat others. Expectations are the check list of unrealistic ideals and demands which is often rooted in a sense of entitlement.

Likes likes like. You like people because they resemble the parts you like about yourself. You also dislike people for this very reason. Who you are drawn to and draw in, are thus entirely due to your own energy.

Know your needs, values and non-negotiables. If there is a conflict of what needs can and cannot be fulfilled, it’s best to be honest and address it earlier than later. You have three options, one person changes, you accept the situation entirely for what it is, or you remove yourself from the situation.

Do what you say. Say what you mean.

Don’t ever take each other for granted. That’s giving up. Always try.

Know your language of love and what your partner’s language of love is. You can make effort to show your love in the language they understand (quality time, physical touch, acts of service, gifts and words of affirmation).

You allow people to treat you the way they do.

Show compassion.

Relationships don’t go on cruise control. They need constant attention, care and effort. Whether this means dates, surprises, spontaneity or taking up a hobby to grow together, find ways to keep it exciting.

Always want the best for your partner and wish happiness for them. Even if this means at times you have to compromise, watch a movie you don’t want to or be patient with your needs.

Guys – when a girl is upset, insecure or just needing attention, sometimes all she really wants is a huge hug that tells her everything is going to be okay and reassurance of your feelings and support.

Every real man, has a plan. Have faith.

On Feeling Empowered

Make an effort on your presentation. Laziness is not an excuse.

Be thankful everyday and share your feelings of gratitude with people the people who touch your life.

Give. Engage in random acts of kindness. Help people. Be kind and generous without expecting anything in return. Karma will come back to you ten fold.

Have a clean home and tidy desk.

Seek the goodness in others. People will become what you expect of them.

Do thoughtful things that will make others happy. Happiness is contagious.

Photo credit: Aih.

13 Comments

  • Reply July 3, 2010

    Audrey

    Happy Birthday Amy. I’d say you have had a HUGE year of wonder and discovery. Here’s to many more years filled with the Magic of Life!

  • Reply October 14, 2010

    Jenn

    Your quotes, facts of life, life experiences, are all very inspiring. You make readers like me look at the world differently, think differently, and it makes me become more of an open minded person. All your thoughts shared can really change a person perspective on life….in a good way. Thank you.

    -Jenn

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