Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Tumultuous Year

I am not a big fan of looking back at a year and reminiscing about all the things that happened. This time of year the "year in review" shows pop up and you cannot seem to get away from them.

One thing I think is a good use of time is reflecting on a year and picking out the lessons learned that can help make the next year better, more fruitful and a step ahead of the past. After all, based on 2009 and all that transpired, are there not a ton of lessons that can be taken away and built upon?

From my own personal stash box of experience this year I can legitimately say there are many takeaways that I know I can learn from and build upon....

Even before numero uno family and friends are the MOST valuable piece of your life. No matter how bad things get, if you have a loving family and loyal friends, you are wealthy.

1. Nothing is guaranteed. I do not care how much you think something will happen - for better or worse - do not consider done until it is indeed done.

2. Never assume the big talk equals big results. This year has been a real eye opener as it relates to people, how they communicate and how they actually deliver. Many big talkers, few doers. This is no revelation, but I think the economy and desire for many to "be the story" has influenced big talk, even when there is no execution to support it. The result; lots of people/companies that do not want to face the truth as it relates to a poor year for many, thus misguided action, strategy and burnt relationships.

3. Take the time to learn. Do not stop. No matter how secure you think you are in your little piece of the universe, others are chomping at the bit to challenge you, test you, compete and win. This is a good thing! Yes, competition is a good thing. It helps you keep your claws sharp and mind on the goal.

4. Fiscal conservatism is the new wealth. Flashy debt is the new welfare.

5. Stay focused, do not jump around the market hoping to get that one deal. Focus pays off time and time again, even in a crappy economy.

6. Especially in the digital marketing vertical, there are a lot of flakes. Don't get lazy and become a flake, and you will succeed. Even in a bad economy, customers still appreciate those that deliver. Customers still ditch those that don't. Deliver on your commitments and you will be appreciated and shared.

Last, but definitely not least, no matter how ridiculous our politicians behave, no matter how crazy our world becomes, you have a sphere of influence and you have the ability to positively impact those around you. In personal life and professional life, act ethically, work hard and do what you think is right and you will fair well.

Have a great Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, and good luck in 2010.

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