Yes, today is my birthday. As I sit here reflecting upon the years gone by and realize I now have less years ahead of me than behind, I am even more grateful. Grateful for the past that has brought me to this day and grateful for the future that is determined by both my past and present.
Today is all you have. You can certainly hope that there will be a tomorrow, but truly, there are no guarantees.
At this very moment, while you are reading this post and planning your day, week or month — just remember, you really only have today.
I’m a planner and am constantly thinking of the “what’s next” in my life. But lately, I’ve started to appreciate the “now.” The times I’m able to spend with my husband, my family, my friends. What else have I learned?
No one else is a worse critic of you than you.
Don’t obsess over what you don’t have, what you can’t do, or your low Klout score. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has their Achilles heel, their own Kryptonite that steals their strength and makes them vulnerable. For the most part, I know what mine is and on the days when it’s tempting to dwell on my shortcomings, I overcome by focusing completely on someone else and celebrating their success.
Trying to hang with the cool kids is a zero sum game.
On the surface, it may seem like a Really Big Deal to call someone who is in the “up and coming” crowd a “friend.” But what’s really going on?
It’s all a facade.
People try to feel more important by thinking some other successful person’s glitter will rub off and meanwhile, the person who is all glittery secretly wonders if anyone would notice them if their blog wasn’t being quoted by Copyblogger. Shoot for intimacy and real friendship. A true friend encourages you, celebrates your success (not sabotages it), and cheers you on toward the finish line. I am extremely blessed to have such people in my life, more than I deserve, I know. To me, they are the true “cool kids.”
People you work with are usually not your friends.
Again, I am focusing on this because throughout my life, I have called many my friends, although in reality, they’ve probably been more like fond acquaintances. Friendship is a safety net. It provides a place of security and strength for when life gets tough. Friends also care about you and want the best for you. This doesn’t usually happen within a work environment. No matter how friendly things are at work, the true test of whether someone is a friend or not is how they respond when you ask for something.
Workplaces are places where work is done. There is a definite feeling of satisfaction when you work with someone to reach a common goal, but don’t sacrifice your time with your real friends for such utilitarian purposes. Make time to be with those who really love you.
If you are married, cherish your spouse. If you are a parent, cherish your kids.
I don’t talk too often about my husband, but Mickey is my anchor. He is my lighthouse, helping me avoid treacherous shores filled with jagged rocks so I can sail smoothly into a safe harbor. I’ve noticed something over the years. Many times, an ambitious person will set their career goals high above all else. Everything in life is sacrificed to reach those goals, including time spent with their family. Often, there is an assumption that “my family will always be there for me.”
Yet the person is never there for their family. There have been many times when I’ve been busy with trying to reach my own career goals but realize I have to take a break every once in a while and connect with my husband. I can’t stress enough how important this is.
Not only does it give me a break from concentrating so hard on a particular task, but it rejuvenates me as I remember why I’m doing this. My reason for pursuing copywriting and marketing isn’t just to help my clients, but it’s to give me the freedom to enjoy time spent with my husband. It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re doing what you love to do. But don’t forget why you’re doing it. I’ve learned to step away from the keyboard on more than one occasion to celebrate this wonderful man God gave me to call my beloved.
Don’t give too much of yourself away.
When you love to do something, it’s so easy to give it away, especially to your friends and family. However, if it’s something you’re doing as a livelihood, you’ll end up in the poor-house. Before you know it, you’re doing it for your friend’s co-worker’s nephew for free.
For years, my father chided me for “giving away too much for free.” He was right. For those involved in digital marketing, we understand the importance (and necessity) of sharing free content through our websites. It can generate business.
But when it comes to performing your own brand of genius…
Don’t do it without getting paid for it!
I know my worth and what I can do to help you succeed. There will always be people who try to get something for nothing. Resist the temptation to give away your expertise. Charge what it’s worth. I know I’ve put in countless hours of research and testing to be where I am. People pay experts for their services because they have neither the time nor inclination to do it themselves. You are worth it.
That’s just a few thoughts I have this day. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to another bike ride today with my husband, on my brand new Fuji Absolute LE 3.0. (First road bike in years!) I’m having a blast cycling with my husband while (hopefully), advancing toward better fitness. I hope to have many more birthdays ahead of me.
Thank you for reading and tomorrow, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming. :-)