Lessons from 2010

2010 has been a massive year of both ups and downs for me which has lead to some significant personal development. As I take a leap forwards into come new challenges I thought what better time to compose a very brief list of some lessons I’ve learned in the year past.

Professional Lessons

– A campaign not working is not a failure as long as you learn something from it
– Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean it will work, just because something didn’t work doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea
– Take holidays – for years I put off taking trips because I didn’t want to fall behind on work, but nothing leaves you more hungry to do good work than a little time away
– ‘No’ is not a dirty word – If a timeline is unrealistic at least suggest a more manageable solution, don’t just say yes
– Low cost, High Quality, Fast delivery – Pick 2
– Anyone can be insightful, often without realising it. The secret is to listen closely enough to hear the verbal diamond in the rough.

Personal Lessons

– There is no such thing as a black and white situation – only varying shades of grey
– While it’s important to speak your beliefs it is more important to listen to those of others
– Exercise really is enjoyable – everyone wasn’t lying to me for the past 23 years despite what I previously thought
– If you want something in life take it. Don’t wait for the ‘right time,’ it may never come
– In 12 months everything can change – Last year my dad spent about 6 months in hospital undergoing chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant. The end of December see’s him 12 months cancer free and he is currently back at work full-time and looking more healthy everyday.

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Learning to be grateful for challenging times

As all those that read my blog will be aware, I am currently at a very challenging time in my life.

I am dealing with a lot in terms of my father’s illness while continuing to work a challenging fulltime role as a digital account executive and studying fulltime via distance. Needless to say at the moment emotions are running high and my stress levels are ridiculous.

However I am not complaining because all of this stress, all the challenges currently facing me are, in the long run, for my benefit. Once I come out the otherside of this stressful time I will be stronger, wiser and more prepared for everything that will face me in the life ahead of me.

I have friends who breeze through life, they have no drive, no passion. They earn more money than I do, have less of an education, work less hours. They do not challenge themselves nor does life present them with challenges. Previously I have felt ripped off about this situation, that it is unreasonable that they get such an easy run. However there has been a shift in my thinking. I am the one being presented with opportunity. While they cruise along in their role I am working my arse off, contributing both to my business as well as to trade press to build my profile and gain as much knowledge as possible. Not just about digital media, but about business practices and how to market myself as an employee. In the long run this is going to get me further and make me happier than these other people could imagine.

I am passionate about life and about work and this passion and drive is what I see others lacking. These challenging times in life are like petrol. If you control the flow it is fuel, but if you let it pour too quickly it will just smother the flame of your passion. I choose to harness it as fuel.

My current (and greatest) life challenge – Man Week

Reading work for Man Week from friends in the blogging community, such as Julian Cole, Mark Pollard and Gavin Heaton, has inspired me to write a piece about a very current and very relevant topic.

Two weeks ago, on Monday the 15th of June, while at the SMCSYD event, I received a call that changed everything. It was my mum on the phone, calling from the hospital. My dad had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

The news hit me like a piano falling from a building. My dad has always been healthy, at 50 years old he is more fit than i am and plays hockey at a second grade competitive level. He’s never smoked and doesn’t drink to excess.

Since then a lot of information has been thrown at me, as new facts emerge as to the type of lukemia and the specifics of my dads condition and while everything has happened very quickly life has moved very slowly.

My dads particular type of leukaemia is called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, it is a very aggressive type of leukaemia, especially for older males. In addition my father has what is called the Philadelphia chromosome which puts him in the poor prognosis category. All of this means that while he may make it into remission, his chances of recovery (statistically) are very low.

With all of this in mind I have found myself doing the very thing Man Week is designed to prevent, I have been bottling all my feelings inside. As the eldest male within my family I have felt that I need to be the strong person and bare the burden of the rest of my families upset and grief. I know in my conscious mind that this is not necessary, that my family is strong and we will all support each other. Yet a part of me cannot help but feel the need to fill this role.

Holding my feelings in has been taking its toll lately, I haven’t been sleeping (more so than usual), I have been snappy and generally a dick to my gorgeous girlfriend and I have just felt generally unmotivated. Talking to Jessica (girlfriend) and reading the posts people have written for Man Week has encouraged me to go forwards and speak to a counsellor or psychologist (still need to investigate where exactly I will go) to get some outside perspective on the situation and to find better ways of dealing with the feelings I am having.

The above was not easy for me to write and as I sit here my hands are shaking more than slightly. But I feel, already, like a weight has been lifted. Writing this post has been my first step on the path to unravelling the ball of emotions I’m currently dealing with.

I encourage everyone to get involved in anyway you can with the efforts of both Man Week and Reach Out.