by M.C McBain
IBM Vice President, Global Business Development
I hope you get to accomplish everything on your checklist of life with some added bonuses that you might not have expected – after all those can be the most fun!!!
Here are some tips that I hope will help you along the way but don’t sue me if I left anything out.
First and foremost, figure out what YOU need to have a happy life not what someone else tells you it should be. Make sure you have a rock solid support system and don’t take your spouse, family or friends for granted. While work is important – love is even more important.
Take pleasure in rituals whether its Dunkin Donuts coffee in the morning, Mass on Sundays, learning something new, group meetings with your college friends, golf on Thursday nights, playing Ursula the sea witch with your nieces and nephews, or dancing at Jazzfest. Take vacations. Visit all 50 states before you turn 50. Be open to accepting opportunities to go to new places and try new things. Don’t always go the way you know – you’ll find that a change of scenery, having new experiences, and being able to totally unplug is when you’ll get your very best ideas. Don’t take your computer on your honeymoon no matter how many people tell you must be available 7X24 to get ahead.
Vacations will enrich your overall life experience, enable you to accomplish great things, get you through bad times and create happy memories that will last a lifetime. Think of them as a necessity as opposed to a luxury.
Remember all the people that helped you along the way and don’t forget to give back to others. “Gratitude is the memory of the heart” so remember to live your life with zeal, goodness and kindness. Having a sense of humor goes a long way so look for things that tickle your funny bone and cause you to belly laugh. Remember what mom taught you about “Seeing the Need”- don’t wait for someone to ask you to carry the laundry basket up the stairs before someone trips over it. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Also, the advice that worked well for track meets works well in other situations, “Don’t look at the other runners in the race – stay in your own lane – do your very best – don’t quit – finish the race.” And for when you ran the relays – “There is no “I” in TEAM.”
When you are disappointed by people or frustrated by situations, think of how your grandmother might have felt at 16, leaving her family in Ireland, coming by boat on a long journey to America, battling seasickness, arriving in a strange country for better opportunity, and the hardships she endured. Don’t just complain about whatever is wrong, figure out a way to make it better or ride out the storm. Hey by the way, praying for wisdom and patience in those times won’t hurt either.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It leaves people hurt, angry, and frustrated and feeling like they are not important. The golden rule is golden for a reason. When your grandfather told you your reputation was everything – he wasn’t kidding. Work hard every day to earn the trust and respect of each and every person you meet.
Use every opportunity to enhance your life. This may require some creativity and sweat equity on your part but I know you are up to the challenge. Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams – no matter how “impossible” you or others might think they might be. When something “jumps” out at you- go for it. See the crown jewels at the Tower of London; go the Olympics in Atlanta, visit the Shinto Shrine & Palace gardens in Toyko; take a city bus tour in Zurich; try new local foods-don’t just stay in and order room service; do your holiday shopping early, and if you’ve crunched on a deal/project create balance in your life by working a “modified schedule”. Make time for people that are important to you- you don’t want to have regrets later in life that all you did was work and you missed out on enjoying life.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not to be seen as a sign of weakness or that you “can’t handle it”. Only you know when too much is too much- if it gets too much and you have a serious health issue or you feel you have no choice but to quit that’s not good for you or anyone else. Know when to say when. Utilize all resources that are available to you, especially that rock solid support system.
Always, always remember you are the CEO of your own life. Be alert—look for the hidden signs along the way to help you on your journey. Show up, show up on time and be in a good mood. Own the choices and decisions you make each and every day so that on balance and over the long haul you feel good about them. If not and you need a course correction- don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or take a vacation. Enjoy Life -This is Not a Dress Rehearsal!!!