Written By: Adam Dince
2011 has been an incredible year for me. I’ve learned so much about life, career and all things in between. As we get ready to jump into 2012, I thought I’d take a few moments to jot down some of the more important lessons I’ve learned over the past 12 months and hope that something within this post inspires you.
- It’s only as big of a deal as you make it: Growing up, a mentor once said to me, “You can’t always control what happens in life, however, you can control how you react to it.” This year, I’ve learned that to be the truth. So, make a big deal of the good things in life and share them with those in your circle. As for the heartbreaks, disappointments, and challenges—don’t let them throw you off of your game! It’s your choice… what say you?
- Keep yourself open to opportunity: This is a meta-physical truth. Imagine you’re driving down a dark and desolate country road when your car breaks down. As you get out of your car, you begin to seek out help. As you look for a lifeline, you see a plethora houses nearby, but only one with the lights on inside. Which house are you most likely going to gravitate towards? If you’re sane, I’m guessing the house with the lights on. I believe that opportunity seeks out and finds people who are open and receptive to taking it. Be the light that attracts opportunity and you will succeed beyond measure.
- Be bold: It’s much easier to be passive than it is to be bold. However, people who are passive get passed by. It’s important to go for what you want, say what you need to say, and stay true to yourself, even if it goes against the grain.
- Be a social network: This year, I decided to use Twitter to grow my social presence and was surprised by how receptive and welcoming the Twitter community is. In a few short months, I grew my number of Twitter followers from 60 to over 600. I learned that if you write and curate quality content, if you share other people’s content, and if you spend time cultivating relationships, you’ll become your own social network and your connections will follow you wherever you go.
- Listen to your gut: There may be times when you know or believe something to be the case, but don’t have the data to support it. Conventional wisdom says to always have data to back-up a point of view—however sometimes to be successful, you’ve got to trust your gut and take a leap of faith. So go for it!
- Exercise: This year, I trained harder than I have in many years. I ran, ran and then ran some more. What I discovered was that exercise helped my career just as much as it did my cardio. Rigorous exercise helps clear your mind of the junk that keeps you from reaching your creative potential. Having difficulties coming up with article ideas for your blog? Not sure how to frame that sales pitch? Try exercise!
- Be thankful for what you have: Sometimes, life gets so busy that it’s easy to lose perspective. This year, I was reminded to say, “thank you”, every day for all of the things I’m fortunate enough to have. I learned this lesson for the first time, in 1998, when my enlistment contract in the United States Navy expired. After three years of living on a boat, with triple bunk mates, and nothing but linoleum floors, I moved into a small room in a condo that I rented from a married couple. While I only had a junior sized bedroom and bathroom, I was so thankful for having my own space and more importantly—carpet.While there will always be new goals to strive for, there shouldn’t be a day where we don’t take inventory of what we do have and be thankful.
- Find a mentor: This year, I found myself focusing much of my time on mentoring people. After a while, I ended up feeling drained, empty, and in need of refueling.Years ago, I heard a brilliant speaker say, “In order to be a complete person, you should have three people in your life: 1.) Someone to mentor (you’ve got to pass down your wisdom), 2.) You need a peer that is at a similar place in life (you’ve got to have someone to lean on), 3.) You need a mentor (someone that can refill you when you’re all poured out”). In 2011, I found a few great mentors and hope that you all have a few as well.
- Splurge on yourself a little bit—it’s okay: My dad was a frugal dude and could pinch a penny like nobody else’s business. He rarely splurged on himself and expected the same of me. A lot of the lessons my dad taught me were valuable and I appreciate the emphasis he placed on being careful with money. Most people who know me, know that I rarely spend money on myself and would rather spend it on others. However, in 2011, I broke with tradition and bought an incredibly expensive drum set that I’d been eyeing for years. I couldn’t help but hear my dad’s guilty voice as I clicked the “check out” button—“Do you really need that, Adam?” But, I did it and have enjoyed coming home to my Pearl e-Pro for many months now and can honestly say, yes—I needed it.
- Don’t grow up so fast: One of my strongest personality traits is that I’m a big kid at heart and for some reason; I’ve never grown out of being the class clown. I can honestly say, that much of what I’ve been able to accomplish this year is due to making people laugh and not take themselves so seriously. I would give you the same advice. Don’t be so serious! Have fun! Enjoy life and others around you will too.
In closing, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy new year! Looking forward to 2012–another breakout year!