Dear Santa, please give me a gift that will help me build brand credibility, reward my customers and appease the Google gods.
This post has nothing whatsoever to do with copywriting, so let’s clear that up from the start. Writing is a great outlet, though, and sometimes it’s cathartic to pour your heart out on paper. In the past couple of years, I’ve lost several friends and family members, and every time it happens, it gets me thinking about life and the meaning of it all. For what it’s worth, here are a few of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my time on the planet.
1) Be yourself.
I remember as a teenager and young adult I was so caught up in what other people thought of me, I changed my behaviour and appearance to accommodate others. It’s taken a long time, but I feel like I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. Be authentic, be weird, be whatever you want to be, but be true to yourself.
2) Speak your truth.
This one really took me a while to figure out. A psychic – a total stranger – recently told to stop being a people-pleaser and start speaking my truth. Turns out, that crazy old bat was right. For the longest time, I would internalise my anger, rather than telling people how I felt. You know who that hurt? Me. Me alone. By speaking your truth, calmly and assertively, you free yourself of bitterness and forge deeper, more meaningful relationships with the people you love. And I don’t mean just addressing the bad stuff. Tell the special people in your life how much you love them. Be vulnerable, be raw, be real.
3) Stand up for yourself.
I don’t know what it is about having a child, but ever since I pushed a human being into the world I’m less inclined to take shit from people. I guess you have to lead by example with your kids, and show them how to stand up for themselves. I just wish I could go back in time and tell a few of the wankers I’ve met along the journey to stick it where the sun don’t shine.
The greatest joy, love, passion and thrills I have experienced in life have come hand-in-hand with the experiences that have terrified me the most. It’s only when we really push ourselves outside our comfort zones that we experience the real highs that life has to offer.
5) Find balance.
When I was younger, I was hell-bent on having a successful journalism career. I worked long hours in a newsroom and annihilated myself in the process. Then, I decided to become a travelling waitress for three years, working stress-free jobs to fill my pockets for travel adventures. It was great because all of a sudden I had more time for my friends and family, but, inevitably, I got bored. That’s when I realised I needed balance. For me, balance comes from having a career that challenges and inspires me but also gives me enough time with my son, husband, family, friends and myself. Find your balance.
6) Be kind.
This one I learned from my parents, and it has stood me in good stead. Kindness costs you nothing, but it can change someone else’s life for the better. My new motto is to regularly compliment strangers. You should see the unexpected joy on someone’s face when you randomly tell them how beautiful they are, or how groovy they look. If you’re still concerned about stranger danger, just try smiling. It’s free and contagious.
7) Find what makes you happy and overindulge.
We waste so much of our lives working for the dollar and worrying about money. Find that special thing that inspires you and makes you feel alive, that sunshine in your life. Soak it up, roll around in it, scorch your back. Suck the nectar out of life. If you haven’t already guessed, for me it’s writing, which is why I started Ink Big Copywriting, and dancing with my son. I just hope that he doesn’t inherit my appalling dance moves. He can take my sentimental heart.