I’m not wiser or smarter than I was one year ago. At least, I don’t feel like it. However, I had a lot of experiences, bad and good as well, that taught me how to deal with different situations. Also, I found out that I’m more interested in having more thoughtful conversations with other people, in living a better life, beyond financial health, beyond social status or personal development.
But maybe, this is something natural that came into my life at this age.
3 years ago I started writing an article to celebrate my birthday. An article to remind me who I was and who I want to be. I wrote about my own experiences and sometimes I came back to these articles and just analyzed how I was 3 years ago, 2 years ago or even last year.
This time I wrote 33 lessons, ideas, quotes, experiences I have already experienced on my own. This is not something I copy/paste from another article or something that I read in a certain book. This was me last year. This is my experience.
I hope this will help you too!
1. Have a ME time
That’s why I work to wake up every morning at 6 a clock. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes I fail. But I know that having a “me time” in the morning helps me during the day. It helps me stay focused on my own stuff, it helps me work on what I truly love to do and to consume the content I want and feel that I need in that moment. And it’s also quiet and there is no distraction.
2. Start to meditate
This is another thing I like doing early in the morning. Meditating helps me stay relaxed, thinking about life, and just breathe. Sometimes I’m just relaxing, trying not to think about anything. It’s hard to stay relaxed and meditate these days because we are living in a very noisy world, but maybe this is the small moment we need in our lives.
3. Bring peace when there is a war starting
It’s easy to start a fight when you are married, but it’s very hard to understand that you need to bring peace when the fight it’s about to start. Be the peacemaker your family needs, your business and the society you are living in needs as well.
4. Take responsibility with no excuses
It’s easy to find excuses when you’ve done something wrong. In fact, it’s in our nature to find excuses and try to compensate for them instead of facing the problem. But, what if we would take more responsibility for what we’ve done, without trying to find excuses if they don’t ask for them? At least, I’m working on this.
5. Learn what are your boundaries and how you can communicate them
Boundaries help us understand the limits of the individuals we are working/living with. When we communicate our boundaries, when we know how much we can offer in a certain relationship, we will also know how much they ask from us. We understand the expectation we can have from that person.
6. Don’t judge the result, analyze the process
I failed so many times in this trap. I judged the result and criticized the one that got to that. So I learned that before I go directly to the results I have to understand what was the process that got to that results. Understanding the process will help you also embrace the result and improve the situation.
7. Choose the battles you want to lose
You don’t have to get into every debate, inyo every critical conversation and you don’t have to win every fight. There are moments when you have to choose to lose one battle, so you can win the next bigger one.
8. Learn what’s your personal “why”
After reading Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why” I was wondering what’s my personal WHY. That personal WHY that I can define in one simple sentence. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m working on it. And I love the process of discovering my WHY.
9. Learn not to take it too personal
When you take it too personal you won’t be able to see the entire situation. You can’t be objective enough to understand the entire context. Taking it too personal won’t help you solve any problems or any conflicts.
10. Ask open questions
Open questions are a great way to get a story, to get some insights, and to learn how others behave in a certain scenario. I learned how to ask open questions while I recorded my podcast episodes. Talking with people, asking them about a certain thing, and then getting more deeper into it, taught me that an open question is like a road, and all you have to do is just walk on that road in order to discover amazing stories.
11. The “What can I learn from this?” question is better than the “Why is this happening to me?”
This is maybe one of the latest lessons I learned and it’s also one of the hardest. Because the “why” question it’s a passive question. It makes me think only about the problem and about me. It’s keeping me into the problem. But the “What can I learn” question it’s deliberating. It’s making me think about the solution.
12. Consume more interviews
I consume more interviews (video & audio) than before. I found interviews to be more engaging and if the host knows how to ask a great question, there is a big chance to have a great answer from the guest as well. Also, interviews are much easier to consume than a presentation.
13. Start a community based on interest and not on brand
I learned on my own that I’m not a brand and people don’t follow brands because of the brand itself. People are interested in their desires and needs. So that’s why I started a community about podcasting, teaching them about podcasting, and connecting each other in a single place.
14. Create a personal belief related to your profession
Having a personal professional belief helped me understand my work in a different way. That’s why I came up with the “Content Effect” principle. It has also challenged me to innovate and embrace it. The Content Effect it’s something I came up with this year and wrote about it, talked about it, and also made some great designs.
15. Have regular mentorship meetings
I believe that we all need a mentor in our life. I’m not talking about therapists or life coaches. I’m talking about a personal mentor, who can guide you, to whom you can give account to, and who is interested in your own life and not your professional achievements.
16. Look to invest intentionally in disciples
But at the same time you should find a disciple and be their mentor. This way, you learn from a mentor, teach a disciple and train them to be a mentor as well. And that’s the perfect circle of mentorship.
17. Have a strict professional program
I’m not working after 18:00 a clock – I can count on one hand how many times I worked after 18:00 during this year. It’s because I take very seriously the fact that I need to have a strict professional program. I don’t even do professional meetings after 18:00 a clock.
18. Always pay attention to people’s hidden agenda
That’s something I learned on my own and it took almost 6 months to get rid of that person from my life. These kinds of people are like parasites who stick to your skin and suck the entire blood.1 They smile in your face while holding the knife at your back.
19. There is no testimony without a test
I heard this quote from one of my favorite teachers, Rick Warren. The complete sentence is “Pain is God’s megaphone. There is no testimony without a test. There is no message without a mess. There is no impact without criticism”. We need these tests in our life to learn from them and teach them to others as well. A testimony is not a testimony if we keep it to ourselves. It’s becoming one when we start to speak about the test.
20. Invest in experiences
Even if you have to pay 100$ for a steak, you are not doing it every week. If it’s something you want to experience, something for a special day, do it. Not because it’s 100$, but because it’s an experience for you and it makes you happy. However, if you are eating that steak with someone special, then put that phone down and live the moment. Because the experience is not only about eating the steak, it’s more than that. It’s about living the moment with others. That’s the moment you will want to take with you and talk about it. That’s your story!
21. Use a paper agenda
This is my own productivity hack. It’s not something very complicated. Just take one agenda, write down all the tasks you are doing that day, and every time you finish a task, just draw the line over the task. The satisfaction you have it’s incomparable.
22. Use more often the calendar app
I don’t do meetings that I don’t have in the calendar. Every time I have a meeting, an interview, or a call with somebody, I add it to my calendar. This helps me be more organized and take care of my time.
23. Wrote more ideas in your notes app
I created several folders in my Note app, so every time I have a new idea, I have a new thing to do, I just write it in that specific folder. Sometimes I get back to my Notes app just to see what I wrote several months ago. It’s interesting to look at yourself and remember what your thoughts were a few months ago.
24. Create more diversified content (video & slides)
This pandemic situation made me think outside of my comfort zone, and because I wanted to move forward with my podcast I accepted the idea that I can’t be face to face with my guests, so I started doing Zoom interviews. The best thing is that I also made the videos and people loved them. And, if you visit my Instagram and Linkedin profiles, you will see that I’m publishing more carousels as I teach my community about content marketing and social media.
25. Learn what it means to develop a feature
Even if my role for Bannersnack is to be the Content & Communication Manager I was involved in the process that led to coming up with a new feature idea for the product, doing the research, talking with developers and designers, creating the launch strategy and at the end, seeing your work published. Managing several tasks outside of my department, made me understand how it is to have an overview on such a big scale.
26. Learn how to trust your gut and build on data
My gut tells me what to do on a daily basis on social media, on content creation, on content distribution, and on my job. I’m also developing my gut by understanding the industry, by creating content for the industry, and connecting with others.
When I want to build something, I always take the data and analyze the numbers. Data does not lie, but sometimes it makes you the second or the third in the game. And here comes the gut you have to trust if you want to launch a product, a brand, or a new feature for an app. Trust your gut and build on data.
27. Learn to be more flexible with your habits
Since I became a father to my already 2-years daughter, I learned that I don’t have to be inflexible with my habits. And, since this pandemic situation developed and I started to work from home, I understood that being flexible with your own habits will help you stay healthy, at least from the mental point of view. What happens if I have a call with my team and my daughter wants to come into my office and say hello after she wakes up? It’s not such a big deal. Just be flexible and learn to understand when it’s the right context to hold tight.
28. Make the work people don’t want to make
I made something for Noah Kagan and when he published it on his Linkedin account, I received 5 job offers. I made this experiment to show you that when you make the work people don’t want to make, you will be the indispensable people they will want to work with.
29. Learn how to create evergreen projects
There are a lot of people out there who know how to start a culture project. Take for example TikTok, Instagram, Podcasting, Vlogging and the list can go on and on. But what about the ones that know how to create evergreen projects that will pass the test of time and still be relevant in 2, 5 or even 10 years? I don’t know if the TikTok video option will still be relevant in 5 years, but I surely know that a video series that solves a certain problem will be relevant in 10 years.
30. Start thinking about writing a book
It’s not about the idea of how to write a book, or of how to publish that book. It’s about making an exercise on what you will write in that book. If tomorrow you will get the chance to write a book, what will it be about? Books are not only about ourselves, they are also about the people who will read them, about your sons and daughters who will proud of you.
31. Learn how to keep their attention, not just only to capture it
I saw this quote on Jay Acunzo twitter and it always reminds me that our job as marketers changed a lot lately. We don’t have to just capture attention these days. The winner is the one who knows how to hold it. That’s when you understand how to keep a relationship between a brand and a customer, that’s when you understand how important loyalty is. That’s when you understand that marketing is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle.
32. Write for you. Write for others
Writing helped me a lot. It helped me do research and found answers to my question. Writing helped me be more disciplined with my time. Writing helped me grow as a professional but also as a person. Sometimes I write just for myself, sometimes I write only for a few people and sometimes I write for everybody.
33. Create a portfolio and not a resume
Lately, I had the chance to interview a few people for a job role we opened for Bannersnack. We received their resumes and their answers for our test. We even hired a few of them and we are glad they are now members of our team. But this reminds me that everyone had a resume, everyone had a work resume and not a portfolio. When you create a portfolio you show people what you’ve been working on and what results from you’ve had. A portfolio is more powerful than a resume.
Bonus! Drink water and go outside for a walk
I don’t have any app or notification to tell me that I got to stand up from my desk. I use a much more simple and healthy hack, I’m drinking a lot of water during my working hours. And this keeps me motivated to go to the toilet almost every 30-40 minutes. I found out that walking away from the desk for 15-30 minutes is a great way to refocus your mind from the work you do to something else. When I return from my walks it’s somehow energizing. I don’t have any reason. It’s just something I found out that it’s working for me.
These are the 33 simple ideas, hacks, quotes, and lessons I learned this year. What will be next year? I don’t know. But until then, all I wish for you it’s to take one simple idea from this article and use it in your own life.
If it’s working, come back and write it in the comments and tell me and to all the others who are reading this article about the benefits you took from it.
Hope it will help you.