4yr-CupcakeEvery year around this time, I do a column looking back at twenty-five lessons learned or reconfirmed during the past year of The Brainzooming Group. Since we’re approaching four years away from corporate life, we've now reached one hundred lessons.

While I’ve spent a few weeks putting together the list of twenty-five lessons in previous years, this list came together – with twenty-five lessons plus one – in perhaps thirty minutes. This was surprising since I was originally going to write a column about client lessons for this year's anniversary of being away from corporate life. The client lesson post will just have to wait

And if you want to see lesson number 26, you'll find it on our Brainzooming Facebook page. Please check out the Brainzooming Facebook page, and Like us while you’re there. We share Brainzooming blog posts and other items on strategy throughout the month.

25 Lessons Learned (or Reconfirmed) in Year Four Away from Corporate Life

Here’s this year’s twenty-five lessons list:

  1. Past performance is no indication of future performance.
  2. Cash remains the undisputed king despite the message at social media conferences that, “Content is king.”
  3. When you've lived with a certain structure for a long time, you can easily miss the benefits of new-found flexibility.
  4. Some things simply take time to figure out and become clear no matter how much you want to figure them out right away.
  5. It makes strategic sense to start with the things that will take the longest to develop, but you also have to launch the other things to maximize the payoff from your planning and efforts.
  6. You can and should learn from every encounter. Not all the learning will be equally valuable, though.
  7. You may multi-task to save time, but you're not likely to get the same benefit as if you address tasks one at a time.
  8. People other than you are always going to be able to see things you can't see about yourself.
  9. No matter what someone thinks, says, or promises, there's still a high probability it won't happen; plan accordingly.
  10. Not asking someone to commit at a relationship's start will help form more relationships, but it won't lead to many relationships that survive challenges.
  11. Even when you know better, if you don't change your situation, you'll repeat the same mistakes again because the situation will trump your knowledge.
  12. Not all b.s. looks or smells like b.s., which is why you either have to have a good b.s. detector or just assume most of what you see and hear is b.s. and act accordingly.
  13. People complain WAY too much about travel because it's an easy target for grousing. If you hate travel SO MUCH, pursue a different line of work.
  14. NEVER and ALWAYS are used WAY too much for effect. The answer is somewhere in the middle, and finding where in the middle is the whole deal.
  15. "Bluff while you learn" isn't at the top of my “Favorite Strategies” list, but in the right circumstances, it works.
  16. Droughts end, but you won't know when and may not be able to tell why one ended.
  17. There's HUGE financial value in a well-placed pause in a conversation.
  18. While there is benefit to concentrating on what you do best, you can't let yourself off the hook from doing important things where you aren't your best.
  19. When fretting about what seems like an unbelievably long sales cycles, I need to remember we talked to a branding agency during corporate life and only decided to work with them nine years later. We're into year three with some potential clients. Guess we have a ways to go.
  20. Great friends may go away from you. Let them go. Find new great friends, and cherish even more the ones that don't go away from you.
  21. You don't always have to react to things that go awry right away. Put them on the list, pay more attention to them, but don't over-react. Some stuff will simply fix itself.
  22. Structure is so valuable because it can help you perform and do what you need to do even when you don't want to do it or aren't performing well at all.
  23. Depend on God more. Trust more. Act on it more.
  24. Even when you're well into your career, you may have to completely re-work some long-ingrained behavior patterns. Doing this is HARD, so start as early as you can.
  25. By the time you let someone know you're going to ask them for help, know what you're going to ask them for already, even if it's not immediate. If you don't, chances are you'll never get around to figuring out what you need to ask them.  - Mike Brown

Previous Year's Lessons Learned (or Reconfirmed)


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