Mary Elisabeth

on Fridays I burn my fears…

“What do you do?”

When we meet someone new usually one of the first questions we are asked is “what do you do?”  It’s such an odd question because it’s asking something so broad, typically expecting a narrowly defined answer, detailing our profession.

Whenever I am asked that question I carefully think about how I want to respond or I just say whatever is on my mind.  Because I do a lot of things.  We all do.  And more of what we do is outside of our professional lives (for some of us who don’t make their work their lives).  For me, my work and life interlace, so the distinction isn’t as clear.  Here are some of the ways I like to answer that question:

  • “I make gelato”
  • “I practice yoga”
  • “I write comedy”
  • “I sleep”
  • “I cook”
  • “I run”

If someone is really pressing for a more professional answer, usually I say something like “I create solutions to solve problems (or I’m an entrepreneur)”

Recently someone asked me to describe what I do for work and I used the above description.  She continued to dig deeper into my work, asking:

  • What about it is really satisfying? Making an impact in peoples’ lives (whether an employee, customer, partner, etc)
  • What about it drives you crazy?  It can be a very lonely road & there are lots of ups & downs, highs & lows. And the lows can be very low. 
  • What are your goals?  To leave the world a little bit better place
  • What is driving you?  Honestly, probably achieving. I’m highly competitive.  And making an impact. Doing something that positive impacts people.
  • What is holding you back?  Myself. I’m my own biggest hurdle. Self-doubt. 
  • Do you regret any significant decisions you’ve made about your career? If you had it to do over again, would you do it differently?  No regrets. Lots of lessons though. I live by the philosophy “no mistakes, only gifts & opportunities” 

There you have it. That’s what I do and how I feel about it.

Venture on,

<3 mel

Life Without Expectations

Expectations are the source of disappointment. 

This one-line piece of advice is one of the pieces of wisdom in my forthcoming book, Straight from the Investor’s Mouth, and rings true beyond just for entrepreneurs.

Recently I met someone who reiterated the impact of expectations and further encouraged me to not have expectations.  He inspired me to think further about a life without expectations.  When we have expectations we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  A recent blog post mentioned that my generation is unhappy because our happiness is a factor of our reality minus expectations, and when expectations are high and reality doesn’t match up, our happiness is low.

Think about it…

If you are training for a half marathon and you expect your time to be 2 hours and then you end up coming to the finish line at 2 and a half hours, your expectations are not met.  That creates disappointment.

Or maybe you just shared your company with an investor and expect the investor to invest in your company.  Then, you get the popular “we’re not interested at this time” and do not raise capital from that investor.  Would your reaction to that response be different had you no expectations?

Say you meet an amazing guy (or gal) that you totally hit it off with and you develop expectations that he/she will ask you on a date.  And then they don’t.  Lame.  You’re disappointed (or if you’re like me you just ask the guy out instead ;-).  Take the reverse:  you have no expectations.  Then, when something great happens and you get asked on that date, you are pleasantly surprised and it’s much more satisfying.

Expectations take time.  They take emotional energy.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t have goals or expectations.  Goals are good and expectations have their benefits.  A goal to run a half marathon in 2 hours provides a north star for training and discipline to reach that goal.  Expectations can inspire us to work hard to make those expectations more closely aligned with reality.  By definition a “goal” is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed” and “expectation” is “the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.”  We can have goals without expectations and have expectations without goals.  The former will motivate us.  The latter will disappoint us.  By putting effort into achieving goals we are working toward a specific outcome.  With expectations, we are hoping for a specific outcome.  Hope is not typically a successful strategy.

A goal to complete a half marathon in less than 2 hours is different than expecting to finish a half marathon in less than 2 hours.  With the goal, we can now work backwards to take the necessary steps to working towards achieving that goal.  If we train and prepare to achieve that goal, we are more likely to run the half marathon in less than 2 hours.

Personally, I struggle to not have expectations.  It’s hard.  I’m usually thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead.  Going through scenarios in my head, planning for how I’ll react in various situations.  Creating expectations and figuring out how I’ll respond when those expectations are (or aren’t met).  I’m making a conscious effort to reduce my expectations.  I’m curious to see how it impacts my happiness, relationships, work, and life in general.

Do you have expectations?  For what?  Do you need them?  What would your life be like without expectations?

Venture on,

mel, the venture gal

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My Next Venture

Recently I decided on my next venture.  The process leading up to this decision was not short and it’s fair to say that my next venture, in many ways, chose me.

After an unplugged week in Mexico, in the summer I kicked up my self-exploration into full gear…reflecting and spending a lot of time learning more about myself, my goals, my interests and passions, all in efforts to figure out how and where I wanted to spend my time.

I’m a very analytical person and tend to make decisions more so from my head than from my heart.  I have been working on keeping a balance and some of my most recent decisions I have been pleased with the way I have been able to listen to my heart.

First, I decided to leave my job at RPM Ventures.  I have several reasons for leaving, but the story goes…I joined RPM Ventures to learn how to be a better entrepreneur.  I knew that working in VC would give me opportunities to see many companies, industries; meet many entrepreneurs; see what works/doesn’t work; and learn what it takes to be a VC backable entrepreneur building a VC backable company.  Mission accomplished.  Before VC I was on the entrepreneur side of the table and I knew I’d always go back and that VC was a great learning stint.  It was only a matter of time before I left the “dark side” (which isn’t so dark) to tackle big problems to make a positive impact in the world.

After deciding to leave RPM Ventures, then came deciding what I wanted to do instead.  What I learned:  there are so many things I want to do.  I threw a ton of ideas on the table – either ventures to start, companies to join and build, places to travel, sketches to write, people to meet, and beyond.  I asked myself a lot of “thought questions”, spent more time journaling, reflecting, and taking inventory of my interests, passions, and skills.

I realized that I love healthy living.  That may be an understatement.  I am fairly obsessed with healthy living.  Daily I wake up before dawn to go to the gym (either teaching a spin class, going to crossfit, hot yoga, a run, etc), I am uber deliberate about what I eat and how I treat my body, and I could read about health, nutrition, and clean eating recipes endlessly (and could also have such conversations for extended periods of time).  And I am very mission-driven…I want to make a positive impact in the world.  Combine the two and it seemed to make sense that I pursue a venture related to health-food-life-tech.  Figuring that out led me to immerse myself…I started tracking companies and researching trends, and formed a list of over 200 companies in the health-food-life-tech arena (still broad, but more focused than everything).  I spent time talking to founders, potential partners and stakeholders, investors, trying to learn more about opportunities and white space where I could solve some problems.  I was very focused.

Then I received some of the best advice I received along this journey, from one of my mentors.  When I told her about my search, she advised, Stop planning so much.  Be opportunistic.  You’re so focused and planning so deliberately that you may miss opportunities that come to you that aren’t within your lens.

She was right.

I took a step back.  I asked myself some high level questions like “What do I really want with my next opportunity?”

The opportunities I had explored didn’t have that spark.  I didn’t want to be “silo-ed” in a specific function in a company with hundreds of people already.  I did want to… solve a really big problem and a real problem.  I did want to find a mentor and work with amazing and talented people.  I did want to have the opportunity to work in a variety of projects/domains.

When I took that step back, I realized that the opportunity I had been looking for had been in front of me the entire time.  A company RPM Ventures invested in, Social Finance (SoFi), caught my eye the moment I learned about it in 2011.  SoFi connects students and alumni through a dedicated lending pool.  Alumni earn a double bottom line return, students receive a lower loan rate than their private or federal options, and both sides benefit from the connections formed.  I had the opportunity to work with SoFi as part of RPM’s portfolio.  In doing so, I got to know the team, the business, and the potential.

  • SoFi is solving a HUGE problem: student debt. $1 Trillion.  Enough said.
  • I have a mentor.  Many.  And am blessed to work with amazing people.
  • There is room to grow.  With about 60 people and a growing business, there’s always something to do!!
I am glad I went through a “process”…learning about myself, exploring several opportunities, crossing things off my list and adding things on.  Even though ultimately the opportunity I am pursuing was there before all the others, I believe the process I ran was helpful for me to discover what truly was right.

And there you have it…my next venture!  I couldn’t be more excited!

Venture on,

mel, the Venture Gal

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Not Invincible: A Tribute to Amy Janson

Amy Janson

When someone the same age as you dies, it is a very humbling experience.  We know that death exists and is inevitable (at least until science and technology changes that).  I find that especially at a young age, we think we are invincible.  We think that death can’t find us.  And then we’re reminded when we hear through the news about people dying, kids with terminal illnesses, and young people getting in car accidents.  When it is someone you know, it hits even closer.  This reminds us that we are not invincible.  No matter what our age we can be defeated.  That doesn’t mean we should go through life feeling scared, or feeling like we’re never going to be good enough, never going to win.  We still need to live our lives, but always keep in the back in our heads, we aren’t invincible.  We can be struck down at anytime, anywhere, with anyone.

Amy Janson, too soon left us, but her smile, energy, & kind heartedness will live on

Over the weekend I learned of a dear family friend tragically losing her life.  She was only a year older than me.  My memories of her are fond as she was a wonderful person whose smile and energy lit up a room (or the area…considering most of my memories with her were outside…not in any rooms!)

I like to learn a little something from everyone who comes into my life and Amy inspires enjoyment of the outdoors, smiling, and spreading energy.  Thanks Amy for your impact on my life.  You are loved and will be missed.

Venture on,

mel, the Venture Gal

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Authentic Self

If I were 100% honest with myself
what would I say?

Would I tell people how I really feel
instead of waiting for another day?

Would I cry when I feel sad
and smile when I am glad?

Would I eat what I truly enjoy
and still avoid dairy, wheat, corn, and soy?

If 100% honesty was all I knew
what would I say and what would I do?

Would I leave this place
in search of another space?

Would I change my friends
so that none are pretend?

Would I pursue my dream job
rather than work for the man Bob?

It would be interesting to see
who I would be

Because beneath all the filters
I still am me!

venture on,

mel, the venture gal

Ventures in Life

Life is full of ventures. By definition, a venture is “an undertaking involving uncertainty as to the outcome, especially a risky or dangerous one”. Life is uncertain. Life is full of undertakings with uncertain outcomes.

So why not have some fun with it?

I approach life as a series of ventures. Trying new things. Being in the present. Ready to tackle what comes my way. It’s part of my improv philosophy to life. Some of my life’s ventures are spur of the moment, unexpected, & dynamic. Some are more calculated & more like “life experiments”. Monthly ventures. Daily ventures. Yearly ventures. and so forth.

What does that mean? To me, it’s about trying things out. Trying new things for a certain period of time. Making changes in my life to see what the impact is. For instance, for November last year I tested out “No News November”, for which I spent the entire month not reading any news. I got my news from other people sharing news with me. Result: I didn’t feel like I was living under a rock (though I did find out about the Italian cruise ship crash a couple days after it actually happened…oh darn). Have I avoided news since then? No, but I sure read a lot less of it. What I’ve learned is that if people put themselves in the opposite extreme of the behavior desired to change, people default to the mean…taking that behavior in a positive direction but not necessarily going 100% to the opposite side of the spectrum.

I’ll elaborate more as I share my ventures. Here’s a quick snapshot of my current life experiment ventures:

Monthly Venture: July
Write every day!

Weekly Ventures
Crossfit (2-3 times/week)
Create a recipe

Stay tuned for more to come about life ventures!

Venture on,

mel, the venture gal

Unplugged

Mexican sunset

I recently returned from a week of “unplugging”.  I ventured to Mexico for my cousin’s wedding & decided not to bring my laptop or use my phone.  I decided to take the opportunity to turn it into a quasi – personal retreat.  My decision to unplug was mostly inspired by a desire to really disconnect myself, fully enjoy the people I was with, what I was doing, the environment, & sometimes pure stillness.

Before I left I read “The Joy of Quiet” in the New York Times.  This article was great inspiration for my week of unplugging in Mexico.  Some notable words of wisdom that were especially motivational:

  • “the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time & energy we have to place it in some larger context”
  • “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries” – Blaise Pascal
  • “The man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself” – Marshall McLuhan
  • “the more that floods in on us, the less of ourselves we have to give to every snippet”
  • “We have more & more ways to communicate, but less & less to say”
  • “We’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines”
  • He also refers to an “Internet Sabbath” as “turning off online connections”

The beach. A great place to walk, talk, sit, think, sleep, run, write, relax.

Unplugging 

For me, unplugged meant I didn’t bring my computer & my phone was on airplane mode the entire time (so I could still use it for pictures).  I spent every morning walking or running on the beach, & throughout the day would lie on the beach or hammock writing in my journal.  Some of the day was spent with family (some of which I haven’t seen in over a decade) as well as some of my family’s friends & bridal party.  A personal retreat is typically defined as being personal…as in only you & no one else around.  I’m very glad that I got to spend this time with my family & new friends.  I enjoyed it more without my technology & learned more because of my time with them.  I learned about them & I learned about myself. And I got to witness & celebrate the fabulous wedding for my cousin & her new husband.

I spent lots of time in hammocks. Great venues for writing, thinking, sleeping, & doing nothing.

Reflecting

As I think back, this was the first time I had been completely unplugged for that duration of time in over 2 years.  Last I remember, in Patagonia, South America I was internet and phone-less.

Not surprisingly, I love warm weather.  The sun & warm weather makes me all happy inside =)

Somewhat surprisingly, I did not miss my computer or checking my email.  Of course, when substituted with great time with family, making new friends, beautiful weather, and fun outdoor activities, I can see why not.  Technology is not a substitute for great people & great experiences.  This time reminded me the value of being in the present, enjoying any situation you are in, while you are in it.  Otherwise, you miss out on what’s happening, what’s special about that very moment.

Sometimes it is nice to have no plans, just do whatever feels right at the time.  Live spontaneously.  Improvise.

Beautiful scenery.

Life is an art.  There are no right combinations.  There are bright spots, but sometimes it’s dark.  Sometimes you jump in before the painting is dry.  Sometimes the finished product looks better when you don’t put it together alone.  Ultimately, it’s all in how you look at it.

Unplugging is valuable for clearing my head & examining my life at a high level.  It may seem hard to imagine a world without online connections, but it’s possible & beautiful.  Here is a brief list of non-connected ideas I created for myself & possible inspiration to others who are seeking a break:

  • Read
  • Reflect
  • Go for a walk, run, bike ride
  • Cook an amazing meal
  • Write a letter to an old friend
  • Write
  • Practice yoga
  • Practice another language (for me, Spanish or Italian) or learn another language
  • Clean & get rid of things I don’t need anymore
  • Draw
  • Horseback ride
  • Rock climb
  • Take a bath
  • Brainstorm
  • Be creative
  • Ask the “Altucher Questions”
  • Call someone
  • Play guitar
  • Sit & do absolutely nothing! (Sounds lazy, but it’s re-energizing)

There are so many things to do to occupy my time that don’t involve the internet.  It just takes discipline to avoid the internet when it is so pervasive in my life and such a daily habit.  Taking time away from the internet will also help me focus on some of my other goals which typically get neglected.  Most importantly, the quiet reflection time to myself is really valuable.  It’s good to sit and look at my life from a high level.  I think it’s also crucial in transforming intelligence to wisdom.

This will not be my last extended unplugged venture that’s for sure.

Venture on,

MEL aka Venture Gal

Bay Area Ventures

Palm Trees in Palo Alto

Wednesday I left early in the morning from Flint’s airport, to a layover in Minneapolis, on my way to San Francisco airport.  Travel went off without a hitch.  When I arrived to SFO I took the Bart & Caltrain to Palo Alto.  Straight from the Caltrain station I walked to grab lunch with a fellow venturer at Sprout Cafe.  After lunch I checked into my Airbnb reservation on Forest Ave.  I was kindly welcomed, put my stuff away, & went for a run to Stanford’s campus.  There’s nothing like running through a tunnel of palm trees to the smell of eucalyptus.  After my run I cleaned up & went to dinner with a longtime friend Kevin at Osteria Toscana.

I was in bed by 8:00 pm PCT.  Lovely.

Early the next morning I met Marc & Kevin for breakfast at Il Fornio.  This was the first time introducing the two of them, and it went well.  Afterwards Marc & I went for a meeting with Glyde.  When Marc left for another board meeting, I stuck around to work with Glyde.  We went up to Berkeley that afternoon to see some of our marketing efforts in action.  We enjoyed dinner at Cafe La Med & ice cream from Ici Ice Cream for dessert.

Cranberry Lime at Ici

On the way back to Palo Alto we stopped at Treasure Island and saw magnificent views of the city.  Though it was a late night, Friday morning I ran to a 7:00 am vinyasa yoga class at YogaSource downtown Palo Alto.  It was just what I needed.  After yoga I grabbed breakfast across the street at LYFE Kitchen.  I got their mushroom & basil frittata.  It really hit the spot!  I packed up my things & checked out of my Airbnb, walked to Glyde, & spent the day there working on more marketing activities.

For lunch I went to Pluto’s with a Glyde team member. In the late afternoon I met up with a fellow entrepreneur at Cafe Venetia.  He shared great wisdom & advice.  One piece of wisdom: “partnerships with startups are dead ends”.  He also shared with me the story of Ninfa Lorenzo.  What an incredible story!

That evening a friend picked me up at Glyde & we drove to the city to grab a bite to eat.  With another friend we ended up dining at Local: Mission.  My vote: 2 stars.  Bottom line: Slow service, nothing special about the food, & not priced to match the food & service.

The next morning my friend & went for a run from SOMA along the water to the Ferry Building area & back to SOMA.  Then we bused to Swan Oyster Depot where we were welcomed by an incredibly long line.  Considering we were really hungry, we decided to defer Swan Oyster & find something with a bit less wait associated with it.  We stumbled upon Olea.  Best unexpected brunch choice ever!  We were welcomed right in (we arrived about 15 minutes before they closed), seated at a community table, ordered, & received our food within 15 minutes.  Olea uses local, organic ingredients & the combinations were delicious!  I ordered an omelette with butternut squash & crushed pumpkin seeds.  My friend ordered clams with chorizo (listed on San Fran’s list of 100 things to try in the city).

View from the run

On the way to the TOP

After brunch we walked toward North Beach where we got gelato at Gelateria Naia and hopped in a few other stores.  On the way, we went up to the Top of the Mark & checked out the Cable Car Museum.  We stopped in Brioche & walked by Golden Gate Cafe.  There was a super long line to get into GGC, so we continued on our journey to the Ferry Building.  When we made it to the Ferry Building we decided to grab tea at Imperial Tea Court.  I got Oolong & she got Chrysanthemum.  We shared ginger almonds, which came in the shell. All pretty good & hit the spot after the gelato sugar rush & walking.

That night for dinner I went to State Bird Provisions with 2 friends & 3 new friends. It was a cool atmosphere & style of serving food (dim sum!)  The dishes I remember trying are:

  • Anchovie with golden beat, chicory, pumpkin seeds
  • Trout with brown butter, hazelnuts, & tatsoi
  • Roasted carrots, fennel, & greens with a tasty carrot/lemon juice over
  • Curried lentils
  • Grilled greens (I’m not sure of the exact greens) with dates & almonds

Anchovie with golden beet, chicory, & pumpkin seeds at State Bird Provisions

Other dishes recommended: World Peace (aka peanut milk), friend quail, pasta with crab.

Gelato from Gelateria Naia: Prickly Pear & Ginger Pear; Nocciola & Nutella

On my cab ride back I learned that the cab driver makes more money than I do in a year.  Interesting.

The next morning my friend & I jogged to brunch through the industrial part of SOMA.  We got brunch at Mission Beach Cafe.  We both enjoyed Dungeness Crab Benedict, 2 poached eggs over bay shrimp & crab, with roasted yukon gold potatoes.  Very tasty, unique, & Californian!  On our walk back to her apartment we stopped at the Rainbow Grocery Cooperative & I got some snacks for the plane ride back to Michigan & an avocado.

Before leaving I started making travel arrangements for my next trip to the Bay Area.  It made it easier to leave.  I was fortunate to grab a cab right away without needing to use Uber (saving $25).  Though the cab driver repeatedly explained to me why he prefers getting paid in cash, it was a quick ride (which was good since I got a bit of a later departure to the airport than I originally planned).  Fortunately there was no line at security, but the security people insisted on checking my backpack.  I am such a dangerous character.  Must’ve been the avocado in my bag.

Thanks Bay Area for some fun adventures.  See you in a couple weeks.

Venture on,

MEL aka Venture Gal

“I was blind, but now I see”

Happy 2012!

Before the end of 2011 I read “I Was Blind, But Now I See” by James Altucher.  I received the book as part of the swag bag I got at the Defrag Conference in November (awesome conference by the way, I highly recommend attending!)  I met Altucher at the Defrag Conference, the day before it began.  He’s a really nice guy.  Someone I would want to have deep conversations with & go to yoga class.  His perspective on life is refreshing.  He challenges “norms” (what is normal anyways?) & has strong opinions.  His opinions may be challenged as being extreme or unrealistic, but he backs them up with reasoning, which can flip anyone’s conventional thinking on its head.  His presentation at Defrag was awesome too!  I learned a lot from this book.  Altucher shares his experiences & reflections which I think are helpful for anyone who is seeking fulfillment.  The two key actionable takeaways I got out of the book are:

1.  Question every thing I do & the intentions behind them.

2.  Put on my oxygen mask first.

and though I’m not one to make traditional New Year’s resolutions (to me, each day is the start of a new year) I continually make goals for myself & experiment with new ways of living & thinking.  I’m making these two points mantras for living over the next month or so, see how it goes, & I’ll come out of it with either a fresh way of looking at my life or a decision that I don’t want to look at life that way.  Either way, I will learn a lot.

I took notes on the rest of his book, which you can read here.

 My questions for Altucher,

  • What if it’s part of your job to judge people?
  • Regarding, acting like the dumbest person in the room – I find there’s an added complication here if you’re female & young, & often times it is already assumed by others in the room that you are the dumbest person in the room.  What do you suggest in this case?

All in all, I highly recommend this book.  It’s a quick, fun read with so much tangible wisdom & stories to share.  I also recommend following James Altucher on Twitter / reading his blog because he shares a lot of thought provoking & practical advice on there as well.  Disclaimer:  James Altucher did not pay me to write this post.  Nor did he even ask me to write it.  This was my decision.  Putting my oxygen mask on first =)

Venture on,

MEL aka Venture Gal

What Everyone Can Learn from Taylor Swift

U.S. Country music singer Taylor Swift perform...

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Last weekend I went to a Taylor Swift concert in Detroit.  What I really like about her music is that her songs tell stories.  Relatable stories.  For instance, what girl did not know a girl that got so wrapped up into a guy in high school?!  And who hasn’t wanted to tell someone “you’re so mean!”?!

Taylor Swift is very talented and a great entertainer.  The concert was more than her music, which is good since I not only heard Taylor singing, but thousands of screaming high-pitched girls.  It was an entire production.  Since her songs tell stories, the set, background dancers, costumes all added to the story, making the songs performed more like an entire show.  I was also impressed by her genuineness.  She did seem truly happy to be there and appreciative of all the people that came.
Between the opening acts and Taylor, the screens next the stage streamed texts sent in from the audience.  There was a few common themes: inspiration, role model, love.
  • Inspiration – many of the texts said Taylor inspired him/her to be a better singer and/or musician.
  • Role model – parents thanked Taylor for being a great role model for their child.
  • Love – not surprisingly there were the “TAYLOR I LOVE YOU MARRY ME” texts

I was left impressed during and after the show.  I also learned a few things that are not specifically targeted for musicians, entrepreneurs, or anyone in particular.  They are relevant to everyone:

  • Do what you love.  To truly by successful at something you must have passion.  Taylor clearly loves what she does – it is apparent when she is on stage.  For the text messages people sent about Taylor inspiring him/her to be a better singer, songwriter, musician, that’s great.  But really Taylor should inspire people to pursue their passions, do what they love even when obstacles stand in the way.  Not everyone is going to pick up a guitar, love it, be amazing at it, and years later be performing in front of millions of people.  But everyone is capable of finding something that makes him/her tick, pursuing it, being amazing, and be recognized for it.  Find that.  Do that.  Thrive.
  • Age is just a number.  Taylor is 21.  She started distributing her demo tape at age 11.  She was 17 when she released her debut single.  At 19, her second album debuted #1 on the Billboard charts and she became the youngest artist to win the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award.  These are the type of accomplishments that people often dream about.  Clearly age has not been the limiting factor for Taylor, nor should it be for anyone else.  Don’t use age as an excuse.
  • Reflect.  It’s important to take time to yourself to reflect on life, discover more about yourself, your interests, and to get your mind off work, school, friends, whatever.  I think this is important for a couple reasons:  It helps in passion discovery.  Going through the motions day by day and keeping up with a fast paced lifestyle doesn’t leave much time for thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it….unless you make time.  Spending time thinking about what you do, what you enjoy doing, what you want to do less of, what you want to do more of, and the like is time well spent.  It fuels creativity.  How long do you think it takes Taylor to write a song?  I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m guessing it’s a process, and takes more than 5 minutes of thinking about what to write about.  She must reflect on her experiences to package them into creativity crafted stories/songs.  There are other benefits to reflecting.  Individual results may vary so try it out for yourself.  Spend time focused on you.  

There you have it.  Lessons from a stadium full of screeching girls, their parents, spellbound guys, and me and my cronies.

Here’s a little something from the concert…

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