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The Advice Parents Don’t Want You To Hear

I’ve been incredibly lucky. In fact, some may say I have a horse shoe stuck in my you know what. Let me explain: I started out wanting to be a singing and acting sensation (really, what kid doesn’t?). I took lessons, had some (minor) accolades for my work, and even got to travel to Europe on a tour! Then the time came where I was told I had to decide what I was going to study in school. I’ll admit, the LAST thing I ever wanted to do after highschool was jump into a post secondary education – infact, I was willing to do anything to avoid any more useless dictation and theory. You see, I always did well in school – you could even say above average in some classes. However, I get frustrated easily, and have a hard time forging passion for projects that have no result beyond a grading from one subjective person. The reality is: in the workplace, your work is seen by many – and there’s not always one right answer to achieve the end result. To me, school seemed like there were many ‘wrong ways’ to do something, and only one right way to get the stamp of approval. Reluctantly, I attended post secondary school. It wasn’t until after finishing that I realized the purpose was never furthering my education, but simply another opportunity to start growing up.

This brings me to a recent encounter with an acquaintance of mine. She… well,  let’s call her ‘Margarita’ for writing’s sake. Margarita had reached a point in her early twenties where she had just graduated school and had no idea what to do with herself. Parents experience empty nest syndrome after youth leave the home, and it’s my firm belief that youth have a similar sort of symptom soon after graduation. This was certainly the case for good old Marg. You see, Margarita has worked the odd job, and even has some fantastic opportunities on the horizon. Her problem? She wasn’t sure if the path she’d paved so far was one she wanted to continue on.

I think this happens to many of us early on in discovering what the world has in store for us. I jumped from job to job for many years – in fact, I can probably walk the streets of Toronto and recall a place of employment within each kilometre of travel. The truth is, everyone moves at their own pace when trying to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. The important thing to remember is: the alphabet has 26 letters, and it’s ok if ‘A to B’ becomes ‘A to Z’.

If there’s any advice I’d be able to give to people in this situation, I think it would be this:

We constantly think that we’re in a race. A race against our peers, our family, and ourselves. We make these master plans that map out exactly how we’re going to accomplish the aspirations we have in life, yet we rarely are actually able to follow these detailed scripts. Take your time, make mistakes, and have some fun – opportunity is always around the corner but don’t just jump into it because you think you HAVE to. It’s ok to take a step back, wait tables, bartend, or work in retail for awhile just until you get things figured out. Sometimes you just have to live life until the right opportunity presents itself.

Please don’t interpret any of this as an encouragement to lose your ambition and drive, because by no means do I think that people should become complacent or simply settle. This is directed at those who know they’re destined for greatness in the world – but have yet to figure out how to unleash their strengths. Have a plan, but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t materialize in the time period you sought out. Practise and patience mixed with progressive behaviour and positivity will take you to your destination. Many of the most successful people I know have arrived where they are after something that wasn’t in their ‘plan’ somehow bumped them off course. As it turns out, sometimes a detour is the faster way to get to your destination.

As for Margarita? I poured her another cocktail, and told her to follow her gut.

    Film Fridays: 2 Vids You Should Watch

    Each Friday, I’m going to scope out a couple of videos for your viewing enjoyment. Some will be resources, and some will be just plain ‘special’.

    The first of this breed is an instructional video on how to tie a tie. I think this is a skill a lot of us didn’t pick up along the way, so enjoy (I’d love to hear your thoughts about why this individual may have felt compelled to share her techniques with the world – and anything you have to say about her name: ‘Pink So Foxy’).

    The final video is this collection of ads that I found while putting around the inter-web. Warning: the first one is disgusting.


    Have a fab weekend everyone, and thanks for checking in.

      Entitled Youth: 4 Things You Need to Know

      There’s a common misconception of my generation that we’re all very entitled-minded people. Yes, our parents have had the benefit of a some-what steady economy (at least, up until a few years ago), and I know myself and many of my friends have reaped the benefits of that. I grew up with parents who nickle and dime absolutely everything – not because they have to, but because they plan for disruption. That said, I’ve grown up with a humble outlook on life – knowing that I have to earn every piece of success that I want to obtain.

      The unfortunate part is: youth in the media are depicted as Jessica Simpson pondering the existence of tuna within a tuna can. Yes, the reference is a little dated, but still – imagine how much the media has distorted youth since 2001. I know it’s extreme to resort to immediate pop culture references when comparing to corporate culture, but you have to wonder – how many top level execs have seen this trashy media and unwillingly let it slip into their subconscious? I’m extremely lucky to work in a progressive environment that thrives on the talent of youth in the workplace, while impressing challenge to accomodate growth. However, not all youth are so lucky.

      I was recently reminded of a few key facts that we as youth really need to remember while pursuing our life dreams and desires, and I thought I’d share them with you.

      1. You Drive The Car – Every move you make teaches people how to respond to you. Be sure that the image and persona you project is one that you’re proud of. If you’re unsure of what you appear to others as, ask for an opinion from a close friend or co-worker – feedback is IMPORTANT.

      2. Work Your Butt Off – If you really want something, it can be yours. All of this comes with a cost of practice and patience – but you need to be driven enough to start from the bottom.

      3. Make Sure You’re In The Know – I constantly get feedback from my job, and I’m sure my boss will tell you how often I require it (sometimes to a fault). The fact is, don’t allow yourself to slip – always check in and make sure you’re meeting (or exceeding) requirements. It always feels good to know that you’re on the right track, and I’m sure your boss will appreciate the check in.

      and finally:

      4. Make Sure You’re Valued – It’s easy to undermine yourself, particularily when you’re early in your career. Make sure that the environment you work in embraces you and allows you to grow. I know we don’t always have the luxury of being selective with our careers – but we can make the choice to do something if we’re unhappy. Believe me: you DO NOT have to be stuck somewhere that you feel badly or unwanted. If you want a change, you have the ability to make it happen.

      That’s all for today, and please feel free to sound off with any comments or feedback – I’m anxious to hear your views.

        The Die Hard Executor

        In my eyes, there’s 2 types of motivation behind employees in the workplace today. Having been in the corporate space for some time, it’s apparent to me that both can exist side by side – and even cross-over to create realms of extreme corporate value.

        1. The Executor

        The title speaks volumes. This individual is fantastic at getting the job done, and will accomplish all that you ask of them. They work while they’re at work, and when the time comes – they ‘punch-out’ and return to their daily lives and families. This type generally is apt to have a strong list of outside hobbies, and interests beyond their work.

        2. The Die Hard

        No, not the action packed Bruce Willis type, but the individual who doesn’t (and can’t) leave their work at their desk. These people wake up in the morning with their mind ‘a-buzz’, pre-calculating their days and constantly diverting to work related subjects in their heads (on and off the clock). These people tend to be driven by a certain passion that simply won’t rest until they’ve proven themselves, or contributed to a self-dictated bench mark of their liking.

        I find that I tend to fall into type 2 regularly, as I’m always thinking about what I can do to make the product or service I’m working on better. My friends and family would agree: I always have something to input, and I certainly won’t hold back an opinion if I feel strongly about it.

        Now both motivational types are extremely valuable to a company: one finds pure enjoyment in fulfilling what’s required and can turn the ‘work switch’ off, while the other’s passion drives them to an unparallelled loyalty to their company or brand objectives. I feel that part of a great workplace is having a balance of talent to compliment each other: there’s absolutely no point in a group of same-minded people working together. That will leave a zero percent chance that as a team, you’ll uncover ground breaking territory and really innovate as the world demands today.

        Now it’s your turn to sound off: what ‘type’ are you, and what do you find motivates you in the workplace? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this subject, and welcome any feedback or questions.


          To break or burst; rupture.

          If I could list the few important things I’ve learned in my 28 years on earth, I’m sure I’d come up with 100+ really valid life lessons. The problem is: tomorrow, I’d probably alter at least 100+ of them to reflect different learnings. My generation is living in a world of change. A world where you can go to bed, and in the morning, there’s a new game changing movement swept into our iPhones, Androids, iPads, laptops (and ok, blackberry’s too). A world where social media, email, and even day to day chatter revolves around the newest creations destined to change our lives for the better.

          As a young marketer in this space, I feel as though I spend a lot of my time just catching up on the latest buzz words, techy miracles, and filler articles on There’s nothing wrong with this, but I have to say: working in a strictly online world can be a huge mistake. Throughout time, we’ve evolved from the pigeon carrier, to telegrams, to sending letters by post, to email, and finally to tweets. But one detrimental piece is missing: good old fashion mouth to mouth. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that preface their conversation with “Hi I’m [insert name here], and you can follow me at [insert twitter handle here]“. Immediately, that tells me a few key facts: a) I know your name, b) before we even begin to forge a relationship, you feel it necessary that I follow your minute by minute broadcasts to the world. Don’t get me wrong: twitter is a powerful tool, and don’t get me started on networking. But when did we reach the point that it was no longer acceptable to acknowledge each other, and really learn what the person before us was all about. Granted, I love following people- and I’m all for adding to the daily content I see when logging in for the day – but it’s the person behind the text that I find much more interesting.

          Disruption is defined as:

          dis·rupt  (ds-rpt)

          tr.v. dis·rupt·ed, dis·rupt·ing, dis·rupts

          1. To throw into confusion or disorder: Protesters disrupted the candidate’s speech.
          2. To interrupt or impede the progress, movement, or procedure of: Our efforts in the garden were disrupted by an early frost.
          3. To break or burst; rupture.
          I feel that definition needs some updating. Disruption is a test. A test of our agility, street smarts, adaptability and strength. Disruption is a reality of today, and it’s not going away any time soon. I’m making a vow to embrace disruption, and make it work for me – and there’s no time like the present (’cause who knows what tomorrow brings).
          Hi, I’m Cory Stewart and you can follow me at @coryjstewart.

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