25 Lessons Learned (or Reconfirmed) in 1 Year Away from Corporate Life

by Mike Brown

25 Lessons Learned (or Reconfirmed) in 1 Year Away from Corporate LifeIt’s been about one year since I left corporate life to pursue The Brainzooming Group full-time. Here are some of the lessons I understand now that I didn’t understand nearly as well one year ago.

  1. You’re better off to not think someone else in business shares your same performance standards.
  2. You’re definitely better off to not openly assess your own performance in light of your overly-high standards. Give yourself a break.
  3. A lot of the same problems exist in lots of companies, so don’t think your crap is so special.
  4. Despite preparing as much as you think you can to get ready to do something new, you’ll discover things you didn’t prepare for the minute you actually commit to doing it.
  5. All that stuff they tell you about the importance of networking (especially when you don’t really need the network)? It’s all true. And then some.
  6. It’s possible to get by without caffeine, but you better get some more sleep if you’re going cold turkey.
  7. Slow pay is the first step in slow death. Cash is (and always will be) king.
  8. Business development is more rewarding than I ever imagined.
  9. Most things happen about when they should happen.
  10. The corporate hierarchy doesn’t necessarily flush out sociopaths. They can get, and apparently hang on to, really good jobs. And even if they get fired, somebody else seems ready to hire them again.
  11. There are great, trustworthy people all over that are wonderful to do business with.
  12. People don’t necessarily know or even have a remote idea of the major impact they’ve had on others.
  13. Sometimes, you do have to jump.
  14. Too many people don’t seem to look for the learning opportunities in uncomfortable or apparently bad situations. Do yourself a favor…shut up and go to school right away.
  15. It’s easy to give away what you do for free. Some of that’s okay. Some of it isn’t. Figure out which is which in a hurry.
  16. The good results from taking a chance aren’t necessarily going to happen right away. It may take months. Or longer. If it was important enough to do in the first place, it’s important enough to be patient about it.
  17. Sometimes telling you, “No” is the biggest favor someone can do for you. Quit trying to convince them to tell you, “Yes.”
  18. Short naps during the work day really help you be better at what you do. We’d all be better off if we admitted that.
  19. When things are going really well for a prolonged period of time, you need to think about walking away and letting somebody else have their shot at new-found success.
  20. There are projects portrayed as “sure things” which are very important and have very tight timelines that have no chance of happening.
  21. “Does this really matter?” and “Will this ever matter?” are two of the three best questions you can ask.
  22. “What are we trying to achieve?” is the other one.
  23. If you’re not able to portray yourself as successful at something, you’re not defining “success” in the right way.
  24. Getting up to go to mass each weekday at 6:30 a.m. provides the most important reason in the world to get up along with creativity and tremendous structure to the day.
  25. People (and pets) will step up and try to fill voids when they exist. What’s really cool is they’ll probably fill them in very unexpected ways. Sit back and see what happens.

Don’t miss an article (1,850+) – Subscribe to our RSS feed and join our Continuous Innovation group!


Mike BrownMike Brown is an award-winning innovator in strategy, communications, and experience marketing. He authors the BrainzoomingTM blog, and serves as the company’s chief Catalyst. He wrote the ebook “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” and is a frequent keynote presenter.