From the Reality of Vampires to the Importance of NOT Asking Permission: Things I Wish I’d Known

Yes, that’s me in the picture.

And while I think we can all agree I am channeling Lucy Van Pelt at her finest there is always more to learn, so when I was asked by Montana State University to give a quick talk on “Things I Wish I Had Known” it didn’t take me long to come up with the following six.

My hope is that three help you conserve energy and three give you a boost.

1. There are ‘Foul Weather Friends’: We know about fair weather friends—those who turn up in good times—but people talk less about foul weather friends: those who are on the line the minute they hear you’ve been fired/are getting divorced/your kid has made a kooky choice. Steer clear.

2. Ditto: Psychic Vampires: Psychic vampires are the people who, when you say, “I’m thinking of doing X!” say, (sympathetically) “Do you really think that’s a good idea? Remember when Y happened?” As you feel your enthusiasm drain away, you’ll know who took it.

3. Perhaps most insidious: “Intimacy Terrorists”: This term comes to me from my friend Timothy and I looooove it. It is for use when an acquaintance leaps out of the woodwork and assumes a bizarre level of interest in intimate aspects of your life. Run: don’t walk.

And now for the boost.

4. You Have to Back Your Own Talent: Randomly, this point was best made for me by Russell Crowe in his “Inside the Actor’s Studio” interview. He was talking about giving up a well-paying role because he believed he should hold out for something bigger. His point – and mine to you—if you’re not willing to back your own talent, why should anybody else?

5. Don’t Ask Permission: Too often we wait to do what we want to do because we don’t think we have the right credentials, degrees, sponsorship, etc. Sometimes this is true (I prefer to have surgeons n’ such credentialed) but sometimes taking one more course is not the answer. Sometimes you need to dive in.

6. There’s Plenty of Room at the Top: When I first started my media training business I was taken to breakfast by a client who—literally– lived points 4 and 5: without a college degree, she started a brand that she subsequently sold for millions. What did she say to me over English muffins? “Here’s what nobody tells you: there’s plenty of room at the top, so come on up.”

I have found this to be true.

Pass it on.

I wish I’d known it sooner.