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And 9 More Life Lessons From Disney 

I’m just back from speaking/emceeing the 2013 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that was held at Walt Disney World and it was a BLAST (quick note: if you’d like me to come speak to your group, click here)! You may recall, I was one of the featured speakers there a couple of years ago and it was there, I told my whole tale of reinvention for the first time. Because of that, Disney Social Media Moms is very special to me and I was honored when they asked me to come back.

I took the opportunity to share a little about what’s been going on with me (Exhale, Sweet Retreats and so much more) but also told the group the lessons I’d learned in that time.

A few days ago, @FeistyFrugal hit me up on Twitter, asking if I had written the lessons as a post. I had not and couldn’t even tell her why I hadn’t (I can only say sometimes you can’t see the forrest for the trees). Well, I’m changing that now, so here they are with a special shout-out to the Disney Social Media Moms and Dads who chose these characters as their favorites.


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Yep, this is where it all begins. We all have it; do you know yours? If not how would you find it? I always tell people your passion is that thing you love so much you would do it for free. Find it then build on it.

Life Lessons: Heather Adams
Life Lessons: Carla Birnberg


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Once you’ve figured out that thing that makes you go wild, you need to work hard. No, really, REALLY hard at it. I’m always astounded by people who think they’re going to be able to build a brand/business by working 4 hours a day, 4 days a week (many are people who, “want to get into blogging.”). Honing your passion means eating, drinking, BREATHING it. Note: a mission statement will help you stay on track.

Life Lessons: Wes Holloman
Life Lessons: Nicole Mogan


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There will always be someone who has more money, fewer pounds, more hair or whatever, than you do. Run your own race. Live your own life. Want to be unhappy and miserable? Keep comparing yourself to others.

Life Lessons: Charlene DeLoach


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Once you’ve figured it out and are working hard to hone your passion/brand/business you need to protect it. In my case, I own a family of trademarks regarding Good Enough Mother and have big plans for them that involve drinks adorned with tiny umbrellas on an island that I OWN. Yeah, dreams like that need to be protected, and I fiercely guard my trademarks when I have to.

Life Lessons: Mary Connor


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And THIS! Truly.. you have to believe you can do it, whatever it is. The reason you need to believe it is because there are going to be a lot of people who don’t. Keep them out of your head and space, if necessary. Then keep plugging away.

Life Lessons: Lisa Robertson


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Some of the things I see in social media make the rough and tumble world of TV news look like a Saturday at the park. I’m stunned by the people who tell their kids to play nice with one another yet cannot manage to do the same online. Playing nice doesn’t mean compromising your values or position; you can still be polite and get your point across. Your kids are watching you so show then how to do it.

Life Lessons: Krystyn@seriouskrystyn
Life Lessons: Jodi @Jodifur
Life Lessons: Autumn Bradshaw


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You want to win big? You gotta bet big, as anyone who’s spent any amount of time in Las Vegas knows. Put your fear in a little bag, bury it deep in the bottom of your closet and then take a huge, freaking risk. Sort of like well—->

Life Lessons: Kelli Stuart


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Ella! Some of you know her (our) story; the high points are a made-for-success story. Ella sees me on TV and thinks, ” Hey I like that lady and her message. Maybe I could get her to mentor me.” She, at the time, was home with a new baby and needed something to keep her skills sharp, having been laid off from her previous job. I needed help in a major way. I couldn’t mentor her, and told her so, in a nice way. But Ella would not take no for an answer. She kept coming up with reasons she should work for me, including that one I could not argue with: she was willing to work for free.

She didn’t know everything about journalism, or running websites or marketing but she was willing to take a risk, humble enough to ask and smart enough to know that her payment wouldn’t just be monetary.

Life Lessons: Ella Rucker Part Deux


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This is SO important and complements another GEM-ism, “There is no room in your life for people who make you feel bad.” Period. Got friends who are SO happy for your success that they are green with envy? There’s a name for them: frenemies..  Jettison them.

Life Lessons: Pilar Clark


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Sloppy doesn’t sell. You are representing yourself/brand/blog/business to the world. If your content is crap, the layout is poor or posts are rife with spelling errors, people just won’t buy. There are too many options out there for them to settle for something subpar. Take the time and do it right.

Life Lessons: Erin Williams


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Hello? Anyone feelin’ me on this one? I closed my remarks with this because throughout my career, I had people helping me; agents, managers, lawyers and so on. But at the end of the day, my success lies solely with me. I was the one with the vision and I had to be the one to see it happen. That’s not to say I didn’t have help, just that I had to be the one to tell them what I needed. I needed to be the architect of my life and career.

Or, another way of saying it, ” Don’t be a dinghy battered about by the waves. Get out your freaking oar and row!”

Life Lessons: Jennifer Patrick
Life Lessons: Kuleen Lashley
Life Lessons: Nanette Gomez
Life Lessons: Andrea Updyke
Life Lessons: Erin Lane


So that’s the speech I gave at Disney Social Media Moms 2013. Of course, I have many, MANY more Life Lessons that I talk about here but I want to know this; what would you add to this list? What’s the BIGGEST Life Lesson you’ve learned and why?

More from GEM:

The GEM Debate: When Will People Start Accepting, “Good Enough” (VIDEO)? 

Our Story Begins: Kids, Commercials and NOTHING Left To The Imagination

GEM Approved: The Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess