Brain Exercise is a Group Activity


I teach college students about the last step before launching into a career in communication/marketing/advertising. Job titles, how to negotiate, what to expect.

They have learned models. Had their writing critiqued. Know the rent is due.

But they want to be account managers. Or PR directors. Or brand planners. Or, basically, successful.

Me, too.

I want to be successful. I want to be fulfilled and needed and smart and the go-to. It took me decades to not only know how to do that, but to know what it meant.

It’s a complicated matrix of pay and schedule and place and co-workers and perks and work and excitement and the brand you work for and the cache of your business and your industry and your title and what you can do that no one else can and what you know and how you learn and how you share.

Or is it?

I realized today, successful is best defined by a “a satisfying mental exhaustion that you gave your all and it mattered.” My brain has been exercised. Worked out. Stretched. Strained. Trained. Activated. Like a Cross Fit workout, it hit some personal records today.

Know how I know?

I wrote about a million thank you notes.

This is adulting. I realized that my greatest moment of success was only because I had built trust, respect and reliance on a team that showed up for me.

And, I realized they did.

That’s the key. I know I had help. I know I had support.

As I wrote each thank you, offered each song of gratitude to people, it became easier and easier to realize I’d done good work. We’d done good work. And, the work wasn’t just today’s effort. The work was building the team. Empowering the people. Asking for and accepting the help.

The work was the stuff of the thank yous.

I’m feeling successful. I’m mentally exhausted. I’m crazy proud of my team. My co-workers. My business. My industry. My brain. I’m ready to go again tomorrow.

I’m dying to see who else is in, who I can thank next.

People stitch phrases about gratitude on pillows. Pin them on Pinterest. Give thanks. Be grateful. That sounds empty.

I’d say, earn the right to have people to thank. Build that group. That team. That army who wants what you want, who wants to be successful. Then, gratitude just follows.

Recognize every tiny detail and every supportive gesture. That’s harder than general gratitude.

Exercising your brain isn’t a solo activity. To be successful, you have to learn how to pull others in, ask them. Thank them. Grow from them. Exhaust it. Use it all and come back for more.

Now, to teach that to soon-to-be graduate focused on rent and titles how to focus on teams and support. Mental exercise and collaboration. Spotting skills and using them. Sharing.





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maryt1 View All →

Feminist, activist, outdoor advocate, animal lover, chocolate shake lover, reader, watcher, talker, actor, speaker, worker, writer, urban adventurer, hustler, involved, passionate, excited, ready.

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