I’ve gotten some really good advice from a lot of people over the years.
When someone stubbornly refuses to go to the hospital despite the symptoms of heart attack or stroke, don’t waste time arguing with them. Call the Paramedics, they'll arrive in a flash and they have all the specialized gear and they will bring it in, saving an eventual ride to the hospital or a less appealing destination for the potential patient.
I forget who taught me this one but it’s a keeper - “Never mess with a pig, because you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it”.
I got a piece of advice from a female friend who told me to start planning my next vacation on the plane ride home. Always have something to look forward to was her mantra.
From an older woman who calmed me down when someone was slandering me “Never worry about what fools will believe”.
From the booklet that crossed my desk produced by Federal Industries, head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the early 80’s - “Keep it Simple, Make it Happen”.
From my first boss in the Investment Industry whose reply was always the same when I ran into his office with a crisis of any and many, many magnitudes - “DRIVE ON”
From another older woman who used to calm me down when I was first living on straight commission with an 8 year old son in the worst markets in decades. Finding $5 to go to McDonalds wasn't easy. I knew that this was "My Only Shot", I didn't have a university education so it was guts, determination and I like to think some brains so I held on for much longer than many people (including my son) wanted me to. Keeping your desk in those markets was the goal, to survive to see the next Bull Market whenever that might be. I remember senior Management putting up little notes in the coffee room because they were selling their luxury vehicles. We could hardly afford gas. My car's gas gauge was broken so I would put in about $5 a week. One week I waited a day too long and my son and I ran out of gas just after I turned on to Wilson Avenue in Toronto just after leaving Avenue Road. It happened just as we crested on the large hill, the engine stopping and we sailed down the very high hill to the intersection at York Mills and Yonge, eventually momentum carrying us through the (Thank You God, GREEN light at the intersection), stopping right beside the pumps at the gas station on the east side of the intersection.
I remember in the first few years my boss would tell me "Take care of your clients for five years and eventually they will take care of you". Five years can be a very long time.
He would continually tell me that the day would come when I would pay in personal income taxes what I was earning then for a whole year. It seemed pretty much impossible but after about 5 years, the tide turned.
Before the tide turned, my debt levels reached almost twice my gross income while trying to pay for food, clothing and shelter, no luxuries. The DOW was BELOW 2,000 and no one believed that stocks would ever go up again in our lifetimes. Ha!!
I used to wake up in the middle of the night because I could never save a nickel and worry “How am I going to save anything for my retirement???”. This wonderfully wise woman taught me, “Pay the minimum fee every month on the credit cards, don’t lose sleep about it and don’t worry, tomorrow will take care of itself”.
From another boss/friend who I worked for many years and taught me among other things “Plan your work, work your plan”. He saw me through many a crisis including the day that he drove me up University Avenue in Toronto at about 150MPH in his Porsche because I had just gotten the news that my apartment was on fire and I begged him to get me there as fast as he could.
When my head was glued to the back of the head rest because of the speed, eventually I asked him to slow down because I didn’t want to have to go to the hospital in a car accident before I got to what was left of my new home.
I taught that boss/friend that when I walked into his office I would usually say “I have good news and I have bad news, which one ya want first?”
Oh, he would start shaking his head. (I'm chuckling at the memory)
He knew me well, and he never knew what I would do next. But then again, neither did I, but more often than not it meant that I wanted someone to “cover” my desk while I got on a plane to go somewhere with a faaabulous beach and years later to a remote location with an amazing reef in a country where English was rarely spoken.
I used to take a lot of heat from my colleagues, and my boss did as well from his superiors, who considered it a badge of honor that they hadn’t had a vacation in 6 or 7 years, and so who was I to leave the office again, what?? a scant 3-6 months after the last trip!!
Since I had started burying my friends starting with my childhood best friend Nancy who died after losing control of her brand new car on the (401) highway to Toronto and dying in the accident as she drove to Toronto celebrate her 21st birthday with her parents who had just moved there, I knew that we don't necessarily get all the time in this world that we want. I would listen to their moans and groans about my incessant traveling, (having a blast!! usually arriving back to the office with a fabulous tan) and pull out my suitcase a month in advance so I could put one item per day in it until the day I left.
Sadly, I lost many of my friends to cancer as the decades rolled by and since my mother’s youngest sister died of cancer at the age of 16 and my grandmother followed her two years later at the age of 62, also of cancer, I would close my eyes and pray when I had to go for so many of those cancer tests and listen to the results in my doctor’s office. I’ve had a couple of close calls but the “Big C” as we used to call it never knocked on my door to my eternal surprise but undying gratitude.
And finally, my favorite, which isn't really advice but more of a motto which is carved into a plaque in my home:
“Do not go where the path will lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I was so fortunate to cross paths with so many people from my first days working just after high school, who helped me and taught me well, so in the "Pay it Forward" tradition, I hope you'll find a phrase or two that might help you.