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  • Writer's pictureLidia Infante

11 life and career lessons I learnt in the last 10 years

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

In 2012 I got my first job in marketing as a PR and communications assistant for a brand of Irish bars in Barcelona. My heart has belonged to digital marketing ever since.

This summer marks my 10th year in the marketing industry. Throughout this decade, I've been gathering pieces of advice, looking for my guiding principles.

I've built this list by asking different people for pieces of advice and looking out for nuggets of wisdom in songs, movies, motivational posters… you name it.

For years I carried this list with me in a little notebook everywhere I went. It's truly helped me feel at ease and find my way more times than I can count.

I am excited to share this list with you today and offer you a glimpse into my own challenges. I hope this helps break down the illusion of effortless success and happiness that we all put out on social media.

1. Effortlessness is a myth

English is not my first language, and I am trying really hard for you not to notice. This takes effort. But for years, I used to think that showing effort would be perceived as a lack of talent.

Effortlessness is a lie. In fact, looking effortless takes even more work.

Today I will take effort over talent every time. Even if, in practice, I still struggle to show that I am making an effort at work.

I am trying really hard. And everyone else around you is trying too.

How I learnt it

Taylor Swift spoke of her history of trying to fake effortlessness in her graduation speech at NYU 2022. It's also a theme in the lyrics of her song “This is me trying”.

2. Great is just good repeated

This is a complicated truth for me because I want to be great, but I am not very consistent.

I work best in random bursts of genius or productivity. The truth is that small hyper-productive periods of greatness are not better than just showing up consistently, they're just more stressful.

Consistency is something I am profoundly working on in myself. It is genuinely difficult for me, but I am set on mastering this skill.

How I learnt it

I learnt this one by listening to the audiobook for Happy Sexy Millionaire by Steve Barlett.

3. An obsession with the other is just a distraction from yourself

This quote reminds me to look inward for my own life satisfaction instead of looking for something else to make me happy. This has been very useful for me in my career but also in my dating life.

If I have time to obsess about some guy not texting me back, then I’m missing something in my own personal life. So I shift my perspective, and I dig deeper to find out what I’m really missing and fill that gap.

I’ve also found this to be really helpful when I’m very pissed off with someone at work. Someone who doesn’t deliver on time or a difficult client can be a massive pain, but a shift in perspective can help you find ways to change how you work to be more solid.

How I learnt it

This is a bit embarrassing, but I first heard it from Amy Young, a dating coach I used to follow on Instagram. She’s gone a bit too woo-woo for me now, but she used to offer an interesting feminist take on dating.

4. Always do other people favours

I live by this. I love to help out others without expecting anything back. I think genuinely being the tide that rises all tides makes me happy. I apply this on my #SEOwomen threads and my day-to-day.

This has helped me make friends inside and outside of my professional life. Raising others up brings me tons of joy.

How I learnt it

I was on a date with a well-known businessman (humble brag 💅), and I asked him what the best advice he had ever received was. This was it.

He told me it helped him massively in his career, but he was also white, straight and male, so take it with a pinch of salt.

5. Getting shit done feels great

We’ve all been stuck having a bad day, with a pile of stuff to do and zero motivation. Then you’re off on a downward spiral of guilt and stress.

A nice little way to get yourself out of that rut is to accomplish something small. Write a list and pick something to do. It’ll get you out of the guilt/laziness spiral.

I must confess I don’t follow this rule so closely. My inbox is damn crowded, and I owe many people a reply to their emails. This eats away at me every day of my life.

How I learnt it

This has been said a million times before, but I think I learnt it from some random newsletter.

6. Timidity creates nothing

Hiding from what I want or being shy won’t get me anywhere. Reminding myself of this pushes me to act even when I am scared, or I’m feeling small.

This is my rule of thumb when building out marketing and SEO strategies too. I try to be bold and at the forefront of the industry. I fail often, but when I win, it truly makes a difference.

How I learnt it

Silly me thought I made this one up, but googling while writing this article, I realised this is a quote from author Madeline Miller. Who knew? I’ve not read her books, so I imagine I picked this up from some inspirational Pinterest quote.

7. When undecided, ask yourself what would make a better story

I am the queen of turning not-so-great experiences into hilarious stories. And I’m always ready to add to my repertoire!

In the autumn of 2020 I was offered a job at an SEO agency, having to move from Barcelona to Sheffield, a city I had never been to before. During a pandemic. I asked myself, what would make a better story? To stay in my city or to move somewhere completely random in the UK and try to meet Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys?

I try to approach situations with a “yes” mindset. I’m not quite sure how they will turn out, but I’m sure they’ll make a great story regardless.

This helps me choose some unconventional paths which have led me to meet amazing people and have incredible experiences all around the world.

How I learnt it

Okay, I genuinely think I made this one up.

8. Sucking at something is the first step to being kind of good at something

Growing up as a gifted kid, being good at academics was my whole identity. As an adult, this means that if I’m not instantly good at something I try, I just drop it.

I have to keep reminding myself that sucking at something is typical and expected and that it doesn’t make me any less deserving of love. But I don’t get this right every time, and I’m still quitting a bunch of stuff that I am not good at.

Some of the stuff I’ve not quit this year despite being terrible at it is: playing Dungeons and Dragons, weightlifting and, very occasionally, bouldering. Baby steps.

How I learnt it

This was on a Tik Tok sound! It will play in my head forever.

9. Act like the person you’re trying to become

In my personal life, I am obviously trying to become “that girl”. Aren’t we all?

I’ve got a personal trainer, I get facials and my eyebrows done monthly, I eat 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day, and I stay hydrated. I just need to get a decent sense of style and I’ll be mostly good on that front.

In my professional life, I’m trying to become a great team player, someone who is remembered for being a pleasure to work with and an excellent communicator. I am not there yet, but I pretend I am, and I can feel myself getting closer to my goal every time.

How I learnt it

This is from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book did not change my life and fix all of my flaws as I expected, but it certainly provided some guidance that has helped me make big improvements in my life.

10. Showing up is the hardest part

Starting something is hard. Facing the blank pages, putting on your workout clothes and going to the gym, having a difficult conversation…

Behavioural sciences have been researching the reasons why we procrastinate so much for years. There are essentially two reasons:

  1. Task transition issues - We struggle ending what we are currently doing and switching to a different activity.

  2. Task initiation issues - We struggle getting started. This is what we’re dealing with here.

This helps me by reminding me to focus on the first 2-5 minutes of the task, knowing that if I can get through those, I can probably get through the whole thing. And this is actually backed by psychology!

How I learnt it

This one is also from Atomic Habits by James Clear.

11. Do the next right thing

If the bigger picture is muddy and you can’t figure out what the best choice is in the grand scheme of things, just do the next right thing.

If you don’t know what the next step is in your career to reach your 5-10 years goal, just do the next thing that excites you.

How I learnt it

From queen Anna of Arendelle in Frozen 2, duh.

My therapist told me something very similar 5 years ago, so I guess that counts too.


I hope this was helpful! Do you have a similar list of rules to live by? Reply to this tweet and let me know.

If you fancy reading any of the books I mentioned, know that I might get a small commission from Amazon. I’ve never done affiliate stuff before, so I thought I’d give it a try!


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