100 Things I Wish I Knew A Long Time Ago

Here are the things that I wish I knew when I was younger. These aren’t in any particular order.

Hopefully, they bring you some value or fire up a discussion in your shop.

Want to add to the list? Leave a comment below!

  • The right time to take action is usually now. Do it!
  • Cultivate relationships with suppliers, other industry friends, and just generally good people. It is up to you to keep it going.
  • If you are the smartest person in the group, you are in the wrong group.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Try and fail. That’s how you learn.
  • There is always more to learn. It is up to you to take action and find out what is next.
  • Your customers only care about how the sausage is made about 5% of the time. And the time they care most is when there is a mistake on their order.
  • Publicly praise, privately condemn.
  • If you have meetings with employees, always shut the door, whether it is a good or a bad meeting. If you only shut the door when someone is in trouble, that signals to everyone there is a problem.
  • As a leader, your job is to elevate performance and create more leaders.
  • Forgiveness is a gift that you hand to yourself.
  • Stay calm. Work on the problem.
  • Listen more, speak less. I’m always working on this one.
  • Go to where the work is being completed. Observe what is happening.
  • Ask your staff what doesn’t work the way it should. Fix it.
  • If you can, go see someone. Personal connections are what drive relationships.
  • It is always 100% about your customer.
  • Prioritize. Knock out the most impactful things first.
  • Always seek clarity. What does success look like?
  • Reacting to problems solves symptoms. What is the root cause of the situation?
  • It is not what you preach, it is what you tolerate.
  • What do other people need to know? Get that out of your head and into theirs.
  • Nobody pays the juggler to toss one ball. There is value in difficulty.
  • Actions reveal priorities.
  • Say thank you more.
  • Take time to learn about others.
  • Be nice. It costs nothing.
  • You are the average of the five or six people you hang around with the most. If you want to improve, change your crowd.
  • There are people that no matter what, are not good for you. Move on.
  • Try to do things that scare you or seem like a stretch goal. This is where growth happens.
  • When someone recommends a book, write that down and then buy it. Make sure you read it.
  • Time can be more valuable than money. What is eating your time?
  • Find the humor in things if at all possible. Especially when there is anxiety or tense situations.
  • Be original. Sing in your own voice.
  • Find and celebrate the unique.
  • Be confident in yourself, even if you are nervous or aren’t sure about something. Nobody can read your mind, but they can read your body posture or hear the nervousness in your voice.
  • Dump things that don’t work. Stick with things that do.
  • Often there is a reason why something is cheaper.
  • What’s next?
  • Set ambitious goals. Work out a plan to achieve them. Then, actually, show up and take action.
  • Be happy in your work. If you can’t be happy doing what you do, then find something else.
  • Trust goes both ways.
  • You don’t get paid what you are worth. You get paid what you negotiate.
  • The devil is in the details. Are you focused on them?
  • Things change. Are you changing with them?
  • If people work for you, it is your job to motivate, encourage, train, and protect them.
  • Slow down. Double-check your work before moving on.
  • Keep your head up and observe. What’s really going on?
  • Ask, “What do we need to be able to do this?” Not, “Sorry…we can’t do it.”
  • If you aren’t early, you are running late.
  • Who or what inspires you? Get more of that in your life.
  • It is ok to change your mind. That is a sign of intelligence, especially if there is new information.
  • Try to get 1% better every day. Improvements stack.
  • You are what you frequently do.
  • Involve more people. Talk about bigger ideas. Get the words “What if” into the conversations more.
  • Don’t work for jerks.
  • Schedule time to think and create. You have to prioritize this.
  • Family time is important. Vacations are important. It is ok to relax and do nothing. Get away from electronics if you can.
  • Do you have the right people? Are they doing the right things? Are they doing those things correctly?
  • Know what bothers you. Solve that.
  • Try to make work fun.
  • Take more notes. You will not remember it. Act on what you write down.
  • Be consistent.
  • If you go to a business event, always have at least ten business cards with you. Make sure you leave with zero.
  • Life is what happens on your way to something else. Embrace the chaos.
  • Ship or publish before things are ready. Keep making things better. Don’t wait until it is perfect. It is an illusion.
  • It is ok to say no.
  • Nobody works just for money. There are other reasons why they are there. Do you know them?
  • Don’t have meetings that could be an email.
  • Ask, “What would a professional do?” Then, do that.
  • There are people out there that have already solved the problem you are struggling with. Find them and talk to them.
  • You don’t know the real story. Talk to people about what is going on. Be patient and listen.
  • Everyone learns differently. How can you teach them better?
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. You are only as big as what makes you angry.
  • Respect is earned, not given. Try to earn respect every day.
  • Have a morning routine.
  • If you do the same thing repeatedly, try to build a template.
  • Work on improving processes. In each step, what is the best possible outcome needed? Ensure that it happens that way.
  • Leaders eat last.
  • Ask, “Am I waiting on you, or are you waiting on me?”
  • Really talented and skilled people have confidence and egos. Learn to manage that.
  • Have a goal. Work toward that. Without a goal, you will end up wherever.
  • Profit matters most in business. Work to improve that.
  • There are usually a few reasons why something isn’t working the way it should. Time? Training? Materials? Processes? Equipment? Willingness?
  • You can only move as fast as the slowest part of your process.
  • When people complain, that means they still care. People that are unhappy that don’t complain have given up.
  • When in doubt, ask “Tell me something good that happened today.”
  • Begin with the end in mind.
  • Being creative often means taking risks. What risks are you willing to take?
  • Content creators are seen as authority figures by the people that consume the content.
  • Smile more.
  • Define the journey. Understand what you are getting into.
  • What would you need to be another level better?
  • Always carry a pen and paper with you.
  • You can’t deposit excuses.
  • Try collaborating with someone else to build something new.
  • What are you doing that will make an impact on someone else in a positive way?
  • When designing, remove the clutter. Emphasize a visual hierarchy.
  • Drink more water.
  • Your best friend is a handshake away.

“Learn from yesterday, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

“A man that carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” – Mark Twain

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. A few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers


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Marshall

Marshall Atkinson also shares exclusive blog content at Supacolor.com. Supacolor makes The World’s Best Heat Transfer and provides tips, inspiration, and other resources designed to empower professional garment printers.