How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

Because when you live to be 103, you create a lot of stories along the way. :)

My paternal grandmother was a member of what some call the Greatest Generation, and a force to be reckoned with. She outlived two husbands and a son. Made it through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Era.

She saw women get the right to vote, men walk on the moon, and the fall of the Wall in Berlin. She witnessed the invention of radio, then TV, then something called “the Internet”.

And she saw all of our struggles and triumphs as well.

So last week, when the inimitable Ms.Nettie crossed over into the next stage of her life’s Journey, yes – there were many tears.

But there was also great joy.

This post isn’t about how to succeed in your business. But, as my own coach says, “How you do anything is how you do everything”.

So how you live, and how you work, is also how you create, survive – and succeed.

I wrote the following a few years ago, right after Granny’s 100th birthday celebration. And in honor of her amazing life, it feels right to share it again.

Perhaps something here will help you too – in your life, and maybe even your business.

So here you go, in no particular order…

A lifetime of wisdom in 17 short chapters.

Or, just a few things she taught me about how to have a long and lovely life.

1. Mow your own grass – and rake your own leaves – as long as you possibly can. You need the exercise, and the sense of accomplishment.

2. Make up your bed – every single day, because when you do, everything else looks better, too.

3. Study people, preferably at a good, busy place like the Burger King close by, or a big bustling Sam’s Club. People are interesting, and interesting is good.

4. Pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Read the paper. Watch the news. You never know when a war’s going to break out. Or someone might walk on the moon.

5. Make room for Adventure. When someone invites you to travel, go. Even if it’s your granddaughter.  And even if she’s taking you to a third world country. Just be sure to pack your sense of humor.

6. Spice things up.  Add a touch of whiskey to your eggnog on New Year’s Eve. It tastes better that way, and you’ll enjoy yourself more than you expected to. :)

7. Enjoy a good laugh – at yourself when you can  especially when you’ve finished off that eggnog. Or done any one of 100 other things you can’t believe you did.

8. Don’t smoke. Some bad habits you can survive. That’s not one of them.

9. Save your money. You never know when times will get tough, but those times will come. You need to be ready.

10. Be present. Visit with your family, or your neighbors. Take time to sit on the porch or out in the yard under the trees. Listen to the crickets. Watch the fireflies come out. Chat.

11. Leave self pity at the door, because life is hard for everyone. And we all have to keep going.

12. Don’t give up on your kids. Don’t allow them the indulgence of self pity either.

13. Do spoil your grandkids. A little ice cream at 1 a.m. never hurt anyone.

14. Love your family with all your heart – even if they don’t act like you, think like you, look like you or sound like you. And even if they insist on having dogs in the house.

15. Lean on your faith. But don’t go around talking about it all the time. When things get rough, just sing “How Great Thou Art” as loud as you can. Even when your heart is breaking, and even if your voice shakes.

16. Eat a good breakfast. That means some hearty grits’n’eggs, unless, of course, you’re visiting the Yankee branch of the family. Then go back to #11, because Cream of Wheat doesn’t even come close.

17. Follow #14. No matter what. And forever.

I’ve been blessed by many strong and Courageous Women in my life. My other Grandmother, Ms. Edna Mae, had brave stories of her own, and they have guided me as well.

I am who I am because of the lessons I’ve learned from these and many others. Today, I wanted to share some of those with you, in hopes that they might encourage you too.

Here’s to a life well lived.

Nettie Lucille Morris Pitts McDonald, 8/12/1912 – 8/31/2015.

Photo Credit: Wendy Pitts Reeves


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