7 Marketing [And Life] Lessons From My Summer Vacation

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since I wrote Marketing Lessons From Our Family Camping Weekend. This summer we spent a week on Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains near Lake Placid NY, with three generations, ages ranging from 9 to 87.

Before the blush of summer vacation wears off, here are my key takeaways:

1. Listen like your life depends on it.  During our first family rafting trip down the rapids after heavy rains, my listening, and that of my husband and three boys, greatly improved when we knew our safety depended on it!  When there was a sense of conviction attached to our leader’s words and we were bumping around not sure if we were going to stay in or get tumbled overboard, our listening improved!

We all know that listening is a critical success factor today, and that there are many services and tools out there to help us do it better. .. But unless you are listening ‘like your life or business depends on it’, the words going in may not be really registering or garnering the necessary action.  The river also taught us that if our leader said stop, you had to stop immediately, not one stroke earlier or one stroke later, as that would cause us to over shoot or under shoot our path…It wasn’t enough to just listen, we had to listen and act immediately!

2. Why do we continually forget that working collaboratively and in unison dramatically improves speed and efficiency?  Spend any time in a raft or kayak, and it’s pretty evident that working together gets you there faster and with less effort!  And if you are sitting in the back, it’s up to you to modify your paddling and approach to stay in unison with the person ahead of you.

3. The use of video/YouTube and mobile can no longer be overlooked. What do you do if you are 13 and unfamiliar with how to use a minnow trap? Seek out or wait for someone older or more experienced to come along and help you? Absolutely not! You take out your smart phone and search ‘minnow traps’ on YouTube!
Marketing Lesson:  If you are marketing to today’s youth, you are likely missing out if you are not on YouTube.  Lesson to Parents: perhaps we need to look to YouTube for particular lessons we want to teach our kinds?  Might they not engage more with a YouTube video than listening to their parents tell them?

4. Fear is in the eye of the beholder. What represents fear to one human is simply not to another and vice versa. And it can be quite hard to overcome our own fears.  I know, try as I might, I could not get over my fear of heights and jump 20 feet into the water–  even after my son jumped in right ahead of me!  Yet, there were many happy to jump off the 20 foot rock and almost as many willing to jump off of the 30 feet rock…

5. I had forgotten how hard it is to swim against the current.  The tide’s opposition quickly saps your strength.  Yet how many times do we try to make a person do what’s unnatural to them or assume that we can shift a business trend with nothing more than slight modifications to last year’s plan?  Swimming against the tide reminds you that it takes much strength and perseverance to succeed, and even then, it may not be enough.

6. Nature shows us yet again why we should ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Nature provides many lessons when you have the time and space to observe and take in.  During a lull in our day, my nine year old and I decided to take a walk with a camera not knowing what we would stumble upon.  We ended up watching a family of brown ducks.  At first glance they looked like they were just ordinary brown ducks.  But after a few minutes of concentration, we saw little bits of a beautiful blue show through…

7. Why is it that humans are generally resistant to learning from their elders and those who have already gone down paths they now face? Is learning equally as effective when you learn from someone else vs. when you learn it first hand?  How many times over the week did my boys resist suggestions from their grandmother and parents?  What is the best way to teach and learn?

So tell me, what did you learn on your summer vacation? :-)

2 thoughts on “7 Marketing [And Life] Lessons From My Summer Vacation

  1. Hi Ellen, good to see such lovely photos. We had two weeks in northern Vermont, on the islands of Lake Champlain. Friends came, but children were scattered, one in Panama and the other in Perth. How I miss those big noisy groups of cousins aunts and uncles!


    • Jane,
      So nice to hear from you! having started my college education at Univ of Vermont, Lake Champlain is near and dear to my heart and Shelburne…
      Can’t beat the mountains and lakes for some R&R…Happy Fall! Ellen

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