99 Life Lessons Learned from Quitting Corporate America

On March 2nd 2007, I said goodbye to corporate America.

Three months (now Eight months on November 2nd) has passed, I want to take the time and write down what I have learned from these past few months.

Regardless you want to quit your job or you have already quitted or you just want to read this for the heck of it.


1. Stop thinking about what other people think about you. It will drive you crazy.

2. Einstein once said: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
It was time for me to quit corporate.

3. You stop being a whiner when you start doing what you love.

4. You start getting up early when you start doing what you love.

5. You start exercising everyday when you start doing what you love.

6. You know who your real friend is and who is not.

7. Some people will give you strange look, but who cares?

8. Everything in life is a choice.

9. The only opinion of you that matters, is your own.

10. Do what you love and you will never have to work a day for the rest of your life.

11. Life is a buffet. There are some many choices along the way. In order to get to one dish, you got to stay in line and make sure you choose the right line.

12. Life is not about winning, it is about how you are going to play the game.

13. Software and high-tech is not the only industry in the world. People become billionaires and millionaires making ketchup, selling hairagami or making dumpling.

14. For anything to change, I must change.

15. Hoping I am going to succeed is not the answer.

16. Got to make my unique idea somehow stuck with someone.

17. Becoming an entrepreneur is about solving problem. It is never about me and it is never about money.

18. You are who you believe or say you are.

19. Do something even you are not sure about the outcome.

20. Everyone who is now in front of the line started at the back of the line.

21. Find a way to help someone everyday. Remember Godfather.

22. Don’t let perfection keep you away from doing. You will never be perfect and no one is perfect.

23. Most people who tell you “This is risky” have never done it before. Take advice wisely.

24. Successful people do whatever it takes, not just trying your best.

25. Pain is inevitable. Misery is optional. BTW – you don’t have to be miserable.

26. The only free people in this world are the ones who are willing to take risk.

27. It is never too late to become who you are supposed to be.

28. Appreciate the people around you. Don’t take anyone for granted.

29. Visualize what you want everyday. Night & Day.

30. Act and speak like you are already there.

31. Be trust worthy for yourself. You should trust you.

32. If I don’t do this. No one would.

33. Act values to other people everyday.

34. Smile.

35. Be grateful.

36. Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.

37. Create your own story.

38. Become a master on something. Not a master on 4000 things, but master on 6 things (per Warren Buffet) and do it 4000 times.

39. Controversy drives attention.

40. Don’t try to find it. Create it. Thank you Douglas!

41. Bring a notebook and write down your thoughts anywhere anytime.

42. Leap forward for the right reason.

43. Be yourself.

44. Success will happen when your heart, your brain and your action all come together.

45. Give 200% everyday.

46. Question what truly matter to you everyday. Is it just about the money?

47. “I only set out to get really good at something that really matters to me.” Alice Water once said.

48. Create a system for everything. Make sure everything I do now is documented and repeatable by someone else.

49. The best marketing is when people talk about you while they are eating.

50. Be a big fish in a small pond and later on jump into a big pond.

51. Don’t act too smart. Ask for help.

52. Internet is amazing. PEW research is great!

53. Bring your business cards with you at all time.

54. Practice your elevator speech.

55. Empathy. Put yourself in other people’s shoe.

56. Define your own non-negotiable (your life principles) in life.

57. Anything worth doing is also worth failing.

58. Thank your audience.

59. Presentation is not about you. It is always about them.

60. When you see someone on stage and you said to yourself “I can do better than this guy”, you should
also ask yourself, “Why am I not there?”

61. You will always win a arm wrestle with you have a team behind you.

62. Create massive values for some specific money and the money will come.

63. Income does not equal to profit.

64. Financial statements are not that scary.

65. Burn your boat. Remember the Battle of Hasting.

66. Size of my belief determines that size of your success.

67. You can’t go forward if you look backward.

68. You can’t become who you want to be if you are still the person you were yesterday.

69. Stop being a victim.

70. Visualize a successful day everyday.

71. Nothing is impossible.

72. Promise yourself. Don’t just set goals.

73. It is okay to let everyone to know what is going on with you. Otherwise, how can you expect people to trust you.

74. Build emotional equity with people.

75. If I can do it, you can.

76. If you are not on top of your game, figure out why not and do something about it.

77. The best players are the ones already in the game.

78. Let it be and mind your own business.

79. Make the decision and just freaking do it.

80. There is very little difference between people; but the little difference makes a big difference.

81. A setback is just a setup for our comeback.

82. Don’t listen to what Simon said. Great job Jennifer Hudson!

83. You can be an expert too!

84. If your mother says a six figure income is too small; it is time to quit.

86. Network and network!

87. There is a Law of Certainty: “If you do certain thing in a certain way certain result will always happen”

88. You can sell anything if you are solving a problem.

89. It is possible to have both money and happiness.

90. If you can’t define your customer, you can’t find your customers.

91. Niche rhythms with rich.

92. Some people will never understand what you are doing, but that’s okay.

93. Take and accept the compliment you deserve. Give yourself some credits. You are probably just
better than who you think you are.

94. Give out your best products for free!

95. Write everyday!

96. Learn from people who have done it and been there.

97. Take pictures of everything. Pictures worth at least three thousands words.

98. Thank God for the internet! Did I say that already?

99. What you are doing now is not new. Someone else has probably have done it before. Just seek and you should find.

Until next time. Live your dream!

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24 Responses to “99 Life Lessons Learned from Quitting Corporate America”

  1. on 20 Jun 2007 at 2:22 am

    Hi Edith!

    I quit my last job two weeks ago and I decided that this is the right time to leave the corporate life and to start my own life and career. I am still a little afraid and I am a lot confused since I still don’t know where to begin. What I know is that I must begin with myself and all the rest will come step by step.

    Your advises are very helpful for me. I still don’t have the proof that everything you say works and my faith is still weak but I believe that it’s only a matter of time to succeed and to have more confidence in myself.

    Thank you for your lessons!
    Best wishes,

  2. Dave Gardner on 09 Aug 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Nice inspirations!

    After coming down with a medical ailment that put me in a wheelchair for 2 weeks in November last year (my doctor said it was partially the result of lack of sleep, being a bit overweight, and the stress of the job–I was a corporate technical editor/writer), I had time to “rethink” what I wanted out of life. And the 2-hour one-way commute wasn’t one of these things. Neither was the 10-hour days sitting in a dismal cubicle.

    So…. when I got laid off in January, I did the “happy dance” in the parking lot. And now I’m creating an income as a FREELANCE contractor editor-writer! And creating my own informational products in addition to editing folks’ writing (novelists, websites, business flyers/brochures, advertising copy ) as well as a few short-term corporate tech writing/editing gigs. But now *I’m* in control of my time, my schedule, and my life (well, a little more of it than before… my wife still controls much of it )

    Anyway… now I also have time to play with learning Mandarin, Russian, and Japanese and also playing with learning some new software and new business techniques. And learning how to create websites of my own (some of which create a *passive income*!).

    Best regards,
    Dave Gardner, CCNA
    Senior Specialist/Editor-Writer
    Pacific Consultants Group
    793 S Tracy Blvd 131
    Tracy, CA 95376

  3. on 24 Nov 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I too just left the corporate world, and am seeing where it takes me. Right now I’m just enjoying the freedom do discover exactly who I am.

    No coincidence then, I recently !

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  6. on 25 Nov 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family Life which I am hosting!! It is a valuable addition to the Carnival.

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  11. on 27 Nov 2007 at 3:13 am

    Excellent advice, Edith.

    When I was last downsized, I finally decided to end the 20 year delay of publishing my novels. Now I am finally doing something that passes “the lotto test”–something that you would keep on doing even if you won the lottery.
    Peace and wonder,

  12. on 27 Nov 2007 at 5:44 am

    Great post! I am still in Corporate America, but with entrepreneurial aspirations. Keep up the good work! I am looking forward to reading the rest of your blog!

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  15. on 28 Nov 2007 at 4:21 pm

    EY: I enjoyed reading your post. Ironically, Corporate life only gets to me when nothing is going on. We just closed a $4.5b acquisition and things are quite chaotic - I’m having the time of my life! (personality defect?) Unfortunately, it is hard on my family. I am having to make an effort to get home before the kids go to bed.

    Best Wishes,

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  18. Michele Moore on 05 Dec 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Many thanks for your wonderful posting.

    “The best way to do well and excel at anything is to create a love for it.”

    “Love Propels Happiness!”

    Michele Moore - author of
    How To Live A Happy Life -
    101 Ways to be Happier

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  21. Doug on 24 Dec 2007 at 5:14 pm

    You can love your job, but your corporate job will never love you. Its funny how corporations try and give you the feeling of family but when tough times come its ‘hasta la vista’ baby. Change is often painful but necessary! Can you imagine lying on you death bed and coming to the realization you left the world in worse shape because of your actions. Things you do for yourself die with you. Things you do for other live forever.

  22. Living Off Dividends on 12 Jan 2008 at 2:28 am

    great post.

    when i quit my job, i really did stop whining. there just wasn’t anything to complain about!

  23. Teri on 18 Apr 2008 at 5:04 am

    Very inspirational. I’m glad I found this site. Helps me a lot, having just quit my own job.

  24. on 24 Jul 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I said good-bye to Corporate America on May 12, 2005. I was 45 and realized that my life was half over, and if I had any chance to pursue my dreams, I’d better get cracking.

    Edith, you are an amazing inspiration! Thank you for your contribution to our planet.


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