Great Personal and Career Insights from Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner

Fast Company has a really great piece that covers an excerpt from the book GETTING THERE: A BOOK OF MENTORS where Matthew Weiner shares his story and some inspiring tips on perseverance throughout his career. I can't recommend the article enough. I'm only about 20% through the book as of this posting, but it's a really piece good motivational firewood for me so far. Anderson Cooper's story is especially crazy.

Weiner talks about many things: rejection, perseverance, not putting a clock against your dreams. One of the parts I appreciated is about how a lot of the success stories we read in life cover the highlights. It's a lot like watching ESPN SportsCenter or just the Top 10 highlights part and thinking that's that happened during the day's games. Weiner argues that we discount the journey to get to those great moments. We seldom see the effort our heroes and role models put into getting to those great moments - the pain, the disappointments, the despair.

Not intending to dive deeper into sports stories, but did you know that the former NFL MVP Kurt Warner used to bag groceries in between his stints in the NFL and before he won the Super Bowl? Weiner also alludes to this "do whatever you have to in between the pursuit of the dream" when he talks about getting a job "but not getting too good at it" because it will distract you from your true aim. I'm sure Kurt Warner wan't looking to make a career of bagging groceries, but he probably needed money and he probably needed motivation. When I was in school, I used to work for Starbucks. As far as college jobs go, Starbucks is pretty awesome. In school I needed to study for long amounts of time and when you work at Starbucks you get lots of free coffee and you also get paid(win-win)! But it can also be pretty hard work at times at busy stores. What I quickly learned is that you can take experiences and use it as fuel to motivate you to make the chances you do have at achieving your goals and dreams really count. I used to serve one of my professional friends and colleagues, Brad Merritt, coffee every day (and I still remember his drink). Brad works over at Cartoon Network in their games division. I can remember many days talking with him and saying to myself, "one day I'll be on the other side of that counter, working alongside of him in the games industry. The low points in our lives in between the highlights can be incredibly motivating and transformative with respect to our character.

Another part that hit close to home in the article comes in Weiner's closing comments. He said he was relentlessly cruel to himself and felt so behind his peers. It took me right at 10 years to get through college. I didn't go to college the whole time, went to several different schools, but it took me a while to mature in my study habits and find the right fit for me to get my education. When I graduated, I felt sorely behind my peers that I started college with. It's probably why I work so hard in and out of work, late into the night and over the weekends.

I've been slowly recognizing what I have accomplished and replacing my past regrets and missteps with a drive to work hard and achieve my dreams as fast as I can. This refocusing helps you stop from dwelling on the things I can no longer change to the things I can. A nice side-effect is that now I also work and study harder because I have really developed a zeal for learning. I do have a lot of catching up, but that's fine. I'm ready to enjoy the journey!

I don't want to spoil the entire article for you so check it out and let me know your thoughts!

"MAD MEN" CREATOR MATTHEW WEINER'S REASSURING LIFE ADVICE FOR STRUGGLING ARTISTS