Humans of AMA – Hali Medina

Reilly: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Hali: “You can not let a fear of failure or a fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing the things that will make you great. You can not succeed without the risk of failure. You can not have a voice without the risk of criticism. You can not love without the risk of loss. You must take these risks.”

This piece of advice wasn’t necessarily given to me specifically, but it comes from a commencement speech Charlie Day gave. You can read more about it and why it’s one of my favorite speeches here!

R: What motivates you?

H: I find motivation in the people I surround myself with, whether it’s a classmate, a fellow Texas AMA member, or people I know in the industry who are shaking things up. I really do owe it to these three entities/institutions for introducing me to this source of motivation: UT, Texas AMA, and the 4 A’s fellowship program, MAIP. UT introduced me to classmates that were solving world problems, starting businesses, and quite literally changing the world. Texas AMA introduced me to a fearless group of people pursuing marketing and channeling their passions into shaping what it means to be a marketer. The 4 A’s MAIP fellowship introduced me to some of the most driven and talented individuals shaking up the industry and starting passion projects that make a difference. It’s hard not to be motivated when you surround yourself with people that truly inspire you.

R: What’s your strategy for staying balanced with work and life?

H: Work-life balance is something that is incredibly important to me. I spent so much of my college career convincing myself that “the grind never stops” and if I wanted anything in life, I’d have to work really really hard for it. Part of that is definitely still true (hashtag hustle hard, stay humble), but I think that it’s important to be mindful of things that make you happy and things that bring you peace. Working hard is important but not as important as genuinely being happy with the life you’re living.

I by no means have the answer to this question nailed down, but I do have a few simple things that I do to find a balance in what sometimes feels like a really chaotic schedule. One, before the beginning of each month I take some time to check in with myself and write out personal and professional goals. I start by listing out companies I’d like to work for, roles I’d like to be in, hobbies that make me happy, interests that keep me curious, and most importantly what I love doing. Roy Spence, one of the founders of GSD&M, once told me, “don’t do things because you want to, do them because you love to and never lose sight of what you love doing,” and I think that by simply being mindful of these things, you’re able to be more focused on how you spend your time.

Two, I work hard but make sure to incorporate things that make me happy throughout the day not just on weekends or during specific time frames. For example, if I’ve just spent two hours pouring over a case for my marketing capstone class, I’m probably going to use the next half hour taking a break to treat myself to a chai latte from Starbucks. I think the act of treating yo’ self is really important not only because incentives work wonders, but because self-love and showing yourself some love is important.

R: What are some traits you would like to see more leaders possess?

H: I think one trait that I’d like to see more leaders possess is empathy. The ability to understand not only where others are coming from but what others feel is something that is so important in any leadership role. There’s a great Success article that goes deeper into the specific ways empathetic leaders are the best, but I just think that it boils down to the fact that if you want people to follow you, admire you, and work hard under your leadership, they have to feel valued and understood.

R: Is there anything you would want to say to your younger self knowing what you know now?

H: Stay focused on the bigger picture, the little things that stress you out won’t matter in the long run.

I think when I was first starting out in college, I got bogged down by the stresses of little things that in the long run didn’t really matter. I spent a lot of time worrying and much of my internal dialogue revolved around “why did I get a B minus instead of a B of this accounting test, what am I even going to talk about in this BA324 presentation, I’m never going to have enough time to reread all eight chapters for this advertising class.” That mindset resulted in me feeling stressed and usually pretty sad most of the time. What I realize now is that one accounting test or presentation or whatever it may be isn’t going to play a role in what my future looks like 5, 10, 20 years down the road. Heck, I don’t even think some of that stuff matters now a year or so later. Stay focused on the big picture, roll with the punches, and remember to make time for things that make you happy.

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