Words of Wisdom: Do One Thing

Breanne Tepler

I’m about to drop some wisdom on you that was once shared with me. It’s truly great advice. Let me start off by saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I try, really I do. But sticking to this advice is one of my weaknesses. The advice is: Do one thing and do it well.

These words of wisdom come from my mentor and former boss, Christa Kremer. Christa hired me to work as the Guest Services Manager for Simon Property Group at the Miller Hill Mall location in Duluth right after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. She was a great boss who always gave me nuggets of advice and shared her wisdom.

I was working with Christa on a back-to-school fashion show event for the mall. The event would have models, a runway in Old Navy court and the participation of many mall tenants. I got so excited about the event that I kept coming up with ideas. All my sentences started with “What if we…” and ended with some big idea. Each idea was creative and something that I could have easily managed.

Christa could see how passionate I was about the event but quickly dropped some wisdom on me. She explained the timeline for planning the event– about 6 weeks. We talked over how much time each of these ideas might take to realize. Then she said, sometimes it’s best to just focus on one thing and do that one thing really well.

I decided to focus on the tenant involvement. I knew that if the mall tenants (store owners and managers) were excited and involved then I was going to get a good number of volunteer models which would help increase attendance. So that’s what I did and the event was a success. Looking back, I can see what a failure it would have been if I had tried to put my energy and attention on all those big ideas.

It is fall semester and you may find yourself full of energy and passion about your classes, clubs, volunteering, etc. I urge you, and remind myself, to do one thing and do it well. Think about the timeline each and every task takes. Then, be realistic with yourself about what you can do.

I’m finishing up my Master’s degree this semester and my graduation date is December 17th. I currently have one class and my capstone project. I’m a mother of three kids, work a full- time job and committed part-time music work. I have shared with family and friends what my plans are this fall and I have their support. I am focused and realistic.

This past summer, I stepped off of a board of directors after serving a two-year term. I wanted to serve for three years, but I needed to be realistic. I also contacted the Homegrown Music Festival and let them know that I wouldn’t be able to help out with ad sales this winter. I wanted to help them get started in November and December, but I needed to be realistic.

In addition to cutting back on all the things that make my life busy, I’ve also decided to focus on things that make me calm. I want to be my best self when I’m working and studying; so, I take time to get enough sleep each night and work-out a few times a week. I also take time to go for a hike or kayak around the river by my house. You can’t have all work and no play or you’ll wear out quickly. Take time for you, scale back and do one thing and do it well. For me, that one thing is finishing my Master’s degree fall 2016. What will you focus on this semester?

Breanne Tepler is an Admissions Counselor in the Office of Graduate & Extended Studies and a current student in the Master’s in Management program.