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    by Mike Arseneault

    Welcome to my very first blog post and a year of new beginnings.

    At the start of 2017, after months of reflection (and some restless nights), I left a dream job in the corporate world. This decision surprised many. As rewarding as my career was, it wasn’t enough. The artist inside of me was wakening. I decided it was time for me to write my next chapter. Time to shift my energy to those creative passions and interests that had long been minimized. While scary at times, I knew it was time to recreate my life.

    As I started pulling together this blog post, I remembered a simple but life-changing moment that started my journey over thirty years ago. I thought it would be interesting to share it here. I’ve also uncovered ten ideas or things I’ve learned along to way to offer up as you continue to write your own story.

    My story started in a small city on the east coast of Canada. I was in the second year of my undergraduate degree in Business Administration. Still in my mid 20’s, and eager to learn, I didn’t have a clear path or vision for my future. That was soon to change. I read “Ogilvy On Advertising”, written by David Ogilvy, father of advertising, and founder of famed ad agency Ogilvy and Mather. I read it fervently not realizing at the time that this ground-breaking book would be a key to unlock my dreams and give me purpose. It was decided then. I wanted to be a suit in an ad agency (a.k.a. account executive). Better yet, I wanted to be a suit at that agency. In the late 80’s, I probably interviewed at O+M Toronto at least half a dozen times, if not more. While l didn’t land a job in that agency, the book was the key, the spark that lit the flame for what would turn out to be a fulfilling thirty-year career in advertising and marketing.

    Today, I look back. I feel blessed and incredibly proud of the work I’ve done and what I’ve created. I’ve helped lead and shape some amazing brands including Levi’s, HMV, The Second Cup and Nike. I’ve been able to meet, learn and create with some extraordinary people. Many who have had a tremendous impact on my story. I’ve traveled the world, lived in beautiful cities and even moved to another country.

    Today, I look forward. I look ahead with the same fervent intensity to recreate my life. To start a new beginning. Turn a page. As I do, I will use some of the ideas and learnings I’ve experienced up until now to guide me as I write the next chapter.


    1. Be brave.

    Follow your heart and your gut. If it feels a bit scary or takes you outside your comfort zone, it’s probably exactly what you should be doing. It doesn’t mean you throw logic and common sense to the wind. Invite them in as guests but true growth requires bravery and the courage to fail.

    2. Embrace curiosity.

    Be inquisitive. Be present to discover something new. To learn. Be bold and ask why and why not? Knowledge is a gift that can give a lot, so nurture and encourage it. Stay open and embrace curiosity.

    3. Explore what fascinates you.

    Dreams can come true if you pursue them with vigor and give yourself to them 100%. The only thing that can limit your potential is you and your imagination. Believe it.

    4. Dream BIG.

    If you base your goals on your passions, nothing can stop you, so dream big. Set huge goals and don’t let others limit your potential. You are the CEO of your own destiny and everyone else is along for the ride. Make it brilliant.

    5. Build the plan and work the plan.

    Achieving success requires planning. Set goals and realistic timelines. Have a Plan B and C and D. Write them down. Sweat the details. Remember you’ve made a career building other brands. Now it’s time to project manage the most important brand of all. You.

    6. Never say never. Positivity breeds positivity.

    It’s true when they say “attitude is altitude”. Stay positive and demand positivity from those around you. The higher ground is always the road best traveled. Don’t let the negativity or skepticism of others bring you down or change your course.

    7. Trust in the kindness of strangers.

    Remember, you don’t know everything. Listen with sincerity. Be humble. Be kind and open-minded. Most people are interested in what you have to say and genuinely want you to succeed. Be present and be flexible and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will be surprised with what awaits you.

    8. Have a point-of- view.

    Be an active participant. Help move the conversation forward. Come to the table with a point-of- view, and remember, you have the experience and history to back it up. Life happens for those who move forward and don’t just sit on the bench and watch.

    9. Share your light.

    If you live with truth and purpose and are kind to others, your light will shine. Give this energy to others. Allow others to hitchhike your dreams and join in your journey. You will be richer because of this.

    10. Never, never, never give up.

    Things happen for a reason. Persevere. If it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. No regrets. And remember, there’s a Plan B.

    You have the ability to recreate and make life happen.

    Thanks for sharing in my story, at least the story so far. I can’t wait to recreate. I embrace my future and welcome everything that will happen in the next chapter. A wise new friend once told me “The way to vitalize the world, is to live a vital life.” That’s what I intend to do.

    Thank you Mr. Ogilvy for giving me the key to unlock my dreams those many years ago. The door is now wide open.


    1. Marianne J says:


    2. Liz Burnip says:

      Very nice… you are inspirational… maybe 30 years from now this site will be the one another success story talks about “how it all started!”

    3. Teresa Wilson says:

      All I can say is “I love you”. You make me so proud.

    4. Lani says:

      I like this, Mike. Right now I’m struggling with my dream, and I’m overwhelmed with my “real” job. I’m glad you’re here, and thankful for your inspiration.

    5. Peggy says:

      Well done! Congrats on taking the jump. Keep up the great work.

    6. Excellent Mike, and excellent choice in beach!

    7. Laura Wilde says:

      Just what I needed to hear this week! Thank you, my friend, for being an inspiration to everyone.

    8. Marijo says:

      Really good Mike! I’ve so enjoyed watching you build and work your plan over the last year. Looking forward to the continued unfolding of this chapter.

    9. Jolene says:


    10. Steve Crook says:

      Spot on! I will be following your blog for more experiential wisdom.

    11. Louise says:

      Great words to live by. I think our community will be enriched having you in it.

    12. Maj Britt Baker says:

      Love this and love you.

    13. Carolyn Walters says:

      What a wonderful start to your “new”! Kudos! Thank you & continue to inspire!!

    14. Malorie Mandolidis says:

      Mike – “you are the best” – still! At a time when I too am redefining the possibilities this next chapter could hold, you have given me inspiration and reinforced that I have to take a leap of faith.
      The world is a far better place with you in it. Thinking of you – fond memories and much love.

    15. Mike, you’re on fire! Unstoppable.

    16. Branka says:

      Good luck on this next adventure Mike!

    17. Evelyn Cream says:

      Wonderful post! Congratulations on taking the brave step to leave what probably was a dream job when you got it. Now…off to find the next dream job

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