“Secrets of a Rut Buster”

A true story . . .
At 18 years of age college student Myra Janco went from making $7.35 a week to $10,000 a year as the advertising manager of a department store in Terre Haute, Indiana.  This was only one of many glass-ceilings she would break.

A few years after college graduation, Myra opened Wabash Advertising Agency, and within a year was doing a million dollars worth of business.   To make traveling for business easier she learned to fly.     

While still in her 20’s, Myra decided to go back to college for her doctorate in marketing management, which led to an associate professorship and six years of teaching. (She kept her agency open and afloat throughout this period.)    

In 1961 Myra was a bit disillusioned with the world of academia, and decided to return to the advertising world full-time, and by 1965 had once again expanded her business and won many prestigious awards.    

In 1967 her life took an unexpected turn, when she found herself marrying Draper Daniels.  Draper was the advertising guru behind the Marlboro Man campaign, and the real-life version of Don Draper on the television show “Mad Men.”     

The Daniels - back in the day.

Myra and Draper were successful partners in business and marriage until Draper passed away from cancer a few years after they retired to Marco Island, Florida.    

During the 1980’s, Myra Janco Daniels  devoted her efforts to fundraising and spearheaded a hugely successful campaign to build the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, which she still heads today and has expanded to include the Naples Museum of Art.   

Last year, at the age of 80-something, Myra celebrated 20 years with the Arts Center and the publishing of Secrets of a Rut Buster.  Her book is an enjoyable, fast read detailing her life and her 8 secrets for success, which I thought you might enjoy reading – I did. (The violet comments are mine.)    

1. Savor the adventure of being different    

“Learn to embrace the adventure of being different and your life will be infinitely more interesting and rewarding.”    

Hard lesson to learn; I am a geek and an extrovert.  I tried for years to be one or the other to no avail – research/party, research/party – so now I just accept, who I am and do both.  (I am a Gemini – should have figured it out long ago.)     

 2. Master the art of giving    

“Giving creates a positive energy that not only makes us feel good about ourselves, and others, but it also enables us to see solutions to problems and to break out of the ruts in our lives.”    

Lots of new positive psychology research supports Myra’s thoughts: one of the quickest way to increase your happiness, is to help someone else.     

3. Surround yourself with teachers    

“Try to associate with people who know things you don’t know; who have skills you don’t have; who have done things you haven’t done; who have been places you haven’t been.”    

The list of the people who have guided and inspired me is long and varied and continues to grow. I have benefited from the lives, wisdom, kindness and generosity of family members, friends, teachers, classmates, colleagues, acquaintances, authors, and people, I met for fleeting moments here and there. I owe each a debt of gratitude, thank you.    

4. Find what you love – and do it!  

“If you aren’t in love with what you do, then you haven’t found your true calling – and need to make a change.”    

I am a bit of a late bloomer on this one, but have experienced the rewards of creating the life I want long enough to know they are rich and wonderful – and involve people like you.     

5. Learn to take intelligent risks    

“Think of a risk as a stepping stone on the path to what you really want in your life.”    

My favorite: taking risks – scary, but necessary, and the easiest to overlook.       

6. Go back to school    

“One of the essential qualities of ‘rut busting’ is being able to wake yourself up when you have fallen asleep . . . Successful people never stop ‘going back to school.’”    

Love this one. Finding new ways to grow can get you out of a slump and cushion life’s bumps.       

7. Redefine failure.    

“Use it. [failure] Accept it.  Become wiser because of it. Always learn from failure. Don’t run from it or deny it. Redefine it – not as a calamity but as a necessity.”    

Hmm, failure, let me count the ways!  I would simply add “Learn to laugh” to Myra’s list.     

8. Get lost    

“Getting lost means escaping from yourself, wandering away from your day-to-day routines, taking a vacation from your problems, your illusions, your fears.”    

Yes, yes, do this.  Physically, mentally, emotionally. Often and with enthusiasm.     

This weekend select at least one of Myra’s 8 secrets and spend 5 to 15 minutes writing how you have or could use it to create the life you want.     

Simple steps, big rewards.    

Just for fun, here is the real Mad Man and his character . . .    

Mad Men: Draper vs. Don

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