Carpe Diem: A Very Personal Post

Ali CudbyI talk a lot about my moment in the Bravissimo dressing room, and how a bra fitting changed my life. But there was another crystalizing moment in my life, years before, when I was in college.

I needed to declare a major – that was the action I needed to take. The decision was about much more than Russian Studies vs. Philosophy – the decision was a frame for how I saw my life. Russian Studies meant a career in hard news, which was in line with everything I had done before – serious, achievement oriented, smart. Philosophy meant doing something outside the box. It wasn’t linear, it didn’t make career sense, per se. But it fascinated me and I enjoyed the classes and the way I got to think in them. A major in Philosophy meant following my own path, instead of the path I knew other people envisioned for me.

In the middle of all that Big. Serious. Thinking. I sat down to watch a movie, called Dead Poets Society. In an early scene, on the first day of school, teacher Robin Williams uses poetry to introduce the idea of Carpe Diem – seize the day.

From that opening scene, the movie spoke to me and the decision I was making. Its comedy, its tragedy and its inspiration were exactly what I needed. More than anything else, watching that movie on that night shaped my decisions and the foundation of the next chapter of my life. I chose Philosophy. After college, I packed my meager belongings and, without a job or an apartment, drove to California to find a career in the film industry.  I followed my heart.  I seized the day and never regretted it.

Since then, the phrase “Carpe Diem” has been embedded in my thinking about life and making decisions – about who I wanted to be, the life I wanted to live. For me, Carpe Diem was about going out on a limb and following the beat of my own drum, even when nobody else could hear it.

When I make decisions, I ask myself, am I seizing the day? It has been a touchstone in my life. When I’ve made decisions that went wrong (which I absolutely have) it’s generally when I forgot that question, or ignored my heart in some way.

For lots of reasons, I’ve been revisiting the question this week. I’m proud of a lot of the things I’ve accomplished, yet the answer is that I can do better. I find myself wasting time, and I want to be more focused. I want to talk to you more often and find out what is motivating you in your business. What are your challenges and opportunities? How can I help you achieve and grow and seize your day?

On the home front, I want to be a better wife to my amazing husband. I want to enjoy my son’s last year at home, before he heads to college.

In order to be my best for you – and my family – I need to be better for me. I need to spend more time on myself, for myself.

There’s a lot more I want to do in this life.

It’s time to get going. It’s time to seize the day.

Carpe Diem!



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