Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius


Random Reflections from Palapa Cincuenta Cinco

zihua knees 2I’ve just returned from my annual trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, during which I live in a setting befitting a Corona Beer ad for seven wonderful, lazy days.

For a number of years I’ve vacationed at the same resort at this time of year, and I always look forward to reuniting with the other vacation “regulars” – all wonderful people.  Vacation friendships rock.

I use this time to ponder pretty much everything, having brutally frank conversations with myself (not out loud) to reconnect with my beliefs.  While there aren’t any epiphanies, it helps to correct some off-kilter perspective that tends to creep up on me over the course of the year.

In no particular order, here’s the mental grab bag from this year’s trip. Warning: random thoughts ahead!

Kankles are NOT a good look for me!
Kankles = the swollen ankles achieved by the skillful, precise combination of a week of margarita consumption and dancing in flip flops.  (FYI, this year, I hit it out of the park!)

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Mistakes create innovation.
In the process of problem solving, we may come up with better solution for another problem, particularly if we mess up along the way.

Create your own image.
Don’t let others define you, nor let society/social norms define your role in life.  It’s about what we care about individually, not society’s influence.

Joy is where you find it.
I spent an hour watching a two year old boy picking up rocks on the beach, creating a meticulous pile, and then moving them one by one to create a new pile.  He squealed with joy the entire time.

Nice guys can finish first.
Interestingly, I believe the rules on this are different for men and women.  As long as you possess a strong belief in self, yet will strike back (sometimes hard) when attacked you can’t be considered a doormat.  You can be strong and nice.  Nice isn’t the same as weak.

Best isn’t necessarily good.
Without the pressure to innovate, complacency happens – be that at life or career.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Life is short.
Each year I look forward to seeing Tom and his wife Boots.  It’s just Boots now.  Tom died six weeks ago.  He suffered a massive heart attack.  He was 58 and extremely fit.  As a reminder, don’t save the “big” things for “the right” time.  Use your best linen, crystal and china on a random Tuesday.   Who cares if it breaks?

People are remarkable.
Everyone has meaningful insight, no matter the geography or industry. It’s interesting to get out of the comfort zone of our circle and into the minds of others.

Too much politics, not enough moxy.
We need a shift in leadership to those who possess the fearless moxy necessary to take risks and move our industry through these tough times (in that I include, real estate, lending, and secondary markets – the entire value chain).  Not reckless risk.  Radical yet calculated risk.

Reputation is irreplaceable.
It takes years to build, yet can be damaged in a moment.  Guard it with everything.

Plan everything all the way to the end.
It’s all about the end.  The result.  By planning for every potential pitfall  and obstacle we can keep control and get to the end.  But know when to stop.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

zihua sunsetI cry at sunsets.
Yep, I said it.  Every night I watched an amazing sunset and cried.  I don’t know why, but I always cry at a beautiful sunset (and the National Anthem at a sporting event).  I guess at the end of the day, I’m a softie (not to be mistaken for weak).

The picture doesn’t do it justice.  Can you blame me for the teaars?  Imagine the view from the sail boat …

Ah, see you next year, Zihuatanejo!

** Disclaimer.  The photos are from my Blackberry, so not that great of quality or resolution.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Written By

Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.



  1. Joe Loomer

    March 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Brandie, Brandie, Brandie – you had me at “(and the National Anthem…)”

    Yo tengo que ir a Zihuatanejo! Sounds absolutely marvelous!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Brandie Young

      March 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      Joe – and here I thought I’d have you at “Kankles” he he

  2. Ken Brand

    March 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    It reads like you had some interceptive introspection or, it’s a believable cover story?

    And what you’ve shared is keen. But most seriously, what I want to know is, did you have an icy cold beer and charter some fishing with Andy Dufresne and Red?


    PS. Wild dancing and mystery amounts of Margarita consumption = WIN.

    • Brandie Young

      March 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      If I had shared an icy cold beer and charter some fishing with Andy Dufresne, I would NEVER have come home 🙂

  3. Kathy Jerzak

    March 5, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Nothing beats oceanside in Mexico for good reflection time. Nicely wrote.

  4. Gwen Banta

    March 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I was there with you, Brandie – you had Joe at “National Anthem,” but you had me at “Corona.” Your ruminations were brilliant, as always. Thank you for the gift of your wisdom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.