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8 Lessons I Learned About Life from Tom Petty

"Into the great wide open, under the skies of blue..." - Tom Petty

Well it has been a little over a month since Tom Petty died and I am still devastated. Tom was probably in my top three favorite artists ever and I will miss his simple melodies and straight forward lyrics. In his honor, I am posting this blog listing some lessons I have learned from his songs… here it goes.


“Now I’m standing here can’t you see, breakdown it’s alright”

Most of us go through life thinking that breaking down is a weakness. That we shouldn’t burden others with our problems. That we should be strong no matter what. The truth is that we need to breakdown every once in a while. We need to be able to be vulnerable, to let what’s inside us out so that we do not explode. So that we can rebuild.

And when we do, we should rely on those closest to us. Tom Petty is pleading… “I am standing here, can’t you see… break down… it’s alright”. I am here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what.

Lesson 1: It’s ok to breakdown.


“Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some. Tell me why you want to lay there, revel in your abandon”

Yes, I hear you Tom. I don’t have to live like a refugee. There are times where we get so defeated that it is easier to take what is being dished out than fighting for what is right. To sulk. To feel sorry for ourselves.  I know, I have been there. The message here is that you always have a choice, and not doing anything is a choice nonetheless. So, don’t wait, take action, change.

Lesson 2: Don’t revel in your abandon.


“Even the losers, keep a little bit of pride, they get lucky sometimes”

What a great song. The message for me is that anyone can do anything, I mean, if even the losers get lucky sometimes, what is stopping us from being great?! This is a clear call to action, that anyone and everyone can… that success is out there. You just need to try.

Lesson 3: Everyone gets a shot, you just need to show up and give it your all.


“The waiting is the hardest part, every day you see one more card, you take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part”

I know you are trying hard. I know you have put everything you had into this. The waiting sucks. It really does. However, don’t get discouraged. This is the HARDEST part. Take a deep breath. Believe. Your time will come.

Lesson 4 – Things may be rough, but this is the hardest part. They will get better.


“Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around, and I’ll keep this world from dragging be down, I won’t back down”

Look, the world is going to throw stuff at you. The journey will be harder than you have ever imagined. There will be times you will be discouraged, when you just want to give up. In those times blare “I won’t back down” from your stereo. Fill yourself with resolution. Pump up your chest and fight for what is right for you.

Lesson 5: Stand for what you believe, even if they take you to the gates of hell…


“There’s something good… waitin’ down this road. I’m picking up, whatever is mine…”

Man, you got to dream. You got to go for it. Why not?! What do we all really have to lose? If we take a chance to chase our dreams we might just end up picking up some good things along the way. Things we were meant for. Things we deserve.

Lesson 6: Go chase what is yours.


“It’s time to move on. It’s time to get going. What lies ahead I have no way of knowing. Under my feet babe, grass is growing. It’s time to move on. It’s time to get going”

Look, things will never be perfect. There will always be tinkering to do. However, at some point you need to take the plunge. Inaction will not get you where you want to go. It’s time to get a move on. It’s time to get going.

Lesson 7: Get going. Take action.


…but when she puts her arms around me, I can, somehow rise above it. Yeah man, when I got that little girl standing right by my side, you know I can tell the whole wide world to shove it! Here come’s my girl”

We are not in this world alone. Everyone has somebody to rely on. If you don’t, go find yourself one. There are tons of people out there just waiting for someone like you to support. When you find that someone, or if you already have that someone, acknowledge them. Let them know how much they mean to you. Thank them for being by your side.

Lesson 8: Tell the world about those who support you.

Tom Petty, you will be missed, but your lessons will always stay with me. Take care my friend.

Andre Mello is a coach and a Tom Petty super fan. He has been in leadership and marketing for over 16 years. If you would like to connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com

Andre Mello