Steffan Pedersen is a digital marketer at Object 9, an Atlanta marketing and advertising agency. He's a native ATLien, but grew up in Denmark and remains a bilingual dual-citizen. Steffan is a University of Georgia Terry College alum, avid Bulldawg fan, as well as a Manchester United supporter and fanatic soccer and tennis player. Feel free to reach out via Twitter, @steffanpedersen.
1. What's your story?
My story is that of a soccer loving, success-driven UGA grad turned ad man. I've lived the majority of my life in the suburbs of Atlanta, yadda yadda yadda. Where it gets interesting, and what I feel really makes me unique is my dual-citizenship. I spent about 10 years of my life living in Europe, in Denmark, with my parents and little sister (Lesley)! To say my time over there has been impactful would be completely underselling the experience. The way I think, see, hear, speak, and even carry myself is formed from everything that’s happened in my life, and I think the perspective from my upbringing is a differentiator. You know they say that the Danish are the happiest people in the world, right? :) I try to go back and visit friends/family yearly, but at this point it’s getting tougher and tougher (5 vacation days doesn’t help, Object 9 are you listening?!). That’s a small glimpse in to my life, but if you’re interested in more about me you can read on my site here.
2. What motivates you?
Finding motivation has actually been surprisingly easy for me. I find motivation (and inspiration) everywhere! Coworkers and colleagues are one of the first places I look. Surround yourself with people that will make you your best self, and cling to them. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Let that sink in... Who’s in your top five? Are they indicative of who you want to be? I also tremendously respect rappers, and artists of all kinds, and draw tons of motivation from listening to their music. I believe “the hustle” and adversity some rappers (for example) go through is unbelievable. When they rap about how they are doing it better than you, or staying up 8 straight days to get an album done… If that’s not inspiring, I don't know what is. Lastly-- I like to go to the gym, or get some form of exercise, at least 4-5 days a week. “I don't count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” -Muhammad Ali
Side note: The “2 minute rule" is a powerful motivator, as well. The premise is basically if something will take you less than 2 minutes to complete, do it NOW. Similarly, a friend of mine, David Ahn, just wrote about “the one task you need to do every morning” — small successes in your day-to-day will accustom you to feeling accomplished and repeating these small senses of pride. Interesting theories that I totally buy in to!
3. Who is a hero of yours?
I could say my mom, dad, best friend, and maybe I should, but I’m going to take a different approach. Donald Glover is a hero of mine and huge inspiration for me. Started by watching him on Community, looking at his writing for 30 Rock, modeling for Gap, etc. and from there he started making kickass music as mcDJ and Childish Gambino, and has a soon-to-be TV show on FX called Atlanta. The dude is a master of code and just can’t stop one-upping himself. I know that’s not the traditional “hero” story, but I definitely idolize him.
4. What's your future plan? Your goals?
Oh man… Is there a multiple choice list for this one because I have no idea! I guess I would ultimately like to live somewhere outside of Atlanta, even America, for a few years, but who's to say? Life’s great right now, so just gonna keep rockin’ it!
Goals: Keeping in touch with friends and family. Learning Spanish and/or some basic code. Picking up that new soccer trick I saw Neymar pull on TV last week? Way too many cool things to do out there, I don’t know where to begin with a goals/bucket list!
5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do something every day to make yourself better. Exercise. Read. Write. Laugh. Make a new friend. Once you hit complacency, it can be a tough place to leave.
6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
I’ve always been a big supporter of wildlife and conservation—everyone and everything has to be able to co-exist. Another cause I’m a fan of is one local to Atlanta, Soccer in the Streets. They’re doing some really awesome stuff, go check them out!
7. What is one of the coolest things you have ever done?
My girlfriend Katie and I went paragliding at Torrey Pines in La Jolla a few months ago on our road trip down the PCH! The instructor even let me take the reigns and drive (fly?!) for a few minutes. It was breathtaking and definitely one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done! Also, backpacking Europe in 2010 during the World Cup with one of my best friends was an awesome experience. Overall, though, I’d say traveling. I’m fortunate to have visited all the places i have, and hope I can keep exploring!
Side note: I was just on TV last Sunday! I thought that was a really cool experience! (link)
You can reach out to Steffan about marketing, networking, mentoring, or just to find out more about all the cool stuff he has done on his website and social channels, below: