For almost two decades, Mike Hughes has had to come to terms with his own mortality.
The Martin Agency president was diagnosed with lung cancer in the 1990s.
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Back in January, Hughes was given “two weeks to live” by his doctors, but he’s fighting on.
“When I got my diagnosis and was told there was an 85 percent chance I’d be dead within five years — I needed to make choices about both personal and business things,” Hughes told the graduating class at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. That was the very same year a building at VCU’s advertising and marketing school was renamed in Hughes’ honor, he was named one of the 50 most influential creative thinkers in Creativity magazine, and the ad man was inducted into The One Club’s creative hall of fame.
Hughes has continued to be active in the advertising community, even responding positively to younger people from small shops’ requests to grab coffee and learn about the industry.
He also began a blog called “Unfinished Thinking” and a sister blog to chronicle his battle with cancer.
Poignant, heartbreaking, and inspiring, Hughes discusses facing death his wife Ginny’s fight with cancer (although she was recently told she is in complete remission), regrets, life lessons, and celebration of life.
Martin Agency chief creative officer Joe Alexander also created a tribute website for Hughes called “We All Love Mike” complete with pictures of his life, celebrations of his creative work, and messages from his peers.
We have compiled his blog post on regrets in the industry and some of the life lessons he learned with pictures of his journey as an agency and family man.
It’s amazing how freeing being given a limited time frame can be. Everything on my “things to do today lists” is vanquished forever. … Thank God I never saddled myself with a bucket list. Those lists are guilt-magnets. And now, poof… Gone forever. Good riddance.
I’m supposed to die tomorrow. Hope not. Two weeks ago, the doctors gave me two weeks to live. I’m pretty sure they’ll be proven wrong. In fact, I’m actually making plans now for next week. !!! A friend now in Ethiopia is planning to get here the end of next week. I told him to get here as soon as possible because I might have a funeral I have to attend at the end of the week. (Some people love that kind humor. Others, not so much.)
“How are you doing?” That’s the first question many people ask when they see me. They tell me how good I look, and then they ask, “How are you doing?” It’s a nice question to ask, but it’s a little tricky to answer. If I know someone has a great sense of humor, I might say, “Well, I’m dying.” But usually what I say is that for the condition I’m in, I’m doing pretty well. I mean that both physically and psychologically.