I recently read a book entitled, Die Empty, by Todd Henry, and despite the intensely morbid headline, the book contained some great career-based, thought starters for living a life with little-to-no regret.
"Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve encountered to help me make big choices in life." - Steve Jobs
This book had several overarching themes, but for me, three main takeaways emerged.
You have a unique contribution to make to the world that no else can make for you. This contribution will become clear the more you are willing to try new things and develop your skills.
2) Avoid Complacency
You must be willing to disrupt your own comfort for the sake of continued growth. Safety isn’t really an option, it’s an illusion - a temporary reprieve from the inevitable.
3) Stay Connected
Establishing genuine connections with others prevents guardedness from infecting your life and closing yourself off to others. Pursue relationships that keep you on track with your goals.
If the above got me thinking, the below had me doing.
1. Determine Your Life’s Work
What trigger’s your primal instincts?
What’s worth fighting for?
2. Pick Your Battles
3. Have a Sacred Place
Have a place or time of day where you’re able to think about who you are and what you will be without interruption
4. Beware the Curse of Familiarity
Due to high levels of awareness the tendency is to fall under the false impression you understand something you may not
At the end of the day: “Forget title, pay grade or how the world would rate your relative success or failure - the only question that matters is - Can I lay my head down tonight satisfied with the work I did today?”
From time to time we all have great ideas, but the reality is most ideas never happen.
Whether you are a Dreamer, Doer or Incrementalist; it’s believed that anyone can make ideas happen. As a self-identified Incrementalist, I’ve included a few noteworthy nuggets from Scott Belsky, http://www.scottbelsky.com/, when he spoke at HOW Design a few years back.
Best Practices for Making Your Ideas Happen
1. Share ideas liberally. It creates accountability and generates feedback.
2. Share ownership and credit of ideas. There’s value in having others participate even if their work is not as good.
3. Seek competition and find your catalyst to complete your product.
PRODUCTIVITY BASED ORGANIZATION
4. Generate ideas in moderation. A surplus of ideas can be just as dangerous as a drought.
5. Spend time and energy staying organized.
6. Organize with with a bias to action - i.e. focus on action items
7. Don’t let today trump tomorrow. Keep two lists: 1) urgent and 2) long term
8. Have a system that kills off ideas (but never during brainstorming). Bad ideas can take a team off track
9. Don’t be burdened by consensus. Locate and hold onto the extremes and compromise on the rest.
10. Overcome the negative stigma of self-marketing. People need to be told what they’re looking at.
"You want to know for whom, look at your work. Who does it celebrate, who does it put down, who does it think is beautiful, who does it think is ugly, what work are you doing, what study? We can see it in there. We don’t have to ask you nothing, you give me your poetry or literature, I read it and I know a lot about you just from reading that."
Much like the entertainment industry, advertising is a hits driven business, and be it a club banger or an epic blockbuster, people want in!
But it’s hard to be great on your own. Some might even say impossible.
So for those of us who dream much faster than we can do, establishing the right tribes is essential for building the life and legacy we want.
Although while at an agency we may come across or even be a part of great work, pervasive fear, complacency and research tests designed to confirm flawed logic rather than enlighten, often prevent great work from becoming pop culture hits.
As a result, us hit-hungry folks, may put in countless hours of work only to remain starved. And if how we behave is based on the knowledge we have and seek, then to achieve something different, something greater, we should seek passionate, curious, purposeful people, different from ourselves, to accelerate the process.
We may collaborate at work, but do we seek collaborations in life that directly take into account our needs, interests and weaknesses? Probably not, especially when it pertains to the creative realm, but what better time than now?
A few daily musings from Keni Thacker, Executive Producer for Differenter/Sr. Event Technology Specialist, at JWT fell into my hands. So I took these words of wisdom and used them as inspiration for a typographical exercise.
Brands should work with consumers more to build a shared brand experience.
Building authentic stories collectively allows consumers to interact with the brand and create a dialogue where they can participate in telling the brand story, leading them to feel more invested in the brand.
And if we’re honest with ourselves, whether or not brands include consumers in developing their brand story, consumer participation defines what the brand story is and how it develops over time as people’s interactions with the brand continue to change.
So it’s up to brands to take what consumers are saying and package it and repackage it as advertising.
And that is the breakdown of the new, frequently used term story building.
AdWeek Learnings, finally shared. (Advice for ad agencies that I whole heartedly agree with.)
There needs to be a shift from a creative brief oriented culture to one that’s based on the customer’s relationship with the brand. Everything the agency does for the client should be in service of the customer’s brand experience.
Agencies must ask themselves what are the central points of the brand that people can rally around, and then start designing based on a new view of that customer service.
Agencies should do the customer research needed, include technology at every point and once the data is collected, use and apply the research in a different way.