Friday, February 15, 2013

Think only about what you are going to do next

Early in January, I spoke at Caffeinated Mornings about the importance of independence in advertising. Afterwards, someone asked me about my greatest failure. I hemmed, hawed and spouted forth some barely sensical metaphors. My stumbling irritated me. Why was it so hard for me to remember any failures, much less speak spontaneously about them? Here's what I decided. And what I wish I'd answered.
What do you mean by failure? The client didn't like your idea? You missed a typo and had to reprint a brochure? You published a piece that was merely solid instead of tactically, strategically and creatively brilliant? You're wasting energy if you define these events as failures. No one died and you have another day in front of you. So keep looking ahead. Think only about what you are going to do next. In this context, there's no such thing as failure. And that's what failure has taught me. To plow right past it.
The other question I flubbed was, "How do you manage to do your job, have a family and write a novella?" I responded with a glib line about insomnia. But it was wrong for me to phrase my answer in the context of myself. I wish I had said something like this:
I think I am exactly like every other creative person and probably everybody in this room. We get bored quickly and we hate it. When we see an empty space, we want to fill it. That's our nature. Not everything we do is great. That's OK. We just like doing stuff. That's what makes us, us.

1 comment: said...

Great insights, thanks so much for sharing. I totally get the challenge of providing a well versed answer on the spot. I also find a little reflection is needed to give better insights.