It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be.
In my personal life, 2019 is the year of getting sh*t done. I’ve signed up for my second half marathon, getting my backside into gear (and trying to shift the pizza weight). I’m going to tend to my much-neglected blog, learn how to use a D-SLR properly, actually use the big ol’ box of craft supplies I schlepped over from the UK, and finally, read all of the books I’ve had lying next to my bed for months.
When I was back in the office after Christmas, I had a look through the agency library for some inspiration. I read a lot of blog posts and industry news sites, but I’m pretty poor at reading industry books. I flicked through Paul Arden’s ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.’ and decided it was a good place to start.
I devoured it in one evening. I’ve subsequently gone back to pages to remind myself of the guru-like advice printed on them. Here are some of my favourite parts with my own spin on the advice.
Begin thinking and behaving like a winner.
It’s easy as a Scot (or British person) to be apologetic about success. Not a culture to generally ‘big ourselves up’ we often shrug off compliments. However, businesses need winners to succeed. I’ve been guilty of thinking about low-level achievement in the past, rather than reaching for the big guns.
Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.
A contrast to the last point, but as an industry, we generally don’t like being told what’s wrong. Some of the best people in the industry have come from the ranks of the toughest people. In the past I’ve been guilty of seeking praise versus criticism. However, in my teaching role, we are given constructive criticism and I believe this has improved my skills immensely.
Don’t be afraid of silly ideas.
Silly ideas provide the perfect antidote to the seriousness of the industry. They can sometimes provide the best solution to the brief too. #Fanny
Get out of advertising (adaptable for other industries).
Sort of linked to the last point, talk to people not in the industry (you work in) about a brief or project you’re working on for external perspective. Read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a series that’s popular amongst your target audience.
We’re obsessed with the finished product. Something polished and perfect. However, if it’s finished, you can’t provide any input. I’ve taken this advice and applied it to docs, placing what I want to say on each page then go back and polish. The amount of time I’ve spent stuck on one page, rather than focusing on the flow of a presentation, is ridiculous.
So, why is this helpful to 2019 being the year of getting sh*t done, I hear you ask?
- No longer worrying about status, yes we’re not a huge London agency, BUT we are talented and we have spades of experience, energy, plus we’re very nice people.
- With everything I do in 2019, I’ll be asking for constructive criticism. Both in my personal and professional life.
- We’ve all had silly ideas that we’ve shrugged off in the past. Well, no more! Silly ideas will be shared, and we’ll see if there’s scope to turn them into success.
- This goes for any industry, not just advertising. I’m applying to both teaching and brand development.
- I’ve already vastly cut down the time I spend building presentations. The quality hasn’t reduced, only the time spent.
Paul Arden’s book is not new. It was first published over 15 years ago. The man knew what he was talking about and it remains just as relevant now. I encourage you to buy (other good bookshops are available) or borrow a copy and read it.