I would love it if you stopped reading this right now.
Take a moment, wherever you are and just stop.
Take three deep breaths. Feel your feet.
Okay, do that and come back.
I’m guessing most of you didn’t do that. I probably wouldn’t have. I’m guessing you’re in an open office and there are people around you in headphones and there are a lot of furrowed brows in the vicinity. And you’re probably reading this because you’re procrastinating from what you technically should be doing.
I get it.
I find myself living in that space too.
But I hate it.
I really, really hate it.
(god that felt good to write)
I fucking hate that world.
(that felt great to write)
I hate those days when all I see is screens.
I hate the days when my ears get tired from the headphones and all I feel around me is rancid stress.
I hate the days when I feel like I’m pushing stupid boulders up stupid hills.
I hate the days when I feel like I’m never going to get it all done and then I realize what
I’m trying to get done doesn’t even make sense to get done in the first place.
I hate feeling like it doesn’t matter.
These past few years I’ve been able to trick a group of badass, soulful, brave women to hang with me. I don’t know why they keep coming back, but I’m lucky that they do.
They’re all really good at what they do.
All who have put in the hours, the grind, the travel, the work…
All have gotten to powerful places in their career.
All who are tagged to be the next generation of leaders in the advertising/comms/marketing industry.
Yet over dinner one night, all of us confessed that at some level, we question the whole thing.
We don’t question putting in hard work, we don’t question late nights, we don’t question that we want to add real value… but rather we question whether we’re in a system that works for us or if we’re in an old system that makes us feel like we’re just slotted in and worked to death.
The question of the night became: can we engage in a more meaningful way?
figure out what you love, figure out what you’re good at, and build a career around that.
– Cindy Gallop
the future is what we choose to make.
– Regina Dugan
Think about it: what these two are suggesting, if taken seriously and really pondered and then truly acted upon, requires a level of guts and bravery and chutzpah that would make most of us shake.
To do it is terrifying.
My friend m just dropped out of her terribly impressive career and is in the midst of a walkabout. I don’t know when she’ll be back. But I do get the occasional email from her and I can feel her soul is on fire.
My other friend c is killing it at her company. She’s stepping into her own truth and understanding her value and making sure that she is heard. It’s electrifying to be around her.
I ran into an acquaintance of mine last month. We used to work together but now she’s started her own thing. Her eyes were full of light.
I think we’re entering a new era.
I think the advertising industry is grossly out of step with it.
An era where collaboration and connection and fluidity and humanity is key.
Where fostering the true conditions of creativity – hard work but space, new inputs,
Audacious goals, naps, wandering minds – will be the secret sauce that makes us win.
Where screens are cool but need to be strictly and regularly abandoned.
Where those that are open win.
I think it’s hard, at this moment, to be a creature of this emerging era.
It means we have to know ourselves more. We have to know what we want.
We need to put in the time to figure that tango between moments of pushing hard and moments of rest.
We have to have the bravery to step out of the factory creative of the past.
Have the bravery to set parameters in our own jobs.
Or have the bravery to step off the usual path completely.
Damn that’s hard. It’s really hard.
It means we’ll need to get comfortable saying:
“I don’t know”
“I’m going to try this”
“this might not work”
“will you help me?”
Have the bravery to say no.
Even more, have the bravery to say yes.
Heidi is our first, but every month moving forward we’re going to feature a guest writer on our blog. It’ll be a friend we dig, a colleague we partner with, a mentor we look up to, or a total stranger game enough to ride with us here. Whoever it is, they’ve got something to say that’s worth hearing. Count on it.