Lessons from 2010

2010 has been a massive year of both ups and downs for me which has lead to some significant personal development. As I take a leap forwards into come new challenges I thought what better time to compose a very brief list of some lessons I’ve learned in the year past.

Professional Lessons

– A campaign not working is not a failure as long as you learn something from it
– Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean it will work, just because something didn’t work doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea
– Take holidays – for years I put off taking trips because I didn’t want to fall behind on work, but nothing leaves you more hungry to do good work than a little time away
– ‘No’ is not a dirty word – If a timeline is unrealistic at least suggest a more manageable solution, don’t just say yes
– Low cost, High Quality, Fast delivery – Pick 2
– Anyone can be insightful, often without realising it. The secret is to listen closely enough to hear the verbal diamond in the rough.

Personal Lessons

– There is no such thing as a black and white situation – only varying shades of grey
– While it’s important to speak your beliefs it is more important to listen to those of others
– Exercise really is enjoyable – everyone wasn’t lying to me for the past 23 years despite what I previously thought
– If you want something in life take it. Don’t wait for the ‘right time,’ it may never come
– In 12 months everything can change – Last year my dad spent about 6 months in hospital undergoing chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant. The end of December see’s him 12 months cancer free and he is currently back at work full-time and looking more healthy everyday.

What a difference culture can make

I’ve always been the kind of person who doesn’t do what he doesn’t enjoy. When I was younger everyone played sports and so I too gave it a go, but at the end of the day I just didn’t enjoy it, so by 5th grade I had stopped playing competitive sports and spent my time doing art and reading instead. I’m not sure whether this attitude is a good one or a bad one to have, but I have carried it with me into adulthood. Pouring myself passionately into the things that excite me and provoke my interest while simply choosing not to engage in things I find tedious (unless of course they result in me getting more of what I’m passionate about).

The one place I notice this more than any other is work. I am a jumper. I’ve never stayed in a workplace for more than 18 months and I’m a restless employee, always looking for more challenges. If you can’t provide that challenge then I will go somewhere that can. I am one of those employees that is hard working and will take on as much work as you can give me, but if I’m not engaged you’re going to notice it quickly. This has served me well in my current industry, I’ve worked hard and progressed quickly and there isn’t a single day I don’t walk away thinking that I love what I do. But is it more than just the job? The other thing that the media/advertising/marketing industry has that has been missing from my previous workplaces is work hard play hard culture that goes through every level of the companies, from the management to the admin staff.
I stumbled into a job in media, it wasn’t a grand scheme or aspiration, I knew someone who worked in the industry and I lucked out and got a job. I started work and after about two weeks in the digital team I got home one night and just knew, this is what I want to do. It was unlike the jobs I had previously had (mostly sales/customer service/admin type stuff) and the people were certainly different from those at my previous workplace (it was the type of obscure business people walk into as customer service reps and never leave, thus management teams are made up of people with very little business acumen and little to no knowledge of how the greater world operates) no, the people here were smart, hardworking and they actually enjoyed their jobs. Work was not just a place to go during the daylight hours and it wasn’t just a thing you did to pay the bills, it was something you felt deeply about, something you wanted to do. I felt excited by possibilities being there. That was it, I was addicted to work from the moment I opened my first spreadsheet there.

I have been extremely lucky to work for two agencies that have amazing cultures and are filled with wonderful, hard working people and I think this, more than anything else in my work life has made me happy in what I am doing.

Are you happy where you’re working? If not, why not? and what kind of difference do you think a good culture would make?

For quality information on culture and HR orientated matters read articles written by my far more intelligent better half at HR Club Sydney

Learning to be grateful for challenging times

As all those that read my blog will be aware, I am currently at a very challenging time in my life.

I am dealing with a lot in terms of my father’s illness while continuing to work a challenging fulltime role as a digital account executive and studying fulltime via distance. Needless to say at the moment emotions are running high and my stress levels are ridiculous.

However I am not complaining because all of this stress, all the challenges currently facing me are, in the long run, for my benefit. Once I come out the otherside of this stressful time I will be stronger, wiser and more prepared for everything that will face me in the life ahead of me.

I have friends who breeze through life, they have no drive, no passion. They earn more money than I do, have less of an education, work less hours. They do not challenge themselves nor does life present them with challenges. Previously I have felt ripped off about this situation, that it is unreasonable that they get such an easy run. However there has been a shift in my thinking. I am the one being presented with opportunity. While they cruise along in their role I am working my arse off, contributing both to my business as well as to trade press to build my profile and gain as much knowledge as possible. Not just about digital media, but about business practices and how to market myself as an employee. In the long run this is going to get me further and make me happier than these other people could imagine.

I am passionate about life and about work and this passion and drive is what I see others lacking. These challenging times in life are like petrol. If you control the flow it is fuel, but if you let it pour too quickly it will just smother the flame of your passion. I choose to harness it as fuel.

5 things Lady Gaga can teach us about business

I was sitting in an airport at 6am, waiting to board a flight when I observed a photo of Lady Gaga and the following thoughts occured to me.

5. An overtly sexualised presentation can make even the poorest product (see lack of talent) successful

4. Controversy sells

3. Honesty and transparency are the hot topics in marketing but at the moment, but sometimes it helps to create a little mystique by being (sexually) ambiguous

2. Look different, make your branding and packaging stand out in a crowd and be original (ish)

1. Pants are optional

5 Lessons from Top Gun

Bad, mother fucker...

While watching Top Gun today I realised that there are some great lessons to be learnt that can be applied to our everyday lives, so with out further delay I present my 5 lessons from Top Gun.

5. Singing “You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling” will get the girl…

4. Pilots in the navy spend 20% of their time flying (working), 10% of their time drinking, 10% of their time singing, 10% sleeping and 50% of their time with no shirts on posing and pouting at one another. We should distribute our time similarly.
Who's a pretty boy then?
3. If they’re getting close, you’re getting a hard on.
Zoom zooooooom!
2. Its okay to gloat… Fly by’s make you look like a fucking legend.
Look at this bad mother fucker!
1. Everyone needs a wingman!
High Five Buddy