Rising Tides

Having spent a few months now on the “other side of the fence” (at least from an agency POV), I am experiencing some of the same “motivational” techniques that I encountered as a creative here on the media side….mainly public recognition of those who have achieved success of late.

Many a time my art director and I were slated against one (or several) other team(s) vying to get picked to produce a particular project or campaign. While the decision was often subjective, it was always great to be on the winning side of things. But when things didn’t go “my” way, there was always the internal conversation about “what could I have done differently?” or “what did the other team do that I didn’t think of?”

As a creative, I’m always trying to do things that would make my peers (and hiring managers) exclaim “I wish I’d done that!” That outcome serves as my motivation to do better, think smarter, and maybe be a little bit crazier.

My thought was always that great creative inspired others to strive for that same greatness. (It’s a lot like the agency business here in ABQ. There are some seriously talented small regional shops producing some great work. This type of market can only push each other to continue to maintain a level of creativity if for nothing more than local bragging rights.)

In the words of JFK, rising tides lift all ships.

But what about the media sales environment? When I see my peeps in this position succeed with different pieces of business, I stradle the line between envy and self pity because I’m not seeing the same success. Granted, I’ve only been playing on this side of the fence for a few months, and I’m still much more confident in my creative and writing abilities than I am my selling. I know it takes time to be comfortable in my ad sales skin, but how can I use other’s success to motivate me?

Perhaps it’s important to remind myself that while I have confidence in myself, some of this success others are experiencing is based on building relationships over time. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, some will come quick, just like you meet some people and know instantly you’re going to be friends. Others take time to get to know, and even evaluate if you want to be friends with them in the first place. Same goes for new prospects.

Ultimately, it comes down to knowing that the person I’m really competing with – and who I should be comparing myself to – is the one staring back at me from a mirror.

It’s not time to abandon ship. It’s time to get it on the right course..wherever the wind takes me.

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