I have never been one of the advertising "cool kids."
In all my years in the business, I've never worked at Chiat/Day or Wieden + Kennedy.
In fact, while I'm being completely candid, I've never even been the hottest writer at the agencies I did work. There was always someone who came through in ways I couldn't. With something funnier, more unexpected or more something.
My phone has never rung off the hook with pleading calls from headhunters.
I wish I could say I'm being modest. I'm really just being truthful.
Despite my lack of elan, I've done ok in my career.
I've produced a lot of work that's won a fair amount of acclaim--some of which even helped drive sales, or build clients' businesses, or helped the agency I worked for.
I'm reflective, introspective and I often think about how I can reconcile my lack of abundant talent with whatever success I've enjoyed.
Here's where I am with that conundrum.
1. I work really hard. I come up with a lot of ideas. Quickly. And one of those is usually the right fit.
2. I have a good ear. I understand the "tone" the client is looking for. I can work with that tone and make something decent.
3. I over-deliver. I never do the assignment and try to look past that to the job that needs to be done. I challenge clients to think bigger and do more.
4. I listen before I argue. And when I do argue I try to do so without emotion, instead with facts and information.
5. I remember what was said. And use previous statements in previous meetings to help make my case.
6. I am stubborn. I stick to my guns but,
7. I am polite. So I seldom piss people off.
8. I try to be genuinely helpful to others.
9. I am unfailingly honest. I tell people what I've done, why I've done it and why it should be done.
10. When I'm wrong, which is often, I try to remember to admit my mistakes.
If I had more talent, I could probably be as successful or more successful and couple that with being a jerk. But I'm not that talented.
So I try to be a mensch.