Friday, August 13, 2021


About twenty years ago, over the phone, I met the 'headhunter' Christie Cordes.

I had heard great things about Christie, and even though she was on the wrong coast, I decided I had nothing to lose in speaking to her.

Most headhunters circle around you like a cagey boxer when he first sizes up an opponent. They keep their distance. They poke and jab to see what you have. Maybe they let go a roundhouse to see if you can take a punch.

Christie really did none of that.

I suppose she assumed from the places I had worked and the money I had made and the years I had spent in the business and the positions I had achieved, that I could answer a brief, sell a spot, and deal with a dilemma.

Christie had something different.

Soldiers call it coup d'oeil.

Christie saw the strategic high-ground in the career battlefield that no one else was able to see.

In the stroke of an eye.

She busted me pretty quickly.

"It's not just about your portfolio anymore," she smacked. "Everybody has a great book. It's about doing something every day, working in real-time. Making a name for yourself. Treating yourself as something people will want to buy."

My ex-partner Tore was the one who told me to start a blog before I even knew what a blog was. But Christie gave me the reason why.

Because if you're a writer and you're selling your writing skills, the best way to sell writing skills is to show how you write.

We're not football prospects who are evaluated by people via a raft of computers, coaches and statistical calibrations. There's no codified writer equivalent of the 40-yard dash or how many reps I can bench press 225 lbs or my vertical leap.

There's just the writing I do.

Eighteen months ago, Christie called me.

I was new to the ranks of unemployment. And though I was working in-house and had no great financial worries--I was scared. Being scared is the most natural thing in the world. Doing something about being scared isn't.

"You have 96 Twitter followers," she chided.

"I'm not a Twitter person," I answered. As if that was an excuse.

"People look for people on Twitter. You don't have to like it. But you can't ignore that."

I tried.

After 40-years in advertising, we've all gotten very good at self-delusion. But I conceded.

This was March, 2020.

I gave myself the goal of having 500 followers by June and 1000 by the end of the year.

Today, I've got over 3,800. 

That's not Vaynerchukian. 

But it's ok.

My point today is four-fold.

One. Find people like Christie. Listen to them. Learn.

Two. Sell by showing, not telling.

Three. Do it every day. Every day.

Four. Pass it along. 

Let someone try to beat me at my own game. Let out-write me, out-wit me, out-kibbitz me.  

That's ok.

The competition will only make me better.

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