Impress yourself, not others

10 Jan

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard was from our Managing Director, Doug Brown. He said, “Don’t worry about impressing others. Just impress yourself.”

It’s harder than it sounds in agency life. Account people in particular are notorious people-pleasers, wanting to be liked and respected by clients and creatives alike. Not to mention incredibly ambitious.

Advertising is a tricky business to know you’re ‘good’ at. It’s often hard to isolate a campaign’s impact in the market, and there is usually no one right or wrong approach, either strategically and creatively. The only yardstick we are left with is the opinions of those around us – a supervisor, a client, some voice of experience that says our idea or concept is a smart one. No wonder we learn to care so much about what people are saying about us.

Trying to impress everyone you work with is exhausting. There is always a new colleague who knows nothing about you, a new client sizing you up to see what you’ve got. When you go into a meeting with ulterior motive (looking good), you stick out because you’re not aligned with the group objective. No one likes a showman. And no one likes hearing, “that was MY idea” from someone over and over again (most ideas are a result of team effort anyway).

Impress yourself, not others.


6 Responses to “Impress yourself, not others”

  1. dougbrowncreative January 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Sounds like you’re getting some good advice there Shane.

    Your post made me think about another truism in the business: Being ambitious is desirable, as long as your ambition is focused on the job that is under your nose and not on your “career”. The former will always look after the latter.

  2. sgoth January 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Good point Doug. There’s so many uncontrollables in career advancement (economy, available positions, clients’ comings-and-goings, nepotism, favouritism, luck…), you could drive yourself crazy focusing on that.

  3. rantyyj January 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    The only place this does’nt hold true is in politics.

  4. Shane January 11, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    You’re right, rantyyj, except politics.

  5. lindsmaloney January 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Great advice

    It’s so much easier to focus on the project in front of you and to do it well when you’re focusing on it, rather than what others are thinking of you and your ideas.

  6. February 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    I want to know exactly why you named this particular blog post, “Impress yourself, not
    others We make it all better”. Regardless I really adored the post!

    Many thanks,Stacy

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