Google outdid itself with the Saul Bass doodle. Brilliant!
I was crammed between an elderly Chinese man and a young corporate woman riding home through San Francisco’s Russian Hill. I could tell by the sing songy enthusiasm that the two women a few seats to my left were catching up.
“You started your new job today right? How was it?”
“Yeah. It was like any first day. ‘Read this, meet him.’ You can never really tell on the first day.” She mentioned her new employer in passing.
Before this moment I had only seen people who beat me out for jobs on LinkedIn or updated corporate bio pages. I craned my neck slowly to see the young woman who snagged one of the dozens of jobs I had applied to since early 2012. I wasn’t jealous, more curious.
“It’s a bit scary,” she said. “I’ve never done it before…”
So she had no experience?
“…but that’s a good thing.”
The weight that I had felt since starting my new job nearly a month ago melted away.
I turned back towards the elderly Chinese man who calmly hugged the metal bar, steadying himself as he did every day having mastered this one simple movement that allowed him to grin inwardly when children teetered as the bus jerked away from each stop.
When I woke up this morning you were gone. You disappeared somewhere between last night and the moment the dog barked. At first I didn’t miss you because I had today. But today fizzled right after lunchtime. That’s when I started making lists of things for us to do. I have big plans for us, Tomorrow.
Today I had the opportunity to promote a joint campaign between my new employer, WildAid, former NBA star Yao Ming, and several of our partners. Check out the trailer my colleagues created for ‘The End of the Wild’, our upcoming film featuring Yao’s visit to Africa. Some of the content is graphic so take a moment before scrolling down and pressing play.
He went on hiatus for 10 years, but last week Ricky Gervais brought his “Office” alter ego David Brent back to life for Red Nose Day. I’ve since been revisiting some of Brent’s most memorable quotes and noticed that if you stop him short of finishing his thoughts, he has some pretty solid advice. Here are a few nuggets:
“You grow up, you work half a century, you get a golden handshake, you rest a couple of years and you’re dead. And the only thing that makes that crazy ride worthwhile is ‘Did I enjoy it? What did I learn? What was the point?’”
“A philosopher once wrote you need three things to have a good life. One, a meaningful relationship, two, a decent job of work, and three, to make a difference. And it was always that third one that stressed me, to make a difference. And I realize that I do. Every day, we all do. It’s how we interact, with our fellow man.”
“Life is just a series of peaks and troughs. And you don’t know whether you’re in a trough until you’re climbing out, or on a peak until you’re coming down. And that’s it you know, you never know what’s round the corner. But it’s all good. ‘If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain.’”
My friend Christina is the head of PR and Communications for True&Co., the company that is redefining how women find the perfect fitting bra. I try to touch base with Christina every time the company gets a major press hit, which is often. This last time however, a New York Times Sunday edition article struck a chord with me on a personal level and made me ask: How important is the right fit?
Not bras in my case but the right fit in life. Sure we settle for near fits when it comes to clothing since many of us buy off-the-rack, but where else do we compromise?
When it comes to spending your life with someone, why would you ever settle? I truly believe that there is someone out there for you. Sure there are sites with algorithms just like True&Co, but even if the experts say that you have met your match, it’s up to your heart if it feels right.
When it comes to work, I am a huge proponent of finding the right fit. Even if you have to take a job to pay the bills, keep looking for “The One”. It’s out there and when you find it, you’ll land it and it won’t even seem like work.
Some families fit great right away and others need a lot of work. Well you can’t change family but you can try to make the fit better. Imagine that you’re a team of tailors working on your relationship, taking in a little here and letting it out there. It may not work for everyone but together with some honesty and openness you can make great strides.
Well you can swap friends out. Sometimes we outgrow friendships, fill up our lives with too many and need to cut back. I always remain open to new friendships because I firmly believe that the more people you meet the richer you will be for putting your time out there.
When I look for inspiration I frequently turn to country music. I was raised on many musical genres however The Highwaymen (clockwise: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson) probably imparted some of the most profound wisdom on an impressionable Brian Adams, sporting a bowl cut and some kickin’ dungarees. I continue to look to these and other country musicians for some honest truths. Here are a few from Willie, a master of finding the truth, but who knew he understood marketing so well…
Don’t accept traditional viewpoints
“My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down – but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let’s all have another round.”
Understand your audience
“Ninety-nine percent of the world’s lovers are not with their first choice. That’s what makes the jukebox play.”
Classic themes play well (even in new mediums)
“If a song was ever good, it’s still good.”
Structure is there for a reason
“Three chords and the truth – that’s what a country song is. “
Be unique (or at least be next)
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
Everyone has tips on how to tell a story. Advice ranges from ensuring your story has an arc, including engaging details, making it personal, and practicing your delivery in the case of elevator pitches. Much of this guidance is helpful but never really gets at the heart of telling a story. So then the question remains: how do you tell a story?
I’ve been told a million stories over the years. As a reporter I was pitched time and again by everyone from neighbors to CEOs. As a communications professional my clients or colleagues regaled me with stories of new products and programs that were always “changing the landscape” of whatever mission we were working on at the time. Many of these tales never went further than my ears.
So what does get attention? Or better yet, what deserves attention? What rises to the ranks of newsworthy or makes me pause and ask, “Tell me more?”
I’m only going to say this once so listen up: have something to thoughtful to say. It’s that simple. Add to the conversation. Don’t sell. Think about why you listen to stories that are told to you out of the blue. These are all different ways of saying that you need something worthwhile to share. Just stating that your product is new or different will never make anyone care deeply enough that they listen to you for more than a minute and politely nod at your occasional breaks in delivery.
So the next time you plan to tell someone about yourself, your work, or your children/pets/products/car/phone/app/book/movie/show, please be sure it will add something to their lives. It’s time that they will use to either learn to like you or not, so don’t waste it. After that, everything else from the arc to the personal and engaging details will fall into place.