I’m not a fan of inspiration in my business life. Sure, when I’m using the creative side of my brain, I find inspiration everywhere—books, magazines, music, early mornings and on airplanes. But in terms of the “business” side of running a creative agency, I’ve never been one to read books by Jack Welch or Malcolm Gladwell. I don’t care who moved my cheese.
I’m sure these are great authors and books, and they probably would help me, but I just can’t imagine sitting down and reading a book about business. Seems a dreadfully boring and unfulfilling way to spend my time.
But, as The Arland Group grows and the realities of that growth evolve my role from the second most important member of the creative team to the “business guy,” I am forced to think more about business and less about building brands and creating.
I’m not 100% on board with being a “businessman” yet, but I get it. I know that’s the path and what The Arland Group needs right now. So with my evolution comes my first “business” blog.
As I said in my first sentence, and before I started rambling, I’m not a fan of inspiration in my business life. My parents and upbringing taught me everything I needed to know about running a business. You have to work really hard, respect yourself and respect others. That’s it.
I’m a firm believer that hard work is the most important contributor of accomplishment. I know it’s been the most important factor to my success. I worked really hard when I cut grass for seven years during high school and college. I worked even harder at my first job out of college writing for a magazine. And I worked the hardest I ever have in building a business with two of my friends into a 16-person operation.
It’s hard to be a leader, though, by preaching hard work. I haven’t been able to develop the words or concepts to turn my ethos into a rallying cry. Thankfully, someone has done it for me. For the first time in my business career, I have found inspiration and assurance in a blog post by Dan Waldschmidt titled, “You have to do the hard things.” The simple blog post lists 19 hard things you have to do to be successful.
They are spot on. Every single one of them. I encourage you to go read the post in its entirety. Here are five that I feel I have mastered, and three that I need to work hard at.
The “hard things” I’m good at.
1. You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
2. You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
3. You have to give more than you get in return right away.
4. You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
5. You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
The “hard things” I need to improve on.
1. You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
2. You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing if safe seems smarter.
3. You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
Go read the entire blog. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and message. Here’s to finding more business inspiration in 2014.