Friday, May 25, 2012

Stop and Take a Breath

This is a piece of advice you will use for the rest of your career, so listen up: Stop and Take a Breath.

There are many situations where this advice applies (I know because I have been in many situations where I didn't apply said advice).

Before you send that lengthy, passion-infused email to a whole slew of folks.

When you are about to say something is when it isn't.

Prior to saying, sending, speaking, alluding, guessing, whispering anything to your boss that hasn't been thought through.

Ahead of raising your voice.

Just before you glare, smirk, or roll your eyes.

Before you ever, ever do one of these things...
Please stop and take a breath.

You will save yourself from yourself a hundred times over throughout a lifetime following this advice. Remember, I'm speaking from experience. The experience of NOT doing this.

Take a minute (more like an hour) before you send anything to your boss. Or to anyone whose title is higher than yours. Re-read or re-think what you are going to say. Take that cleansing breath and make certain you're sure about it. Be succinct, non-judgmental, and clear. If you are presenting a problem, give a solution. If you are giving an opinion, include an alternative. If you are just plain ranting, perhaps don't.

Take a quick second before you speak. Collect your thoughts, ponder your sources, have a point and (again) be clear. People will listen to those who have something to say. They tune out those who don't. Once you've been tagged as someone to tune out, it's super hard to turn that around.

Take a breath before you send any email to a big group of people. Especially if higher-ups are on the note. Re-read or re-think what you are going to say. Be succinct, non-judgmental, and clear. Make sure everyone you are cc'ing is critical to the information being provided. Check for typos. Speak and spell like an adult.

Stop and take a breath if you feel your voice rising; if you know your eyebrows are starting to slant inward; when your smile edges toward a smirk (oftentimes accompanied by an audible sound); or your eyeballs begin to roll upward.

Before you ever, ever do one of these things...
Please stop and take a breath.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Storm off the Stage

I was in awe of Gerry Graf in this article about a Creative Week panel where he immediately walked off the stage after hearing a fellow panelist state, "I think creative people are interesting. I think creative departments are shit."

In one simple statement of "I'm done," he made everyone well aware of what he stood for.

It makes me wonder, what "issue" would I storm off a stage for?

I'm thinking we all should have at least one thing in our life that is worth storming off a stage for. One single thing that embraces all our beliefs and values. I can't put my finger on what mine is, but I hope with all my might that when the moment comes that someones go against it, that I instantly and confidently storm off the stage.