Our intern coordinator and lead graphic designer, Spencer Gillard, guest blogs for us this week and talks about the value of staying humble in business and in life.
Sit down, Be humble
In the marketing world, we run into a lot of egos of all different shapes and sizes. Our clients are often in a tough spot. Their business or nonprofit is their lifeblood, their ultimate passion, they’re incredibly proud of their work, and they should be; but they’ve come to us needing some sort of help. That takes humility, that’s not an easy thing to do; though some are more willing to be corrected than others.
On the flip side, it can be hard for us on the agency side to be humble and stay humble. Sometimes we’re not very gracious at correcting or influencing. We’re the experts. We have people lining up to hear what we think, and it can go to our heads sometimes. We can fall into a pattern of thinking we’re the only ones who have the right answers.
Inside the agency isn’t immune either. Art is dumped, websites deleted, copy scratched, posts altered because somebody: the client, the art director, the copy chief, didn’t like it. Just like the clients, our work is our lifeblood, our ultimate passion. We’re incredibly proud of our work, and we should be; but sometimes we need to admit we need help too. Some are more willing than others to be corrected and realize they don’t have all the answers all the time.
Because we don’t know everything.
The other day we had an application for one of our internships (Yes! We’re hiring interns. Go look on our site: https://wolfandkey.com/careers-with-wolf-and-key/). The applicant wrote in their cover letter about how they quit on an incomplete project because they didn’t see what they were getting out it for themselves. Upon reading this young 20-something with no real experience explain why they’re a design expert and didn’t need to finish this rather early career-defining project, I was reminded of Pulitzer Prize winning rapper/songwriter Kendrick Lamar saying something profound in his song HUMBLE.
“Sit down, Be humble.”
I think those four simple words should be said at the start of every conference room meeting, before every brainstorming session, as a preamble to every pitch, at the beginning of every critique. To the client, to the creative director, to the designer, the writer, the coder: sit down, be humble.
Bruised egos are part of the business. Much of marketing, while we’d like to act like its all based on cold numbers, hard data points, and perfect algorithms, is a weighing of opinions and ideas. Sometimes it’s throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks. Sometimes it’s gently telling someone that their idea isn’t good or their sense of scale is off. Marketing is mostly a lot of passionate people telling other passionate people that the presentation of their passions needs tweaking in order to be fully understood and fulfilled.
So sit down.
Whether you’re a business owner, a non profit coordinator, an experienced designer, a brand new copywriter, the ceo, or the intern who goes on coffee runs: sit down, be humble. You’ve still got a lot to learn, and almost everybody else has some good input too. There’s not a class, an experience, a job, a task, a client, or a project that you can’t learn from, grow from, change from, if you let it. The best influencers, designers, creatives and leaders never say, or more importantly act like, they have it all figured out. That’s part of the reason they’re in the position they are.
And be humbled.
This blog has given and will continue to give great ideas and stories about digital marketing, development, and content creation. And we will continue to talk about business and culture and growth. But none of that really takes off or reaches its fullest potential until you first sit down and be humble about it.