I'm proud of you
How are you today? Are you well?
We danced a little jig at the end of the financial year (June 30) and also celebrated that school holidays are well and truly here in Melbourne. The conversations in the office over the last week have been as dynamic as ever. They've ranged from pre-planning next week's Design Thinking workshop, launching our survey into mental health and creativity, and mapping out a new venture to help startup founders.
I'm quite grateful for our culture and the environment we have where ideas are plentiful (which is easy) but we measure, execute and achieve tangible things often.
Which brings me to today.
I'm proud of you.
What about those words hey?
These words made me run faster when I was a kid. They me feel invincible, like I could take on the team I was playing against, the next team and the team after that. And when I was done — it gave me the urge to keep going.
Hearing these words from our coaches, teachers, mentors or parents fills us with such true and authentically positive energy. And I like positive energy.
This morning I looked in the mirror and said the words "I'm proud of you" out loud and I was a little embarrassed. I looked around and confirmed the bathroom door was locked and the kids were still downstairs getting ready for the day. I realised I was embarrassed because I said something out loud that I don't often say to myself.
Last week I was walking through the CBD after a client meeting. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was a crisp, cold winter wind blowing. It was a beautiful Melbourne winter's day and I was smiling.
Surrounded by high-rise buildings, I walked past an old building that looked familiar; and I stopped. The signage had changed, the design had been upgraded but I remembered walking into this building more than 20 years ago, nervous as hell, clutching a folio and wearing newly ironed shirt. I was attending a job interview at a global agency. A well known, well-celebrated business I aspired to work for at the time.
I also remember walking out feeling rejected — told I was probably not going to get the job because there were 'higher calibre' applicants 'on the table'.
Smiling, I kept walking. I never landed a job with that business, even though that interview was my second attempt. But now, more than twenty-odd years later, that business is one of Tank's competitors. We regularly lose client contracts to them, and we often win against them as well.
I smiled as I walked through the CBD that day because I felt proud of the journey since that day; almost wishing I could tell that younger version of myself how it would eventually turn out.
This sense of pride in ourselves isn't necessarily celebrated by all. It's often derided if someone stands up and says "I've come a long way!"
But it's OK to look in the mirror and say "I'm proud of you."
It's OK to pat yourself on the back —more often than just 'from time to time'.
All the time.
And not just for the big stuff. Not all of us are going to win a Canne Lion, Pencil or other fancy award. We need to celebrate the small wins and feel damn proud of them.
Feeling a sense of achievement is contagious. Celebrating personal bests, remembering where you were, where you are now and where you're going is paramount to creating momentum and making everything about our work, life and careers better.
Celebrating every small win is critical. Because every small step moves us forward, away from where we've been, and closer to where we're going.
Celebrating young, emerging creatives and allowing them to lead is critical. Because they're the future of our industry and they're going to make it better than we ever could.
Celebrating our own wins and achievements in this industry is critical. Because we shouldn't need others to tell us how great we are; we should know and accept this in the first place.
Celebrate a small step you've taken today. Anything.
Ring a fucking bell.
Building a career is a game of inches after all.