Kindness costs nothing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere.
What seems like a very long time ago, I walked into a boutique advertising agency and asked if they were hiring. There was no job opening. So, they made one up and that tiny ad shop became home – for the next 11 years.
I learned more there than I could have ever imagined when I stuck my head in the door that first day. Having left big NY agencies, the partners brought their own blend of remarkable savvy. But it was the kindness they brought that shone just as much. Yes, the creativity that bubbled over in those small rooms made believers out of some very big clients. But, beneath clever taglines and spot-on campaigns, was a culture of taking great care, not only of the client but of each person who helped bring those campaigns to life.
What we see depends on what we look for. John Lubbock
Long before inside-joke agency pictures became Facebook postings, we had our own odd assortment of the sweet and strange. There was the authentic Wurlitzer jukebox near the reception desk, and an ironic Garfield fish tank nestled alongside shelves of creative awards. To mark a milestone agency anniversary, we hopped into a limo to celebrate, but, true to form, dinner was hardly the expected. Unless a famed NYC drag show qualifies.
In a world where you can be anything — be kind.
Then one day, the bird left the nest – with a little help. A nester by nature, I can’t say layoffs could ever be my ticket to ride. Branching out into the unknown and trying new things is hardly new but it’s seldom an easy fit. Even when serial jobs are the norm these days, lift-off is still more difficult when it’s a surprise walk off a cliff. Still, at one time or another, almost everyone has been dropped on their head in that proverbial lake and been forced to sink or swim.
Mostly, we swim.
And one day, we wake up to see the doors that actually did open after that other one slammed behind us. We pack our knapsack chock full of experience, hope and sometimes just plain grit, and head off in a new direction. Sometimes, that direction is just a better version of the previous one but we’re lucky, the new door is wide open to us and we’re changed for the better.
Remember that your present situation — is not your final destination.
My PR guru husband had a few similar experiences and, as boss of his own agency, he created a few for people who worked for him. Through the years, many of them recounted his kindness and generosity, as well as his commitment to mentor them and help them succeed. He was one funny guy but more than that he raised the bar on smarts and class, inspiring them to raise the bar for themselves. (Yet another reason to miss that man of mine)
In the years since I ‘grew up’ and out of that first creative nest, I’ve honed my crafts, won my share of awards, worked at other agencies, started my own as well as one with said husband. But much of what I do today, much of how I think today, began at that very first address. A few years ago, I ran into one of the partners and was happy to discover that, in retirement, he settled into the fully realized traditional artist he always wanted to be; not just captain of the creative agency boat. He died 2 years later and I was grateful I finally had the chance to thank that amazing, inspired guy for all he inspired me to be.
You will be remembered more for your kindness than any success you could attain. Mandy Hale
The little agency that could, did. They took a chance on me, showed me that business could be done with excellence, as well as fun, wonder and respect. They steeped me in guidance, showered belief that I was more and better than I believed myself to be. We were family.
Kindness is seeing the best in others even when they can’t see it themselves.
I’m sure there are many companies who bloom with the same values and legacy. I was just lucky enough have my start in one of them. And that stroke of luck – or karma – put me squarely in the path, years later, of finding the love of my life and business partner.
No matter where this crazy life brings us or what door we open next, we can always choose to be a nice human. Kindness matters.