I also write! I write comedy. I write articles. I write social posts. Posters. Headlines. Long copy is the only thing I'm not so keen on.
You're the average of the five people you WORK with
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. When it comes to character building, we are deeply influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions.
Given the fact that we spend most of our time at work (I certainly do), it dawned on me that we are, or at least I am, the average of the five people we work with. Oh dear.
I once had a creative director who was always in a good mood. She smiled a lot and consistently took the rough with the smooth. Gradually the atmosphere in the creative department became lighter, more positive and people laughed more.
I remember a junior art director I once interviewed for an opening on my team. Despite her lack of professional experience, her energy and pressing need to make and do, impressed me. I thought the whole team could benefit from that; even I could do with a boost of energy now and then. It's a personality trait that, on paper, has nothing to do with talent. At the same time, what is talent if not a group of attributes that lead to success?
My first creative partner is not only a brilliant writer but also an inspiring entrepreneur. Although we don’t work together anymore, she’s still a good friend who has taught me a lot through the years: from language skills to idea articulation and office politics. Big lessons passed on through osmosis — by simply hanging out. The kind of lessons that are not taught or given, but learned by observation and experience. That’s why we should always work with the best people we can find. Even if at first it makes us feel insecure, inadequate or undeserving. With time it’s the best (and perhaps only?) way to grow and better ourselves. And it’s free.
Throughout my years in the business, I've been subconsciously selecting the most significant traits to my personal development. Without noticing, I've leant towards people whose attributes I want for myself. In one way or another, we all do it. Now, though, I feel the need to be forensic about it. To investigate and be clear on the qualities and skills I surround myself with at work. Because, ultimately, they'll impact who I am.
Now while it's ideal to be closely surrounded by positive, supportive people who want you to succeed, isn’t it also necessary to have critics? Some might say ‘simply pick the best people.' But have they been successful because of the people around them? We’re all different and need a diverse range of influences to succeed.
It became clear that what I needed was a long list of traits I'd aim to have on my team (or ‘cast’ as I like to call us). From that long list, I selected the ten which are most important to me today. It might change with time. I don’t know. Here they are, my #10Traits:
Ability to articulate an idea clearly
Obsession with simplicity
Light-heartedness (tendency to smile)
Pressing need to make and do
Resilience (never giving up)
Capacity to pick your battles (and let go)
Willingness to listen more than talk
Criticism seekers (eagerness to learn and grow)
What are your #10Traits? The ones you want to surround yourself with at work because eventually, they’ll shape who you are. Please write in the comments; I’d love to know.