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Anger Management

Posted on July 24, 2012 and read 2,359 times

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pierno Anger ManagementAdam Pierno
Creative Director
Partners + Napier, Atlanta
Hunting the Spark

Today, I am f***ing pissed. Yup. You could say it’s one of those days. And normally, I would not write when I’m mad. But I was trying to work through it and finish a post on another topic and it wasn’t going anywhere. Why? Because I’m pissed.

If you’ve working in advertising for over two weeks, you have no doubt gotten angry, mad or frustrated. That’s where I am right now. And I thought I would take this opportunity to write about working through anger. Maybe it will be therapeutic for me. Maybe for you. Let’s find out.

I share a goal with my agency. We’re trying to build something. Something amazing. And it hasn’t been easy. That’s cool, because no challenge is, and I didn’t expect it to be easy.

Today, we suffered another setback along the way, just as I could see daylight. Totally unexpected. And I am beyond frustrated. I am wall punching frustrated. Phone throwing frustrated. It’s been building as I’ve invested more and more energy, passion, time and effort into it.

Every single move has been harder than I thought it would be. Maybe harder than it should be. Each decision point has been much more work and time intensive than I had expected.

But the result of each battle has also been better than I wanted.

And that’s the part I have to keep in mind now. In the end, we will work through this and end up where we want to be. It will just take a little longer, and be a little more work than I expected. And that’s the point you need to keep in mind when you get the news about your last presentation that makes you kick over your trash bin. You’re pissed. You worked hard. You believed in that idea, that direction, that layout, that whatever. It’s dead. Who cares why.

You have a decision to make. I have watched and lived both tines of the fork. You can roll over. Punt. Knock out whatever they want in response to your idea not making it. It’s not worth putting up a fight. You showed them that thing you loved, and they didn’t get it. Now they’ll get your B effort as punishment. Why should you put yourself out there again?

Or you can kick your trash bin. Get some space from the work for a while. Have a big glass of toughen up and get back to work. Really look at the work objectively. Understand why it died. Create something better. Stronger. Smarter. More expensive to produce (if you’re vengeful).

Most people choose the first path. Either at that moment or along the road. Somewhere in the project or during the course of their job. But, take the easy path, and what have you got to show for it? Nothing. It’s as if that time and that passion was wasted. Those weeks are gone. It takes just as long to produce garbage as it does to produce something you love. It will just feel like it’s longer producing the B work, because you’ll just be cursing yourself the whole time. And it will still have your name on it.

Or take the other path and hold your head up high. You’ll know you put in your best effort. Your scoutmaster would be proud. And you’ll have found a new depth to your self. We think that the greatest creative people always have the answer. But the greatest creative people I’ve ever been around have delivered the answer in round after miserable round of work. They’ve waded through the muck of client politics, waves of non-sequitor comments, new strategy “tweaks”and “we like it, we don’t love it”s and still come out the other side with something astonishing.

At the outset of each project, you envision producing something great. You have that drive. Slowly, it drains over the course of the endeavor. Sometimes not so slowly; a single jolt from a client or internal team member or competitor can put the brakes on it.

Here’s the thing: Think of your end target audience. The consumer, your CD, your client, the holding company. Whoever it is.

The audience doesn’t know. They don’t know the politics. They don’t know it was round seven. They don’t know you didn’t get the director you wanted, or the talent. They don’t know you were mad because they killed your favorite idea and you got to this idea when you punted.

They only know the result. That’s it. So, you have never been angrier. Your foot is just making contact with the trash bin. What are you going to do. Phone it in? Or answer the call.




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