As many of you know, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I prefer to find a word to help guide me through the year. Some past words have included gratitude, focus, simplify, believe and faith.
My word this year is resilience.
Early on in my career, I learned the power of resilience. I landed a job right out of college with a small ad agency that I really loved. I worked with incredibly creative people on fun accounts. I learned a ton from bosses and colleagues I adored. I even got to work in the same building as my dad. I moved up from an assistant media buyer (yep!) to account coordinator to account executive to senior AE within the span of three years. It was great! Then it all came tumbling down.
While the agency had several high-profile clients, none was as big as this group of car dealerships (again, yep!). It’s a long story and I for sure do not have all the details but suffice it to say the dealership group at one point – pretty much out of the blue – just stopped paying its bills and that forced the agency to cover its outstanding fees for everything from media buys to ad production.
It was a mess. And it took the agency down. I still remember the day one of the agency’s named partners called me in to let me go as the agency closed its doors for good. He literally had tears in his eyes – and seriously, if you knew this guy, you would think he never ever shed a tear about anything. I know he felt so badly for letting his team down even though much of it wasn’t really his fault.
I was scared and anxious. After all, I was young and relatively inexperienced. I had loved so much about this job and the opportunity to learn it afforded. Where was I going to find another job like that? Who was going to hire me? How was I going to make money? Was I going to have to move back home? After a small pity party, of course I knuckled down, updated my resume, made some contacts and then landed a job at a larger, more prestigious agency doing even better work on much bigger clients.
I have weathered many job and client losses since then. Some have let me go and others I have let go. I have explored various partnerships that have worked and quite a few that despite promising starts, did not. And once after spending years building my own PR firm, I negotiated its acquisition by another firm only to have the buying firm close it six months after purchase.
I have started over again and again and again. And it’s okay. It’s part of becoming better and growing each and every day.
There is a quote widely attributed to Confucius that sums up my feelings on the concept of resilience: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling down but in rising every time we fall.”
Here’s to a resilient and beautiful New Year! Happy 2022 to all!