One of the joys of being an agency president or creative director is that you get credit for the work the people around you create. I’ve built my career on the talents of a lot of talented people. I didn’t develop the gecko. In fact I tried to kill it. Four times. No kidding.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting fabulous notes from wonderful people complimenting me on all kinds of things. Allow me to brag for a moment. Last Friday more than 1800 people from more than 20 countries read an average of almost three pages on this website. I’ve heard from Fortune 500 chairmen, media chieftains, marketing leaders of all stripes and from many of the best agency people on the planet. (I hope you’ll all forgive me for not responding individually.) Like Lou Gehrig, I realize I might just be the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
About 15 years ago, the agency did some work for the group that started “Take Our Daughters To Work Day.” I remember one of the directors saying she wished a campaign could be developed to help black teenage girls gain confidence. So many things in society–in the media, in middle schools and high schools, in music, in pop culture–were conspiring to reduce their self-esteem. It’s haunted me for years that I was never able to pick up that banner. It would have been a good and important thing to do. And now that I think about it, I bet a lot of people could use a pat on the back.
So here’s my idea. In addition to sending me a note about how wonderful I am (and, yes, I still want those notes), send one to someone else–someone who may not get all the hurrahs I’m getting. Maybe it’s your kid’s teacher. Maybe it’s the woman in the next cubicle. Maybe it’s a niece or nephew who’s been through a rough time lately. Maybe it’s your oldest friend. Maybe it’s your newest. Everyone deserves to hear the things that will be said about them at their funerals before their funerals.
If all 1800 of us sent that note this week, 1800 people would have a better weekend. And wouldn’t that be nice?