What is the best advice you put into practice? The below suggestions were all informally passed onto me, but somehow stuck in the recesses of my mind like the lyrics of old pop songs.
Please send me yours and I'll be sure to think of it the next time I'm pulling an all-nighter polishing a new business presentation.
• Just ($#*%) do it! Way before Nike cleaned it up, a former boss had the best antidote to writer's block. Put something down and then spend time editing.
• It's easier to apologize than get permission. Passed on by an army colonel while on a video shoot for the National Guard. Don't be so cautious in making small decisions and, if you still hesitate, see above.
• Consistency is the mark of a professional. Told to me by an obscure tennis player when I asked him how he beat the number-one player in the world, John McEnroe. He said anyone could beat someone else one time, but doing it every day is what makes you a true professional.
• Manage expectations. Often said by a former supervisor, never over-promise a client. I know of an agency president who promised a shoe polish company that the firm would get them on the cover of Time. They lost the account.
• Sometimes a good backside is better than a good head. Supposedly my grandfather said this 60 years ago, but it still makes sense. Be patient and stay with something rather than always trying to figure out a new angle.
• The three Ps – Perfection leads to Procrastination leads to Paralysis. This one, along with many non-work adages, comes from my mom. If we all solely followed “Just do it,” we wouldn't worry about perfection, but there's that tendency to change this word and that comma and, before you know it, you're up against a deadline.
• Even the President of the United States does grunt work. Uttered by my boss at my first full-time job when I balked at researching another media list, this comes in handy when waiting in line at the post office or replacing the water-cooler jug.
• Pressure is a privilege. I didn't coin this, but I read it is something Billie Jean King says to Wimbledon finalists. If we didn't want the pressures of this business, we could probably find less stressful enterprises, but what would we complain about?
Jeff Graubard is the founder and president of The Graubard Group, a full service marketing/PR agency in downtown NYC since 1992.