Urgent Motivation – How Bad Do You Want To Be Successful?

How bad do you want to be successful?

Whether it’s a 6- or 7-figure money amount or that Creative Director title or another level of success, how bad do you want it?  Just as we all define success differently, we all have different motivators and varying levels of motivation.

Let’s talk about that motivation.

In the current 4-minute Spartan Race promotional video, Rap Preacher Eric Thomas reveals what may be a modern day fable with one of the strongest examples of what urgent motivation is.

(The Spartan Race is an Obstacle Racing Challenge that originated in 431B.C.  The Spartan Race website shows races in 2013 scheduled in America, Canada and Great Britain.)

Imagine if your motivation was as imperative as getting enough oxygen.  What if your drive to achieve success was as powerful as your desperation to get air during an asthma attack?

“When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

In the video, Thomas continues, “You don’t care about no basketball game.  You don’t care about what’s on TV.  You don’t care about nobody calling you.  You don’t care about a party.  The only thing you care about when you’re trying to breathe is to get some fresh air.  That’s it.  And when you get to the point where all you want to do is be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

Now, take out the parts about breathing from that quote.  The last line becomes, “And when you get to the point where all you want to do is be successful, then you’ll be successful.”

So, what are you willing to give up?

  • Money?
  • Time?
  • Your Comfort Zone?
  • Limitations you’re putting on yourself?
  • Being Shy?
  • Your Pride?
  • Sleep?
  • Happy Hour?
  • Video Games?
  • Facebook?
  • Softball League?
  • Getting the newest iPad?
  • Shopping?
  • Certain People?

What are you willing and ready to give up in order to own your success?

Did you notice some of the people in the race video were missing arms and legs?  They gave up the limitations either they put on themselves or others tried to contain them with.  How bad must they have wanted the success of crossing that finish line?

When you get to the point where all you want to do is be successful, then you’ll be successful.


In the comments, share what you know you need to give up in order to reach your next level of success.  I’ll start. 

Please share this blog post with others: http://www.definingsuccesscoaching.com/?p=763


2 Ways To Face Your Fear


It immobilizes us.

It keeps us up at night.

And it can do more than keep us alive.

(For the sake of conversation, let’s divert our attention from fears that coincide with our survival instincts.  Let’s talk about being afraid of things that won’t kill us.)

5 Of The Top 10 Fears Boil Down To 1 Fear

Fear of Public Speaking

Fear of Intimacy

Fear of Failure

Fear of Rejection

Fear of Commitment/Making the Wrong Choice

What do these fears have in common? Five of the Top 10 Fears revolve around the Fear of Fitting In.

Fear Of Fitting In

Wait, but we’re creative, isn’t that how the majority of our lives have been?  People called us those, “Creative Weirdos,” or “Awkward Artist Types.”  And look where it got us – into an industry that awards us based on how creative or radical or weird our ideas are!

As advertising creatives we’ve found the place where we can fit in and we embrace not being the status quo.  And yet, how are you doing with the fears of public speaking, intimacy, failure, rejection and commitment?  Are you letting the Fear of Fitting In hold you back in any of those areas?

2 Ways To Face Your Fear

As in the post “When ‘Just Do It’ Doesn’t Work,” it’s important to acknowledge what is in your way, understand it and have compassion for it.  It’s OK to feel afraid; everyone does at times.  Understanding your fear may entail understanding what your fear is truly protecting you from.  With that, you have two options in facing your fear – using it as fuel or weakening it.

1. Use Fear As Your Fuel

Advertising creatives are competitive.  Why not use your competitive nature and compete against your fear?  Go head to head with the fear that’s holding you back.

Which will win – your creativity or your fear?

Which will persevere – your desire to be happy or your fear of what that may take?  

What if you could channel that anxious energy into overcoming what you’re afraid of?  Use your fear as your fuel.  How empowering would that be?  Afterward, you’d feel on top of the world!  You were the one who gave that killer presentation.  You were the one who pitched the best idea to your ECD.  You were the one who took the leap of faith and committed to that new job.

2. Weaken Your Fear

If going head to head with your fear isn’t your style or if the fear is too strong, then concentrate on reducing it.  Again, understand where the fear is coming from and acknowledge that it’s most likely trying to protect you.

My clients have gotten the best results by weakening their fears in the following 5 ways:

  1. Thinking of a time when they faced another fear and pulling from that experience (For example, how you embraced your creativity and found an industry that expects it.)
  2. Planning and preparing how to handle the fear – including different options
  3. Looking to role models who have battled their own fears and won
  4. Focusing on the motivation for overcoming the fear and the benefits that come with the victory
  5. Reprogramming their thoughts about the fear by creating positive intentions

According to an article in Psychology Today by Karl Albrecht, Ph.D., “Fear, like all other emotions, is basically information.  It offers us knowledge and understanding – if we choose to accept it – of our psychobiological status.”  Albrecht goes on to write “And the more clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears frighten us and control us.”

Fear Is An Opportunity

Fear holds us back.  Fear keeps us in the tiny box where we are, where we don’t realize we’re suffocating.

Being afraid of something signals an opportunity for personal development.  When you push outside of your comfort zone – especially to the point of feeling fear – that’s when the most growth happens.  You can break out of the box.

Life After Fear

Imagine what your life would be like once you conquer your fear.  Really.  Take a moment and imagine.  How would your life be different?  What could you accomplish?  Who would you become?  Would you be more satisfied?  Would you be happier?

I challenge you to either use your fear as fuel or to weaken your fear to the point where you can have that life after fear.  You can have all that you’ve imagined.

Share one fear that is holding you back (one that doesn’t challenge your mortality).  There’s no judgment here.  I’ll start in the comments section.  Share one fear and whether you are going to use it as fuel or weaken it.

Ask For What You Want

Time and time again I’ve heard clients, colleagues, friends and even strangers wish for the most achievable of things.

“I wish I had more money.”

“If only I had a steady stream of income from my freelance business…”

“I wish I had an extra week vacation.”

“Working this much would be tolerable if I sat near a window.”

“I don’t know what to do next because I don’t know where that company is in the hiring process.”

“I wish I knew how So-and-So did it, because then I could be successful like that.”

“I wish I knew what So-and-So had to get that promotion over me.”

“Why hasn’t that person given me what he or she should know I really want?”

Can you relate to any of these?  What do you wish for?

How can you get what you want?

As creatives we often think so far outside the box that we forget the box itself.  What if it doesn’t take the next big idea or an elaborate plan, sweat and hard work to get what you want?  What if all you need to do is ask?  Ask for what you want.

If you want more money, ask for it.  Ask your boss for a bonus or a raise.  Ask your freelance clients for more money, more projects and more referrals.

Ask to sit by the window all day or even part of the day.

Call the company you applied to two weeks ago and ask where they are in the hiring process.  Then ask that company for any next steps you can take.

Ask So-and-So what they did to get where they are.  Ask your boss what So-and-So had to get promoted over you and what you can do to be the promoted person next time.

And please ask – that person that hasn’t given you what he or she should know you want – for what you want!

What if others should know what you want?

Many times other people simply don’t know what we want, what we’re wishing for, what will make us happy.  To put it bluntly – they are too busy wishing for themselves and doing everything else that they have going on in their lives to stop and consider what you may be wishing for.  Or, worse yet, they may assume you are wishing for the same thing that they want.

For instance, I’ve seen it happen all-too-often, advertising creatives reach a certain point in their career where they don’t care as much about the money as they do their vacation time.  Yet, employee review after employee review they end up unsatisfied because more money was thrown at them instead of that time off that they so desperately desire.  And why?  Because they haven’t made it clear to the decision-makers that they value vacation time the most.  They don’t get what they want because they never asked for it.

What happens when you ask for what you want?

When working with my clients one-on-one, we create a clear plan on how to best ask for what they want so not only do they have the confidence to ask but also 9 times out of 10 they get what they want.  (There are best practices when asking and things you can do to improve your odds of getting what you want.)

Can you guess what the #1 response is when my clients ask for something from someone?  What do you think that someone says?

“Oh, you could have had that sooner if you’d only asked.”

Imagine you had what you are wishing for.   Now, go ask for it.

If you’d like to share, please post a comment.  






Happiness in Advertising?

Advertising People are Leaving Agencies

Research shows that 30% of advertising employees will leave their agencies this year. (This is one of the main reasons I’m working with advertising agencies through presentations and high-level career coaching.)

Driven to Help Advertising People

When I saw the question, “How Much Do You Utterly Despise Working in Advertising?”, I immediately wanted to reach out to miserable advertising people, GRAB THEM BY THE SHOULDERS and tell them it doesn’t have to be this way – THEY CAN BE HAPPY! I know the vicious cycle too well; I lived it and I have the solution. I can help whether it’s through an agency presentation, agency-sponsored coaching program or working directly with an advertising art director, copywriter, designer, ACD or CD without the involvement of his or her agency.  It’s my passion.  It’s my purpose.  And it’s also my biggest frustration to know that there are people in the advertising industry that don’t want to go to work in the morning and don’t know that they can change that.  When I get all fired up (e.g, this very moment), I have to remind myself that I can only help those that want the help (like my past and current clients)…oh and those that know an advertising career coach like me exists. And with that, I’ll end this public rant of sorts (which can’t quite compare to the intensity of the rant in the video below created by Deutsch LA) and get back to telling the industry I exist and I want to help.

Cannes Session

It’ll be interesting to see what Deutsch LA proposes and what they share about their “ownership culture” during next Monday’s (June 18, 2012) Cannes session “Ending The Agency Talent Rotisserie.”  Deutsch LA created a series of videos as a teaser including the video above, which were included in the AdFreak article with the subtitle Deutsch wants to make you happier.

What I Do – Money and More

Yes, turnover is costly to agencies and money is important to a business, but it’s not all about money.  Keeping talented creatives is a must.  Attracting talented creatives is a must.  And a certain level of happiness is a must if you want to create great ads consistently.  Deutsch LA recognizes that, “this agency talent rotisserie has real costs, on recruiting, creative excellence and business development.”

I push my clients to make substantial shifts toward employee satisfaction (custom to each agency and  advertising creative individual’s needs), so that each can be fulfilled when they were previously stuck.  So they can dramatically slow down or stop the agency talent rotisserie.  I guide them to the balance of efficiency with palatable culture.  They go from talk to action.  They go from their employees leaving to their employees being happy to work there again.




Creative Week 2012

The eve of Creative Week 2012 is upon us. This week, May 7 – 11, Manhattan and Brooklyn will be buzzing with sessions on creativity, panels on storytelling, and awards for the best design, advertising and interactive work in the country.

As a Creative Week Contributor, I will be tweeting from events live @DS_Coaching and posting blogs on the Creative Week Tumblr throughout the week. I’ll be attending everything from The Freelance Shift panel to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Legacy session to the Education Summit to the highly-anticipated Creative unConference to The One Show’s Design, Advertising and Interactive Awards as well as The 91st Annual Art Directors Club Awards. It’ll be a wild and creative ride. Stay tuned.


Creativity shows up when you invite it

CreativityRecently I wrote an article around claiming your creativity.  As I wrote I could feel passion bubbling up inside of me.  I am creative (one notch more creative than business-like in the left-brain/right-brain test), and I am my happiest when I am surrounded by creative people.  “Who are creative people?” you may ask. Years ago I would explain the answer with specific examples of graphic designers, art directors, writers, painters, musicians and so on.  Now I tend to simply say, “Creative people are those who say they are creative.”  Notice, it’s not enough to know you are creative, you must admit it.  You must say it outloud.  You must claim your creativity.

Several weeks ago I connected with a creative group on Meetup.com.  Please understand that I am the type of person who only joins a group when I am confident that not only I want to commit to it but also that I have the time, energy, resources, etc. to jump right in.  So after being an assistant organizer of a music-related Meetup group for close to a year, I joined the creative group.  As I read the group’s description, a book that is on my to-read list was showcased.  The book The Artist’s Way has come up three times in a matter of weeks, so I took that as a sign to join the group (and bump the book up to the top of my list). After filling out my bio in which I first said,

“While I love art, design, music, and specifically singing and playing the ukulele, my real passion is coaching & consulting creative people so they finally feel satisfied even when they have previously felt stuck,”

I found out that the organizer of the group is also a coach!  Yesterday, we met for tea (for her) and coffee (for me) where we must have sounded like giggling teenagers with a crush (only we were discussing coaching, business, marketing, and creativity).  Stories were spilling out of me almost faster than I could say the words, and I was absorbing her experiences as if I were watching a movie trailer.  As with many times throughout this last year, the fact that career coaching is what I am meant to do was blindingly evident.  Her passion for helping others find or reignite their creativity was refreshing, and I couldn’t help but think about the final line in my article, “When you claim your creativity, you are powerful.”

The more I focus on my career coaching business’s niche market of graphic designers and advertising creatives, the more creative my thinking around my business has become.  It’s no coincidence that as I invited creativity to take center stage in one of my articles that it has begun to show up more and more in my work and life.

With that, I encourage you not only to claim your creativity but also invite it to be a part of every aspect of your life.  If you’re like me, you’ll feel more fulfilled than you even thought possible.