A Decade In Quotes

This was WilsonMcGuire Creative’s tenth year in business. As the person who conceived this company, I’m proud that we’ve managed to stay alive – and even thrive – through recessions, client losses, staff changes and political powers. Looking back on the past decade, I’m struck by the chasm between how much I thought I knew going into business and how little I think I know now. But I didn’t start this business because I was smart, I started it because I was inspired.

One of my biggest inspirations came in the form of a poem. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s called Our Greatest Fear by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. . .”

It made me think about why we fear things like starting our own businesses. We are afraid of failure. We are comfortable with mediocrity. We are content with the every day. As Thoreau says, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I think the message here is we don’t have to settle for “good enough.” As children of God, we have no reason to fear. Rise or fall, we are His children and we are loved without limit. I have meditated on that fact for years and it still inspires me with its absolute truth.

The book Good to Great by Jim Collins is filled with inspiration. To paraphrase, the book says that to build a GREAT company, you must have three things: (1) You must be the best in the world at what you do. (2) You must be able to make money at it. (3) And, you must be passionate about it. The most important requirement, however, is that you have an UNWAVERING faith that you will prevail. (As Winston Churchill said: “Never, never, never give up.”)

Determination is more important than talent. Now that’s inspiring!

One of my favorite quotes comes from Linus Pauling: “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” I have found this to be true to the point that it inspired one of our company’s core philosophies: “Quantity breeds quality.”

We believe the more ideas we produce for our clients, the better those ideas become. That’s where we spend the majority of our efforts: coming up with ideas and properly executing them. It’s where our passion lies.

The Radical Leap, by Steve Farber, offers a great quote by Charles Bukowski: “A pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do, and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can’t help doing.”

I would do this job whether I got paid for it or not. I often have. But I learned early on I couldn’t sustain a business without being paid. NOT making money doesn’t pay employees. And employees don’t hang around very long without receiving compensation. That’s why billing gets the same attention as our creative product at WilsonMcGuire. We bill projects the moment they are completed (as thirty days feels like an eternity when payroll is due). It’s a common practice for us to call printers, photographers and vendors to get their bills immediately so we can send ours. (I’m continuously amazed at how slow some businesses are to bill).

We do not work for free. We do not do spec creative work. And we are very selective in our charitable work. We do what we do to earn a living. Giving it away doesn’t serve our employees or our industry.

While making money is mandatory in business, managing money is not. Our clients let us do what we do best. We should do no less. I have never handled our company’s finances and hope I never will. I have a dependable accountant with an expertise that a Right Brain like mine could never bring to the role. So she manages the money. And I focus my attention on our work – and our clients.

In the end, our business is as much about relationships as it is about the work. Our clients are our partners in crime. They are our co-conspirators. The strategies and ideas we produce together furthers both of our businesses. And we are only as good as the company we keep.

That being the case, the end of the poem by Marianne Williamson may be the most inspiring of all:

“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.”

If THAT is our reality, what is there to fear? Here’s to a FEARLESS 2014!

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