Advice is easily given these days. And it comes in many forms: quips, metaphors, one-liners, even catchy rhymes.
As co-founder and managing partner of Attack, I've helped build one of the premier experiential marketing agencies in the country. Along the way, we have made mistakes, burnt a few bridges, and lost a few clients, but we've used these experiences--along with some good advice--as learning lessons instead of failures.
For me, the best advice is not that hot tip of the minute that only applies to one specific situation. Instead, I tend to embrace the big-picture advice that can cross over to life and business. And while my success has given me the opportunity to meet some of the most inspiring people in the world, when it really comes down to it, I still apply the universal advice my dad gave me through the years (and still does today). So, in honor of Father's Day, here are three simple teachings he gave me that have helped me get through more than a few challenges:
1. You get out of something exactly what you put into it.
My dad was the first person to share his version of "you get what you give." This is one of those sayings that at first almost seems too simple to have any real-life application. But, apply it to every move in your pursuit to build success, and it begins to take on its real meaning: "Work harder than everyone else and you will improve." My dad would embed this advice within almost any lesson, from the casual pre-emptive strike (say, little league practice) or hammer-dropping outcomes (sub-par report cards in high school, client failings, etc.).
2. Don't let it get personal.
When work is a passion it's difficult to not take it personally. My dad practiced law for 40 years, and while some might argue that lawyers are anything but personal, he started with this phrase almost every time I called him seeking advice on a "challenging" client or colleague. He reminded me often that burned bridges were not just broken relationships, but lost opportunities.
If you've ever owned a business (or been in a relationship) for two or more years, then you've probably been faced with this truth already. There are challenges to adjusting to a new environment, work system, technology, or people at your company. In the early years of Attack's growth, I tried to adapt to the highs (our first million-dollar year) and the lows (how-are-we-going-to-make-payroll?). Sometimes I wasn't successful at adapting, but I had to make adaptable attempts if I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur.
My father considered the most successful people to be the ones who would or could adapt to change within their organizations. He emphasized that such change never came easy. I now hire people who are open to change because I consider adaptability a mandatory characteristic to survive the journey. I've learned to welcome change and not fear it as we make strategic decisions. Plus, my wife and I have a toddler now, so we adapt to something new every single day.
Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to apply the last simple piece of advice, which is to say "thanks" and give credit where credit is due. Thanks, Dad, for the mentorship and guidance you've always given me. Some of these things you must have told me a thousand times growing up. I use them every day, and I also share them every day.