Ambition

How To Create An Award-Winning Business

Getting the recognition you deserve.

Wedding by    Marcy Blum   , Photography by    Cameron Clark

Wedding by Marcy Blum, Photography by Cameron Clark

Awards are given to the people who enter the award competitions.

This means that the winners may not be the best of the best who currently exist anywhere on the planet. The winners are typically the best of the people who submitted.

If you want to win an award, you have to enter the competition.

If you want to get more press, you have to submit more often.

If you want to be known as innovative, you have to show original ideas consistently.

If you want to be chosen for something, you have to put yourself in a place where people can see you in order to choose you.

The Oscars were invented to both legitimize and market membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – a trade association much like PPA, ILEA, NACE, or WIPA. 

Most awards are marketing, pure and simple. Marketing isn't a dirty word and it certainly shouldn't be an afterthought — it's what sells your art and puts your employees' kids through college.

So if you don't win this time around, don't get the press feature you want, lose a really great wedding to a competitor — revamp your strategy if needed and keep submitting. There will always be more awards and more opportunities, and they will always go to the people who show up to play.


Originally published January 2015

When Others Dismiss You

Don’t dismiss yourself.

Some people will be threatened by your ambition.

Some people will be threatened by your work ethic.

Some people will be threatened by your talent.

Some people will be threatened by your personality.

Some people will be threatened by your intelligence. 

Some people will gossip to anyone who will listen that you’re irrelevant as a way to protect themselves from being seen as irrelevant. 

Some people will try to define you by work you did ten years ago as a way to dismiss your creative growth. 

And, in the short term, their tactics may work. People may listen to and believe them. In the long term though, their actions to dismiss you will backfire. People will see your work speak for itself. 

Keep pursuing your goals.
Keep showing up.
Keep innovating.
Keep developing your creative muscle. 

If the work you do makes life more enjoyable or easier to navigate, then the work you do makes the world a better place. 

Ignore the noise. We need you.
 


Originally published March 2016

The Reality of Being An Original

Everyone wants to be a pioneer. No one wants the scars that come with going first.

Wedding floral design photo by    Cameron Clark

Wedding floral design photo by Cameron Clark

When up-and-comers decide to do things differently than how the industry has always done them they get labeled as arrogant and naive. Then, when their methods work, they get labeled as lucky.

When people with established businesses decide to change course and try a different tack, they get labeled as desperate.

Everyone wants to be known as an original, as the idea guy, as the first mover, as a pioneer. No one wants to talk about the fact that pioneers have scars.

Scars from mistakes made and errors in judgment.

Scars from overwhelm and letting things fall through the cracks.

Scars from partnerships gone bad, relationships soured, and trust broken.

Scars from losing a lawsuit over your intellectual property and seeing your labor of love awarded to someone else.

Scars from an unexpected, prolonged slow season that resulted in laying off talented people.

Scars from the gossip of competitors who refused to discipline themselves to do the work that results in positive change.

Scars are a reminder that not everything in business is instaperfect or #bosslifegoals, but the most important thing to remember about scars is that they are only created by wounds that are allowed to heal.

Do what you need to to stop the bleeding, stitch yourself up, and keep moving forward. Don’t expect people to fight fair. More importantly, don’t allow that to make you cynical.


Originally published December 2014