I have worked in the creative industry for nearly 25 years, and met lots of wonderful passionate people along the way. I have also been lucky enough to have worked with lots of amazing global blue-chip businesses, brilliant startups and everything in between.
I have seen great people with great ideas fail and fail again, before succeeding eventually, I have also seen not-so nice people make a lot of money doing something they don't really enjoy. I have taken the best from both their experiences and my own and compiled a list of principles and values I hope to successfully pass on to my children.
#1 – Treat everyone you meet as you would want to be treated yourself.
Not only is it nice to be nice, it is important to treat people with respect, if you want to be respected yourself. We live in an ever smaller world and reputation is everything if you want to succeed at whatever you do. Remember, today's Junior Executive could be tomorrow's CEO.
#2 – Success is a by-product of effort.
You get out of life what you put in, and I strongly believe that to be good at anything takes time, effort and practice. A good work ethic and a strong determination to improve is a great foundation for a successful outcome. Like Mohammad Ali said "I would have been the world’s greatest at whatever I did. If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done!"
#3 – Respect the opinion of others, but always have your own.
If you want people to listen to you, you have to be prepared listen to them. Everyone's perspective is valid, so let other people speak and respect their views and their passion, but always be prepared to disagree. If you have a different opinion or a way of doing something never be afraid to speak your mind, but you need to have a more compelling perspective on the problem first.
#4 – Never be afraid to ask a stupid question.
Sometimes the most obvious questions never get asked because people do not want to appear foolish. The ability to dumb-down any problem is a difficult skill that few ever master. Many people seek comfort in complexity and jargon, but simplicity is the key to clarity and the most complex problems can be solved with a simple question that usually starts with 'What if?'.
#5 – Difficult is lots of 'easies' stuck together.
Whatever your experience, some things in life are just hard and appear too challenging or overwhelming. The key is to break the problem down into smaller, more manageable individual problems that can be easily ticked off. Learning a language is hard, learning one word is less challenging. So always break it down to form your solution one bit at a time.
#6 – There is a solution to any problem.
Nothing is hopeless, every problem has a solution, you just have to find it. Try not to see any solution as finite, but rather a jumping off point for further improved solutions, because as long as there are problems there will always be better solutions. Stay positive, be patient and be prepared to fail before succeeding, the answer often presents itself eventually.
#7 – Find your passion then chase it.
Whatever you choose to do in life make it something you are passionate about and enjoy doing. If you love what you’re doing you are more likely to persevere and be successful. Passionate people are more likely to succeed as they tend to be more driven. However, be careful not to let your heart rule your head when making rational decisions.
#8 – There is a time to listen and a time to speak.
Always identify the most informed person in the room and always listen to what they have to say. That person isn't always the CEO or the highest ranking person, in fact it rarely is. The person most connected to the problem often offers the best insight into the solution. The guy with the brush knows the floor the best, so listen to everyone first, then you can speak from a more educated standpoint.
#9 – Asking for help is not a weakness.
Never suffer in silence, and never be afraid to admit you are struggling. Support is not a sign of weakness it takes real strength to ask for help.
#10 – Do not fear failure. To fail is to have tried.
If you are afraid to fail then you will never push yourself beyond your current capabilities. To never have failed is to never have truly tried. Failure is only negative if you don't learn from it, see each failure as a lesson never to repeat. So fail quickly and move on.
#11 – If you are lucky enough to have, be gracious enough to share.
In my experience the greatest people I have ever met are great at sharing. Whether that is their knowledge, their experience, their stories or sharing their skills, being generous with what you have and taking the time to share your talent to help others can be more valuable than sharing your wealth.
#12 – You are amazing, believe in yourself.
If you don't believe in your own ability then how can you expect anyone else to? Self confidence is key to being good at anything, if you doubt yourself then you start making bad decisions. Nobody knows you better than you, so understand that we are all capable of being amazing, you just need to believe in yourself and channel it in the right way.
#13 – Life is a journey not a destination.
We all work hard and the rewards can be great, but some people are all about the end game, they are firmly fixed on getting to the end result. I believe the journey should be as enjoyable as the destination, you just need to take time to look out of the window or the good stuff passes you by.
#14 – Be true to yourself.
Never be afraid to be yourself, it is who you are and it has got you to where you are today. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and never claim to be something you are not. If you are true to yourself like-minded people will gravitate towards you and form meaningful relationships.
#15 – Everyday is a school day.
Never lose your thirst for knowledge. Everything you know today could change tomorrow, so to stay relevant you need to constantly evolve your knowledge and your skill-set. Partner and collaborate with the best people and learn from them. Share what you know and ask about the things you don't.
#16 – Have heroes.
We all need someone who we aspire to be or use as a source of motivation or inspiration. Whoever you admire and for whatever reason their inspiration will drive you forward.
#17 – Look for the wonder in everything.
The world is an amazing place and it's worth taking the time to appreciate things for what they are and the effort that has gone into them. Sometimes even the most mundane of things can have a beautiful story behind them when you scratch beneath the surface.