Monday, November 3, 2008

A Quote.

I actually found this quote in an OpEd piece from The New York Times about Sarah Palin. But it's so appropriate to what we're doing, I had to share:

"Mediocrity is the privilege of those who have arrived."
—Judith Warner

Consider this a companion piece to the "I look for enthusiasm" quote by John Hegarty (which Jaime so kindly reposted a few weeks ago).

My interpretation: Choose very, very wisely when to coast. If you choose to coast now, you'll never get anywhere. Imagine planning a dream trip to New York City, pulling out of your driveway here in Dallas, starting off as fast as you can, then hitting Plano and turning off your engine, hoping your momentum will carry you the rest of the way.

Imagine getting to Chicago, and then coasting.

Or Philadelphia.

Or Jersey City.

Hell, imagine you're halfway through the Lincoln Tunnel, cruising into Manhattan, and you figure you'll just coast into the city.

I know, it's absurd. But this is what people do in their careers. This is what people do who sit very close to me in this building.

Well, I don't need to tell you that neither they nor you will ever get where you want if you start coasting before you've "arrived." Even if it's a block before your destination.

Because once you decide you can start phoning it in, coming up with mediocre, uninspired, half-expected, "okay" ideas, then your career is over. Dead in its tracks. Flat-lining. Start coasting now, and you'll never get anywhere. Maybe not even out of our class.

Start coasting in five years, and you'll never make ACD at a decent shop.

Start coasting in 10 years, and you'll never make CD.

Start coasting in 15 years, and you'll never make ECD.

Here's how to avoid falling short of your destination: Don't ask yourself, "When will I know I've arrived?" but: "Do I ever really want to arrive?"

That's the secret. People with charmed lives, successful careers, national recognition, and epic stories never stop. Ever. They never really arrive. They're always moving. Like sharks.

Let's be honest. You all know what coasting really is: Stopping.

Always be hungry. If you're staking your career on doing mediocre work, all you're doing is wasting your potential.

Don't coast. Don't stop.

Can't wait to see your ideas tomorrow.

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