I’m all for work-life balance. But my "balance" is about extracting everything I can out of both.
Growing a business in any industry is very rewarding and lots of fun. But it’s rarely a part-time achievement.
Add in the components of the industry we are all in: the pitches, the tough briefs, the constant plate-spinning, the never-ending quest for innovation and newness, the constant people stuff… I know we aren’t saving lives, but at the same time this really isn’t a job for the faint-hearted. I’ve seen some briefs recently that terrified me with their complexity. My only response is to dig deep, find the resolve and dive in.
Stamina provides me with an ability to work at pace. Not all my decisions are right, but as long as the majority are OK, it’s better to make them and make them quickly. I can usually say "yes" more often than I have to say "no". And never, ever "maybe".
It’s great to have a positive outlook; at our place, negativity is treated like a disease. But our old friend stamina is just as useful when things start to get tough. If we don’t win a pitch we really wanted, our only solution is to immerse ourselves in the next one.
Then there’s the drinks, the dinners, the parties, the conferences and the lunches. I can’t understand anyone who tires of these. They are a privilege denied to so many other professions – and a pleasure to attend. When you stop loving the social stuff, it’s time to get out.
I had some good role models. In my early career at Zenith, I remember Steve King and Steve Booth out with the team until the early hours and fresh-faced in the office by 8am the next day. On one memorable occasion, Steve got in so early he tripped over a couple sleeping on his office floor.
Work hard, get rewards, have fun, take lots of time off, drink lots of coffee. Just never say you’re feeling tired.
Jenny Biggam is co-founder of the7stars