Posted by on March 1, 2011

This is serious business.What we do is serious business, right?

Success rides on the decisions we make every day. We’re indispensable.

Sure. Keep believing that.

As I think about what I do for a living and why I do it, the thing that jumps out at me–other than the pleasure that comes from doing a great job–is laughter. The pressure and stress don’t last in my memory. Whether I was stuck in an edit suite for 24 hours, racing to meet an unreasonable deadline (probably set by me), or just planted in front of a keyboard banging out copy, humor has always gotten me through. Sometimes it’s gallows humor, other times just plain old silliness.

I remember working on an annual report in the 1990s, back when companies still did such things.

These were always massive undertakings. Lots of meetings with senior managers to set the theme. Countless drafts of the letter to shareholders. Extensive travel to interview and photograph customers, usually in inconvenient corners of the globe served by small airlines with even smaller planes. Back and forth with customers on the profiles. Then a sprint to get it all done in time for the SEC deadlines.

We were having one last look at the annual–three of us sitting around a table reading it out loud (a great, if time consuming, way to spot typos).

As we read one passage that included a customer name and its location (I’ll refrain from mentioning it here), we just burst out laughing. After that, it became a punchline without a joke. To this day, I can say those words to an old colleague of mine and get a laugh (they wouldn’t even get a chuckle from someone else). We produced a great annual that year. And one of the reasons was humor.

The people I know who are successful invariably have a sense of humor, and don’t take themselves too seriously. Sure, there are exceptions. But, overwhelmingly, I’ve found that to be the case. Successful people find time to laugh–at themselves and at the absurdities of life.

So, every day, try to have a few laughs (and maybe a bit of music) in between the desperation. It’ll lighten things up.

I bet you’ll be more productive, your clients will be happier, and you’ll have a sunnier disposition as a result.

Posted in: Blog, Uncategorized


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