You have to surrender to win.

June 15, 2011




After 17 years in the advertising agency business I’ve realized a vital key aspect of success. I have to give up my own ideas for the opportunity of a better one. Beyond my own self delusional compulsion to “do it right” lies a possible idea at the edge of darkness ready to be birthed. There’s only one thing stopping it. Me.

Yes, I still believe that I’m good at what I do. Yes I am a perfectionist. And no I don’t think that an idea should set sail just to give some irrelevant ignorant conception a chance. However, the opportunity should exist within a creative process that allows for new thoughts and challenges to exist. True collaboration starts with no one owning anything.

To the extent of how this process can be done effectively is the slight difference between obligation and responsibility. Obligation is the commonality shared by those who are devoted to the PROCESS to solve the creative challenge. Responsibility is the ego centric bologna that has ruined the conservative agency model and any other creative educational methodology since. Surrendering the ownership of both obligation and responsibility is how you win.

In fact, this is exactly how crowdsourcing done correctly can be successful. I’ve completed many of these events as a Creative Director and to this day am involved with non profit crowdsourcing projects with 30 plus talented people each time. All within a 30 hour timespan from start to finish. It’s one of the most rewarding things I do.

Today I’m an educator. I’m obligated to the process of putting the right teachers in classrooms and to the curriculums that are relevant to the creative industries we send our students out to conquer. Does this make me, our teachers and our students immune to the conundrum of the fore mentioned plague? Of course not. Why because there still exists the ego. Do I still suffer from it? Yes. The truth is in the fact that I want the reward of claiming the responsibility of the idea so I can claim the acceptance of others in a world littered with finger pointing.

Here’s the real truth. In order to be accepted by others, to claim respect, integrity and honor, I have to give up being responsible for it all. I have to surrender the burden of taking it all on myself. When I share the obligation AND the responsibility with others then we all win. We’re all moving together in the same direction. And that also means we all share in the reward together.

This effort takes real commitment by everyone. Those involved can’t just “do their part” and expect the results to be successful. It takes dedication, trust and…passion. Yes passion. Because without giving a shit, there’s no real effort. In the end the weakest links pull apart the strongest chain. However, those that are crazy enough to say it can be done, are usually the ones that get it done.

You might say, that sounds like utopia. And you might be right. But utopia might just be the idea on the edge of darkness, just waiting to be birthed.

Bruce Stanley is a Creative Director and the Graphic Design Coordinator at Nossi College of Art. His belief in the ability to control your creative destiny is why he enjoys sharing his expertise and experiences with others. You can reach him though his blog, caretocreate.com, twitter, @bsimage or at bruce@nossi.edu.

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2 Responses to “You have to surrender to win.”

  1. jefffrazier Says:

    Great Post Bruce. This is a industry/business where passion is always the bottom line. Enjoy your insights.

  2. caretocreate Says:

    Thanks Jeff. I’m blessed to be able to do what I love daily.


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