Before I aggressively went into a passion project 10 years ago, I was slowly testing the waters by doing it with a hobby-like mentality – a trial basis. I was working in an advertising agency in Manhattan and my direct boss, the creative director, knew I had “other things” on my mind and already having a very good rapport with each other, I slowly hinted to him building, back then, what is now, The Art of Lax. In one of our personal discussions that was conducted out of the office, he strictly gave me a piece of advice: “Have something to hold onto…”
I didn’t really know what that meant because I was starting dry. My former boss was a highly accomplished advertising executive who was brash and very demanding, but became one of the most influential people in my professional career. A producer behind a number of those famous ‘Saturday Morning Cartoon’ toy commercials in the 1980’s, he was also awarded a Clio (the Academy Awards of Advertising) for his work. As his demand and success rose from that experience, he wanted to “go solo” and start his own agency. He told me that when starting a venture of any sort, there would be a lot of dark and lonely times and that “you will need something to hold onto, as a reminder of your worth… to keep you going…” For him having a Clio on his resume was his ‘something to hold onto’.
Prior to starting my venture, I knew that I had a great amount of enthusiasm but I didn’t have a great story to tell, or that “ace card” on my resume. And it wasn’t until 3 years ago, well into The Art of Lax™ and having established a firm presence with my target audience, did I fully understand and finally listen to my former boss.
That ‘something to hold onto’ for me, came as probably the best email I have ever received as a working professional. I printed that email, framed and hung it up on my wall, above my work computer where I see it everyday in my studio office.
And there it is. It’s a reminder that it won’t always be easy, and boy do I have a lot of uneasy experiences and stories to tell in this venture. But the possibility that it could be well worth it? That’s what I’ll always hold onto.
Another thing that I have hanging up on the wall as a reminder. A social media post/reply from my college.