Life, Work, Opportunities and a Dance

By Matter

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coehlo

My Kindergarten son came home about a month ago, very excited about the mother/son dance at his school. He said he wanted to go, so I bought tickets and we made a date. As the dance approached, he got progressively quieter, and on the morning of the date, he confessed that he didn’t want to go.

My Owen is a boy who communicates only when he is ready to, so I couldn’t push him to tell me why he decided he didn’t want to go. And frankly, I’m pretty busy, so I didn’t push very hard– I crossed it off my calendar and we had a nice night at home instead.

But yesterday, he told me that he was glad we didn’t go to the dance contest, because he isn’t a very good dancer and we probably would not have won.

Which got me to thinking: How many things do we all opt out of for reasons that boil down to being worried that we won’t look smart, or talented, or be good enough? I’d venture to guess there are a lot.

This translates from life philosophy into the workplace….or at least, I’m going to take it there.

How many ideas have we discarded, tempered, or positioned, or just never brought up because we didn’t want to make a mistake?

One of the many things I love about Matter’s culture is that we empower every professional here with personal responsibility for productive creativity. We all participate fully in direct and honest communications with each other, our clients, and with the reporters, analysts, bloggers and our clients’ customers with whom we talk every day. It means we jump in with new and thoughtful ideas and questions to make our plans/programs/media outreach/client calls better, more productive, more useful. And it means we all make the most of each and every opportunity, because we are all individually responsible for the agency’s – and our clients’ – success.

There’s no doubt in my mind that our culture and philosophy are a huge part of the amazing results we collaborate with our clients to achieve. And, as we move ahead into 2010 and welcome new employees to the Matter family, we’ll continue to foster this culture – to encourage everyone to be brave enough to create success from the opportunities in front of us.

As for the mother/son dance, Owen still doesn’t quite believe that there’s no contest involved, but he has grudgingly agreed to give it a try next year – if only for the ice cream.