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The Old “What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?” Question

July 30, 2020

Big shiny battery making muscle being positive pile of leaky discolored batteries being negativeOne way to get your name out there (and your brand) is to respond to reporters’ questions via HARO (Help A Reporter Out).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The basic idea: someone’s writing an article on a given topic, and they’re looking for input from “experts.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

No guarantee your response will be used, but if it is, it’s a good way to show potential customers you can speak to a subject and write a coherent sentence or two.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Usually I respond to questions on design or marketing or branding, but I sometimes range further afield.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Like the time a reporter was asking people to share their “CEO nugget.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Huh??blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

As sole employee, I am the CEO of Mark Armstrong Illustration, but what’s this “nugget” business??– I ain’t no gold miner!blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The nugget was explained this way: If you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self? What are the biggest lessons learnt since you started entrepreneurship?blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

I started Mark Armstrong Illustration back in 1989, but I thought back further than that. And I surprised myself.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

This is what I wrote:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

I’d explain that you run into two different kinds of people in this world: can-do’s and naysayers.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I’d explain that one of life’s great temptations is to become a naysayer: to join the crowd and fit in. You’ll be welcomed with open arms, too, because misery loves company.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

And it’s easy: you never have to take risks, and put yourself on the line. You can be “above it all,” and sneer and laugh at the people who are striving, and trying to make a difference.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I’d explain that naysaying is a trap, self-sabotage, and that you must avoid naysayers at all costs.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I’d tell myself to stay positive and be proactive.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

When in doubt, act.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Don’t cede your life to circumstance.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Being a nay-sayer is self-sabotage, plain and simple. You can’t move forward because that means taking a risk– and that’s something a nay-sayer will never do.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Being a nay-sayer and an entrepreneur? That’s a non-starter, and/or a recipe for disaster.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

So the next time you think about hiring a freelancer or any independent contractor, listen to the tone– on the phone, on the blog, on the website.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Listen for good cheer, optimism, can-do.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

It makes all the difference.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

P.S. You can read my original response in context on the CBNation blog.
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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Chuck Reese, President, Smartpress.com

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2020 10:48 AM

    Here’s to Team Can-Do!

    It’s been a while, my friend, but always good to see you!

    Like

    • August 3, 2020 7:52 AM

      Hi, Jak! Yes, been awhile, mighty good to see you, too, amigo. We’re certainly living in crazy times (pardon that understatement). Hope this finds you and yours well, and dodging germs with great agility! Hang tough and keep smilin’!! 😊

      Like

  2. Freddy Tran Nager permalink
    July 30, 2020 8:48 PM

    I love how you positioned that anti-creative corporate mindset, so resistant to anything remotely original. (You would like the book “Originals” by Adam Grant.) I think that, instead of this being advice to your younger self, it should be advice to everyone going into business.

    Like

    • August 3, 2020 8:22 AM

      Really appreciate that, Freddy, thank you! The tendency to play it safe has always been strong, but nowadays there’s such a reliance on trends and analytics and “the numbers.” Not too hard to see where all the sameness comes from. “Originals” by Adam Grant– I missed it completely. I just googled it, and it sounds good. I’ll see if I can get a copy, and I’ll be very disappointed if you’re not in there!!– thanks again! 😊

      Like

  3. August 3, 2020 9:57 AM

    I would definitely tell my younger person: Find Mark Armstrong, worship and follow each and every advice he has to offer! 🙏 oh, and ambrosia for life! 🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨

    Like

    • August 3, 2020 4:37 PM

      I just found Mark Armstrong myself. He was lying in a ditch about a mile from the house. Seems he read your outrageous comment and a blast of joy sent him flying out the window!! He said it’s happened before, and judging from the happy smile on his face, I’d say he enjoys it. He said he might make it back in a day or two. In the meantime he told me to say: “Thank you, Dearest Marina!!!!” 😍 🚀 ☁️#9 🌖 💥 🚑 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 👽 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 🍨 😋 😊

      (He also said to tack on these silly little pictures. I have no idea what that’s all about…)

      Like

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