Don Draper Stressed

A lot of people that work in the advertising industry believe that stress and advertising go hand-in-hand. Well, forget about stress, no really leave stress at the door whenever possible. It's the mind and body killer. Ever read "Dune"? Yes? Well then you know what I'm taking about. No? Well read the following closely then, this may just make your life feel so much less stressful. Oh, and everyone already knows that alcoholism will kill Don Draper, unless lung cancer kills him first.

Ever looked at the President's hair when he enters office and when he leaves? Both President Obama and President Bush are perfect examples. Heady black hair when they enter, mostly white hair when they depart (or almost depart in the case of President Obama). The culprit? Stress, stress, stress and don't be a smart a** writing comments that it is related to aging. You get the point of what is being said; erroneous stress is a life killer, stress can be a huge distraction and stress is absolutely a huge energy suck. So, every time you are stressed about a RFP (request for proposal) deadline, the performance of an online advertising campaign or which dynamic ads are performing the best, just keep it all in perspective, analyze the situation logically and think about Obama's and Bush's hair. You will be more effective and efficient being cool and collected than running around looking like a young Q-Tip with white hair that you are pulling out and wasting energy on the wrong items. 

Don't get me wrong, being diligent at your job and taking your responsibilities seriously are very important. If members of my development team were goofing off and not caring about the next release of our advertising platform I would be annoyed. I would probably be a little stressed about it, but I wouldn't be pulling my hair out and screaming at them, I would be managing my team appropriately, getting them back on task and losing a boot when necessary. So, I'll say it one more time, improperly managing your stress levels is not worth it, it's the mind and body killer. The best thing you can do right now for yourself and your employees is stop over stressing. Be a healthy example of a free being living life and loving what you do, that you have no fears. Those around you will feed off you, never forget that. You set the example that in your fearlessness so is your crew and in your fear and stress, so does your crew cower and follow.

What is stress? I am not talking about going to Google and searching for "stress" and reciting the definition Wikipedia provides. What do you think stress means? What does it mean to you? Defining it and getting to know it will help you see it more clearly and manage it more effectively. In my view, at a macro sense stress is created from the fear of the unknown and the many possible outcomes the unknown has to offer. The unknowns which may not be aligned to one's current goals and views. Trust me, it's easy to put yourself and your own skills down, and feel like you have much less worth than you actually do. In the end, what's the point of doing that to yourself?

Look. You gain nothing from beating yourself up and mentally trashing your abilities by comparing them to impossible expectations. You gain everything from accepting you are human and as a result you are imperfect and will be constantly making mistakes. With that in mind it is critical that you try and be aware of your imperfections and mistakes and learn from each error. Try and take every error and convert it into a learning experience and when you do that you have nothing to lose.

If a girl says 'no' when you ask her out, learn, a venture capitalist says 'no' to funding, learn, an ad agency says 'no' that they do not want to offer retargeting as a service to their clients, learn (well in this case learn that sometimes ad agencies can be very silly). If you learn, nothing is lost, you gain experience, learn new skills, fine tune existing knowledge and as a result you will be able to manage your stress levels more effectively and be better at your job moving forward. If you don't learn, take everything personally and let stress manage your thoughts then the outcome will not be as positive and the quality of both your job performance and personal life will suffer.

I get it. It's easier said than done. A helpful suggestion given to me a number of years ago is to recite the following over and over in your head until it becomes second nature, "there is no failure, there is only a learning experience". Life with managed stress is a lot more enjoyable and successful. I am absolutely not perfect, my friends can attest to that as a fact, not opinion. In the end being perfect is not what I shoot for, it is not my goal. I am lucky to know that my family, friends and business partners will forgive me for being human. Believe it or not, yours will too, just remember to learn along the way and try not to make the same mistakes over and over again. You can't learn without failing and if you aren't failing then you aren't trying hard enough.

Topics: Internet Advertising, Media Buying & Planning, Advertising, Stress

Scott Bagguley

Written by Scott Bagguley

Digital Sales @ ExactDrive. Has pain in his left-foot from power dunking. Owns salt water fish. Happily engaged.