by Maisie Smith on September 11, 2014
“Who had I become? Just another shark in a suit? Two days later at our corporate conference in Miami, a breakthrough. Breakdown? Breakthrough. I couldn’t escape one simple thought: I hated myself. No, no, no, here’s what it was: I hated my place in the world. I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened. It was the oddest, most unexpected thing. I began writing what they call a mission statement. Not a memo, a mission statement. You know, a suggestion for the future of our company.
I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and I’m not even a writer. I was remembering even the words of the original sports agent, my mentor, the late great Dickie Fox who said: ‘The key to this business is personal relationships.’ Suddenly, it was all pretty clear. The answer was fewer clients. Less money. More attention. Caring for them, caring for ourselves and the games, too. It was the “me” I’d always wanted to be. I took it in a bag to a Copymat in the middle of the night and printed up a hundred and ten copies. Even the cover looked like The Catcher in the Rye. I entitled it ‘The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.’…Everybody got a copy…I was 35. I had started my life.”
Jerry Maguire, even after 18 years I still adore you. You had me at hello. Truly.
Fewer clients. Less money. More attention.
A focus on personal relationships.
That was Jerry’s flash of brilliance.
• • •
Don’t you just love manifestos? Those personal declarations of heartfelt belief that guide our lives? They’ve been around for ages. From the Ten Commandments to The Declaration of Independence to the Holstee Manifesto, humans have seen the need to publicly define their platforms and declare their moral epiphanies to the world.
Manifestos are a shout-out to humanity. A proclamation of what we will say “yes” to and, more importantly, what we will say “no” to. A statement about how we choose to live our lives.
A calling card.
And every business needs one.
Why do you exist? What are the principles you stand for, those ideals you absolutely will not waver from? What makes you different?
When I started Audacious Muse, I knew it was going to be something special. After spending 10 years in the advertising industry and being privy to all of the surface-skimming fluff, I realized that I wanted to dive deeper with my clients and projects. I wanted to be completely different from all of the other content creators out there and make “storytelling” more than just the newest buzzword.
Before I did one ounce of work… even before setting up a website… I sat my ass in the chair and thoughtfully crafted a business manifesto that perfectly embodies all that Audacious Muse is. I didn’t pull any frenetic all-nighters, a la Jerry Maguire. Instead, I ruminated, letting words and phrases sink into my soul.
I wanted people to understand at a glance what I am about and not have to shuffle through pages of my musings on how the world should be.
Brevity rocks in my world.
And so the Audacious Muse manifesto was born (also known as The Shortest Manifesto Ever)
Just seven words to sum up everything that my company stands for.
I’ve been wearing Chucks since before it was cool to wear Chucks. They are an integral part of my brand, representing the offbeat way I run my business. I’m notorious for showing up in a dress and Converse sneakers.
But enough about my wardrobe choices.
Here’s the deal.
Knowing what you stand for is an important business anchor. Otherwise, you’re just coasting. And that’s never good for business.
To digging life instead of ditches,