It's been a long and amazing summer for me, my first summer off in well over a decade, in fact. And instead of enjoying the freedom and amazing open expanses of time I had... I filled quite a bit of it with work.
Fortunately for me, I filled it with work I enjoyed doing. For example, I created and wrote an entire social media campaign for a 108-year old pasta company. That was a lot of fun, and incredibly rewarding since I got paid mostly in pasta. But also rewarding because, when you do something like that just to help someone else, you begin to really appreciate what you do for a living.
If you haven't "used your powers for good" in awhile, I highly recommend it. Whether to help an old friend, your local church, or your neighbor's new startup— taking the time to apply your skills, knowledge and talent to a problem that doesn't have a million dollar budget behind it is invigorating. And helping other people achieve their own goals is a blessing in itself. I have found more gratitude, been given more reward, and have witnessed more genuine awe at the power of marketing and advertising than I have in years.
We spend most of our days in the company of people just like us. People who know what we do, do it alongside us, and know how everything works as well as we do. But when you leave the world of advertising and marketing behind you, and venture out into the rest of the world, you find people with big dreams and great products, who have no idea how to begin marketing them. No idea how to start using social media. No idea how to write an ad, or a script, or a series of Facebook posts for their new fitness center. And when you help them, you find an endless supply of gratitude and appreciation. You get to witness their success because of your small efforts on their behalf. You get to see their dreams begin to take root. You get to see them make sales. You watch their happiness and pride and optimism grow. You get to see them understand how it works, and watch as they begin to do it for themselves.
And maybe, if you're really, really lucky, you even get paid in pasta.