Anita Brightman

When I came across the above quote, I felt a strong connection to how much it relates to my working in a fast-paced creative agency. Every day you get thrown various situations, but how you choose to react to those situations serves as the catalyst for your success.

When approaching new tasks, we inherently seek guidance from others to layout step-by-step directions because creating a sense of familiarity makes us comfortable. The sense of accomplishment, however, feels much stronger when it stems from pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Your ability to get comfortable starts with recognizing the point at which you transition from uncomfortable to stressed.

 

Many mistakenly identify feeling uncomfortable with feeling stressed. Stress, real stress, comes from situations beyond our control, often involving family, health or livelihood. When I experienced a significant earthquake while waiting for a plane in Los Angeles – that was real stress. Similar to what I witnessed during the 2017 California wildfires in Sonoma and the devastating fires in Los Angeles County, in a moment’s notice people became displaced, injured and left with a real sense of raw vulnerability. Despite practicing emergency preparedness drills and thinking I knew what to do in these situations, I realized I was far less in control than imagined.

While stressful situations reach beyond our control, everyone can take ownership of an uncomfortable situation and set their own path forward. Stay focused on the big picture and tackle the project one step at a time to easily identify where you feel most uncomfortable, so you can move toward a stronger level of comfort for future tasks. Tackling uncomfortable situations brings personal/professional growth to help you become comfortable with the uncomfortable.

I knew I wanted to explore the concept of “getting comfortable being uncomfortable” with the rest of the ABI team, so I made it the theme of our annual employee summit. Each team member wrote down one thing that makes them comfortable at work and one that makes them uncomfortable. Through an open group discussion, we found similarities among our answers, and in a few instances, discovered what one person identifies as comfortable, another found uncomfortable. Some answers on both ends of the spectrum included public speaking, multitasking and working under pressure.

 

During our discussions, I shared another story of feeling uncomfortable – when A. Bright Idea received its first government contract as prime contractor. For many years prior, we executed public affairs support for our commercial clients and got comfortable serving as a sub-contractor for larger government accounts. Our hesitation to apply as a prime contractor stemmed from a feeling of uncertainty in not knowing all of the answers and we did not feel fully prepared to navigate the entire process ourselves. Though we faced many new and uncomfortable tasks to take on this new challenge, we pulled our resources, asked a lot of questions and figured it out. The risk was worth the reward.

That singular experience allowed A. Bright Idea to evolve into the 23-year-old, full-service agency we are today with over 45 employees serving clients coast to coast.

Life brings unknown obstacles to navigate, but how you choose to move forward determines the confidence and knowledge you’ll bring to future tasks. Change can be uncomfortable, but real opportunities for transformation rise from the unknown.

Cobey Dietrich

If you feel inspired to celebrate Boss’s Day on October 16, it’s likely because your supervisor is a true leader and not just a boss.

While National Boss’s Day, or National Boss Day as originally named, began in 1958 when a woman working for her father at his insurance office wanted to designate a day for employees to show appreciation and recognize the hard work of their supervisors, we hope to inspire true leaders and not just bosses today.

There are important differences between a leader and a boss:

  • A leader provides employees with the skills and tools to accomplish the task; a boss dictates how to do the task.
  • A leader puts the attention on the team; a boss makes herself the center of attention.
  • A leader earns respect; a boss demands it.
  • A leader gives up time and credit to help others; a boss requires sacrifice from others and takes the credit.
  • A leader builds others up; a boss climbs over others to get to the top.

Those leadership traits describe our Brightest Light, Founder and CEO Anita Brightman. Working alongside Anita for the past 15 years, her mentoring has not only led to my personal and professional growth, but also guided my own leadership approach. By helping others find happiness in their careers so they truly love what they do, our clients, employees and our entire A. Bright Idea family reap the rewards.

Her leadership traits don’t end here at the agency. I’ve watched her give personal time to mentor young entrepreneurs and others in our profession through the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows. In doing so, her reputation as a leader continues to flourish as everyone jumps at the chance to work with Anita and seek her expert input.

From our perspective, the greatest gift an employee can give on Boss’s Day is to exemplify those qualities a leader has poured into you. At A. Bright Idea, our team embraces and exudes leadership on client projects and work with colleagues – that’s something we celebrate every day.

Take time today, and every day, to thank those in your life who embody leadership qualities, not just your boss, but all those who seek to guide and inspire by putting leadership into action.