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The Rhythm of Success

Aug 17, 2007
Recently, a colleague of mine whom I have known for quite some time, had called me to ask 'what was my trick for success?' Although I was initially flattered to be viewed upon as 'successful', there has never been any 'tricks' used in my career and I never had thought in those terms. The only response I could give her at the time was that I have always been passionate about what I do, never accepted any stoplights, and still seek opportunities where I can learn.

A few days later, she called back and wanted to know why things had always come so easy for me. Mmmm, I thought, easy? Again, I never thought in those terms before but knew a response was expected. Actually, my beginnings were far from easy but I suppose my only grace was my non-ending persistence.

I was trained as a fine artist but 'slipped' into advertising before computers were popular and mechanical tables, waxers, t-squares and exacto knives were the tools of the trade to put together books, magazines, package design and ads. Precision was vital and change in copy oftentimes meant cutting out single letters from words and pasting them in one by one. Lining up copy and elements were key and my biggest challenge was that I am dyslexic.

What took an experienced production person no time to do, literally took me hours -- I could not see straight lines. Determined not to be defeated, I would often take the overnight shift, which allowed me to do my work without any supervisors watching me. I struggled often but was committed and although I can never say I was the best mechanical artist, I eventually became a good one. Despite that tortuous portion of my career, I was quickly recognized for having strong design skills and promoted rapidly.

"That's my point", my friend replied, "before you started your own business you were always promoted quickly. What was that all about?"

Yes, she was correct, but what she didn't realize was that with every promotion, there was a price to pay. Many, many nights in my early years, I literally spent days at the office working on campaigns, putting magazines to bed, driving to the color separators and finishing up work that freelancers didn't finish. Long before the cell phone era, my home phone rang constantly and I was assumed 'on call' for many projects.

Although exhausted, I was dedicated to every project I was given and took every job extremely seriously. The goal for clients wasn't to be good but was and still is to be the best. I know how to focus and get things done and through that hard work I developed skills that many graphic artists do not have. My beginnings granted me a tremendous education in which I am extremely grateful for. Most importantly, my beginnings provided me with the foundation to run the business I do today allotting me the freedom to work when I want to.

My final response to my colleague was short and simple: "No matter how things appear, nothing worth it comes easy. Success takes dedication, persistence, strong focus, passion, sacrifice and the wisdom to learn from failures." There is a rhythm to success and it must be respected. There are no secrets, no quick rides nor any magic -- but isn't that what makes the impossible possible?
About the Author
Judi Lynn Lake successfully runs her own advertising agency which handles everything from logos, branding, videos and websites while continues to work closely with self-published authors from design to promotion. To learn more visit http://www.judilake.com
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