John Coleman founded The VIA Agency in 1993 and has since led the Portland, Maine-based agency to its current stature as one of the two best small agencies in America.* He’s worked with organizations ranging from nonprofits to political movements as well as marketing giants like Samsung, Unilever, Disney, HBO, Discover, Welch’s, DuPont and others. John is a world traveler and yet a proud native of Maine, who holds both an M.B.A. and a B.S. in mechanical engineering. In his blog, he discusses how brands transform businesses, he celebrates truly inspired work, and he opines on the seemingly endless range of topics that, for whatever reason, happen to have captured his imagination. Even if only for a moment.
* The VIA Agency is proud to be named Ad Age’s 2011 Small Agency of the Year.
As this year ends, the ritual of making new resolutions comes to mind. Like just about all of us, I have always tried to think about what new goals and ways of behaving just might work to make me a better person. Fat chance. These good intentions often end up not sticking. Perhaps because they aren’t based on core beliefs. Which led me to think that maybe recommitting to the beliefs and behaviors we hold most deeply would be a more productive New Year’s ritual. The re-resolution.
I recently had to develop a TEDx talk. Making one of those talks forces you to hone your topic into a tight, roughly 15-minute presentation. Anything superfluous has to go. You need to get your ideas as concise as possible, which means you have to focus on the things you truly believe in. This was an amazing exercise for me because it reminded me of what I hold most dearly in my professional life. Things like being more open to exploration, fighting for diversity of thought, and finding ways to erase fear in others so new ideas can be tried.
This experience reminded me of the things I trust most deeply and has brought them to life more every day since my presentation a couple of months ago. Taking the time to articulate beliefs so precisely is like practicing an instrument you used to play years ago. It comes back to you quickly and improves your performance immediately.
So perhaps this year, instead of adding new resolutions to the long list of things you should do, try to spend more time doing the things you know are most important. Find some quiet time this week and write the few principles that embody what fulfills and inspires you. Think about the times you brought those ideals to life. As you enter the new year, those beliefs will be more vivid in your mind and you will act on them throughout the year with more conviction than your short-term hopes to eat better, exercise more and lose a few pounds.