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'Don't Give Up. Don't Ever Give Up.'
By: Matt Shuford
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As an alumnus of North Carolina State University, I take great pride in quoting that legendary phrase. These words, spoken by Coach Jim Valvano — most commonly known as Jimmy V and recognized for his cancer foundation — are part of a timeless speech and a staple memory for basketball fans and cancer fighters alike. It’s a message of hope. One of undying passion. And it’s a message I feel can also serve to inspire you and your work, particularly in this industry.
 
It’s no secret that as advertising professionals we encounter our share of trials and tribulations. On a daily basis, our patience may be tested by clients, by dead-end jobs, or by conflicting philosophies of colleagues. We may feel stuck, thinking nothing can be done to improve our circumstances. But we forget about an important thread that ties us all together: we are all problem solvers — we all possess skills necessary to better our situations. 

We can’t forget that. We can’t doubt ourselves. And we can’t lose the internal fire that drives us all.
 
In the recent ESPN 30 for 30 film, Survive and Advance — which chronicles the near-impossible 1983 NCAA championship run of the NC State basketball team — many of the players remember Jimmy V as a man of great passion and dreams. Even with all odds stacked against his team, Coach Valvano refused to let his dream of becoming a champion die.
 
And that’s what I urge of you, as well — to believe.
 
Believe in your big idea. Keep pushing for approval on that great concept you know is perfect for your client, even if they don’t. Innovative ideas are always questioned, often simply because they’ve never been done before. But that’s what makes them innovative.
 
Believe in your team. Whether you’re one-half of a designer-copywriter team or a group director overseeing many, believe in one another. Most of all, show others that you believe. Feeling valued goes a long way in boosting morale, so take the time to take an interest in your colleagues. Trust me, it means more than you know.
 
Believe in your goals. Maybe there’s an account you’ve always dreamed of working on. Maybe it’s an agency you envision joining. Maybe you haven’t even made it into the industry yet. Keep grinding.

Believe in advertising. You chose your career path for a reason, and you’ll spend at least a third of your life until retirement somehow involved with your job. Make that time worth your while. Believe in the work you do. Believe that it makes a difference. Believe that it’s all worth a damn.
 
Some people say I’m too idealistic at times. Some might even call me naïve. I can’t help but think, what’s wrong with that? The truth is, I wake up every morning expecting to do great work. I expect to live my dreams. And I expect to reach my goals — just as Jimmy V did. But I also know that I, like you, will never achieve them without a continued drive, unyielding passion, and hard work.

So don't give up. Don't ever give up.


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About the Author
Matt Shuford is an idea chemist. With a little over five years to his career, he's a driven copywriter and problem solver who takes pride in keeping things fresh, interesting, and intelligent. You can expect his posts to reflect those of an admirer and critic of advertising, life, and the relationship between the two. Feel free to contact him at his website or on Twitter

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