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December 4, 2008
Think About Skies—Then Go Through Them
 
"When the situation gets critical, those who aren't weak-willed work harder and never give up." Joseph P. Kennedy (1888-1969)
 
It’s really crappy out there. It’s time to—make time for self-examination.
 
Companies should view rough economic eras like this one as a gift. Slower pace of activity means, ahh, companies can take a step back and reevaluate what they are doing and how they are doing it. This break in frenetic action is fantastic. To quote a wonderfully profound marketing expert I know, with every hour in the day accounted for, we risk losing our culture and creativity.”
 
Being too busy for reflection happens on both a corporate and a personal level, and it has real consequences for creativity and fresh thinking. This same smart fellow takes time each week
to see his nieces and grants hours each day just to think. “Everyone I know gets on a train,” he explained, “and instead of contemplating something or giving their thoughts free rein, they get on their freaking cell phones. Mobile devices allow you to have conversations to pass the time, instead of passing time in actual thought.”
 
Speed is good in sports and fabulous in microwaves. When we begin to hurry through life, however, things get ugly. Many of the most elegantly important things in the world take time and thought! When we sacrifice that, we lose in the end, and there’s nothing touchy-feely about that result. Slow down and contemplate. Your ability to create brilliant, imaginative anything—not to mention a host of other things—will only benefit.
 
Finally, as Sarge said in Hill Street Blues, be careful out there.
 
I mean that in a simple manner. Don’t rush into things without thinking out your message (“What am I really trying to say to this person?”), and don’t be ill prepared for even the briefest phone call to, well, anyone. One of our folks at RLM made that dastardly error when he phoned a reporter to double-check his name, explaining helpfully, “I want to send a bylined article to you at Forbes.” Unfortunately, the disgruntled gent on the other end of the line worked for Fortune.
 
Watch your step, watch the news, watch your competition.
 
Once you’ve got your eye on the basics, and don’t panic (think Joseph Kennedy), you can watch your sales go through the roof. And come to think of it, why stop there? 
 
Think.

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Richard Laermer is CEO of New York's RLM pr, representing, among others, e-Miles, Epic Advertising, Yodlee, Revolution Money, Group Commerce, Smith & Nephew, and HotChalk. He was host of TLC's cult program Taking Care of Business and speaks on trends and marketing for corporate groups. You can read Laermer on The Huffington Post and on the mischievous but all-too-necessary Bad Pitch Blog. For more like this, follow him on @laermer.

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