A Moment with Dad

A Moment with Dad

Today, we launched the new website for the NYC startup Bump2Beyond. The project had been interrupted back in the fall when a significant member of the client’s family passed away. Two years ago, I lost my father in a similar way, and she and I shared our experiences, postponing the work to give her time but keeping in touch.

Being able to pay forward the patience and compassion people showed me back then (whether I accepted it or not!) was tremendous. Those moments and relationships make me prouder than ever to do what I do the way I do it.

She hasn’t been the only one, of course. Another client lost her father at around the same time I did, and we shared a similar experience. Another has been sharing her dating woes—about which I can only commiserate!—knowing it’s affecting her focus on the business. Yet another struggles with finances and work-life balance.

In other words, we don’t just work together. We communicate, and by way of the work in many cases, we come out the other side stronger and more focused. Certainly more unified.

Work is work, after all.

I fundamentally agree with Ryan Holiday’s piece, “To Everyone Who Asks For ‘Just A Little’ Of Your Time: Here’s What It Costs To Say Yes.” For creatives, it is disruptive to divvy up or commit time away from the work of creating when you absolutely need massive chunks of uninterrupted time to do the work of creating:

Paul Graham has a famous essay about managers vs makers. There are two ways to run your life, he says. Managers know that their day is divided up in pieces for meetings, calls, and administrative tasks. Makers, on the other hand, need to have large blocks of uninterrupted, unscheduled time to do what they do. To create and think…. I keep a maker’s schedule because I believe that anything else is anathema to deep work or creativity.

Should manager-types care about the makers’ needs? If they want creative work done for them… um, probably.

But there are other moments—real moments—when compassion is the better choice. When donating two hours to a client for an organic vent session may be the bridge to return to the work of creating.

My dad, a fellow workaholic to the end, taught me to be honest yet respectful, to bring humor, and to endlessly strive for greatness in what you do and in the life you create. 

The latter makes me neurotic (thank goodness for stoicism), but there are far worse ways to be.

My client sent this today:

Sarah, thanks so much for all your hard work in getting the website up and also in developing the Bump2Beyond brand! You and your team understood where I wanted to go and took the time to help me get there despite the personal setbacks I experienced along the way. I am grateful for the professionalism and compassion you took to my project.

I know Dad would be proud.

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Sarah Williams

Founder & CEO of 816 New York and passionate about all things brand strategy. Twitter & Instagram @816nyc

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