[Podcast] #348 One Designer's Story: When You Take Success for Granted

This week’s podcast is a little different than usual. It's a story/interview—and it doesn’t have a particularly happy ending. But I think it’s a story worth hearing.

Also, it's an honest conversation about something real.

That's what I crave lately and want to bring to the podcast more and more: candor and honesty -- people sharing what’s really happening – and what they’ve learned.

So this is the story of Dave Salanitro, a designer I met more than 20 years ago when his business was on a meteoric high. We lost touch and then reconnected recently, after everything had changed. He agreed to share his story because we both know that there’s a lot you can learn from someone else’s mistakes. 

Here are some of the lessons he articulated:

  1. No matter how much love you put into a business, it’s not going to hug you back. You can be a kind, good and generous employer, you can have high standards and a good work ethic—I’m proud to say that I did achieve those goals, but, as they say, money can’t buy you love, and I spent a lot of money trying to buy it.
  2. You can’t pick and choose who you listen to. Everyone has a valid voice. You can choose whose advice you’re going to take, but you have to listen to everyone. There were voices in my ear that I didn’t listen to, though not many.
  3. People look to leaders for answers, not questions. Don’t ask a friend what to do when your world has been turned upside down to the degree that mine was; they are watching the train wreck, they are suddenly aware that it could happen to them, they have no idea what to do and they are just a scared as you are.
  4. Be brave. Hold tight to what you have. Don't for a minute let it out of your sight. I should have stayed. I should have pushed through the pain. We are resilient creatures as long as we flex that muscle, but if we don’t flex that muscle, it grows weak.
  5. Take nothing for granted. Those years were the best years of my life. They were a gift. I’m 54 and they seem distant and almost foreign. Am I okay? Yes. But not a day goes by that I don’t think of my life as it was, and the camaraderie I shared, the honors I was so privileged to receive, and the friendships I made.
  6. Learn to let go. I struggle with this every day. There are days that I get up and I don’t do it very well. There are days when I fail spectacularly. But I do try.

So listen here (or below) and learn…. 

Note: During our conversation Mr. Salanitro said his agency was founded in 1996; it was founded in 1994.