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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.