April 2006 - Per Inquiry

House of Glass

A colleague of mine new to the industry recently attended his first ERA reception in New York. He waded into the fraternal atmosphere amid a trendy midtown bar by himself, which as those of you who are veterans know, is an act of bravery akin to walking in solo to your spouse’s high school reunion. Afterwards, he phoned me quite giddy and commented, “Wow! The thing I love about you guys is that it took everybody in that room about 60 seconds to get around to trying to figure out if they could monetize me or not.” And I replied, “Why do you think they call it the direct response industry?” It was simply time for the call to action.

When I inform people I’m slated to be chairman of ERA come September, there are typically two responses: either, “Congratulations!” or something to the effect of, “Oh, so you’re the one I should complain to.” The gripes come in various forms-the location of conferences, the price of things, a snub from a board member or staffer, and other musings about what is wrong in the world. Many are valid and all are heard. But I can’t help but be reminded of what one of my mentors once told me. He said, “If you’re going to come to me with a problem, think through a couple of solutions.” In a similar vein, at one of my places of employment, if somebody gripped about something, they would then get assigned the task of sorting out the answer to the problem. Was it an effort to silence critics or a stroke of poetic justice? I imagine that depends on your point of indignity.

But since ERA is a volunteer organization, we have to rely on each other to figure out our differences and the only way we can do that is to come together. Through our gatherings, committees, conversations and the board, we have the opportunity to take responsibility for leading. Old hats and new faces undertake the process of trying to figure out how to please most of the people some of the time…or is it the other way around? It’s an endeavor some folks candidly consider foolhardy as evidenced by their “better you than me” sentiments. Then again, what if nobody took it on?

Many years ago, I received a copy of Tony Robbins’ seminal DRTV hit Personal Power. To this day, some of his teachings serve as touchstones in my life. Robbins said, “The past does not equal the future,” and spoke about how one could dispatch their limiting beliefs to create the sort of reality they desire. That line drawn in the sand allows us to consider this: do we want to wallow in our whine or turn it into another sort of wine; the kind we can raise in a glass to toast our collective achievements? It’s a glass that takes time and effort to bring to fruition. And it’s a glass that doesn’t come free. Is yours half full or is it half empty? Together, let’s say we all take a sniff.

Rick Petry is chief marketing officer of Downstream. He can be reached at (503) 226-1944, or via e-mail at r[email protected]. Or, visit www.downstream.com.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment