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Contrast breeds clarity: Mack’s commitments for 2013

I call bullshit on New Year’s resolutions.

It’s just a lame way of saying that you’re going to make a big deal about the things that you think you should be doing in your life but don’t, tack them on to your already over-committed routine, wonder why you don’t see results in less than 30 days, and then quit.

I’ve bagged that whole thing for taking a look at what hasn’t really been working, determining how it needs to be different, and committing to making a change.

There’s a whole boat load of things that I’d like to do differently, but there’s no way I can tackle it all. This is what I can confidently commit to revamping in my work life this year:

I’m going to change my routine

I’ve heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I’m done banging my head against the wall trying to make an old routine fit a new role.

For years I have been out of the production side of things. Instead of working on client stuff, my job has been to focus on systems, processes, and leadership. This has been the biggest contributor to the strong and rapid transformation that Mack Web made last year.

Due to our evolution, I have been presented with some new (and uninvited) responsibilities. With new systems and processes comes new roles for everyone, and I need to jump in and help the team with the transition. This means a little bit of production work, more training, and a whole bunch of management in the first quarter of 2013. This doesn’t get me overly excited, but it will help the team to feel empowered, better serve our clients, and get me back to focusing on the growth of the company.

I’m going to ask for help

As a leader (and an over-achiever), it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I need to know (or learn) how to do everything. There’s too much that I want the company to accomplish this year, and I can’t be the only one who’s working on figuring out how to do it. I’m going to ask for help.

Lucky for me I’ve had a lot of people who have been willing to guide me as I grow Mack Web. I have always looked to mentors to coach me on the things that I have no idea how to do (or didn’t realize I needed to be doing). Hands down, our success can be attributed to the generosity of people who have been willing to advise me.

A long time friend of mine, Mike McCurdie has been mentoring me since I was a sole proprietor (God bless him). When we’re not venting over martinis, he’s pushing me to stay focused on what the company needs (and not what I’m tired of doing that particular day).

Last year, I received phenomenal guidance from many thought leaders in the industry. I can’t thank the Distilled team enough for their insight (when we grow up, we want to be just like them): Will Critchlow, John Doherty, Paddy Moogan, and Duncan Morris have been so incredibly generous with their time and have helped me through some really tough spots. This year, I’m going to add to my circle of mentors and find a few more who can provide knowledge and expertise where I need to be stronger.

Mentorship really has made all the difference in our survival. And someday, when I’m kind of a big deal, I’m going to do whatever it takes to pay it forward.

I’m going to give back

I love sharing knowledge. Even though I didn’t care for being in the trenches at the junior high level, I really do enjoy teaching. I also really like blogging, and that has been one of the most rewarding ways for me to utilize my teaching skills, contribute to our industry, and help others.

Something that I’m really excited and honored about doing this year is contributing to the SEOmoz main blog. SEOmoz has asked me to be an Associate, and as a result, I’ve committed to contributing one blog post a month. This is a hefty commitment with everything else I’ve got on my plate (Moz posts take me days on end to write), but it’s one that I’m eager to fulfill.

Every time I’ve contributed to the Moz blog it has pushed me to grow, but more importantly, it has provided the opportunity to connect with others who are learning as well. It will be nice to have the external motivation to make a consistent effort to learn, teach, and give back to the community that has been so good to me. And of course, make a ton of new friends (which is hands down my favorite part).

I’m going to dwell in possibility

This is our year. I can feel it. We figured out a lot of stuff last year. Contrast breeds clarity and I have no doubt in my mind that we know who we are, what we want to do, and that we sure as hell are going to do it.

We have a ton of work to do this year. My challenge with that is two things:

  1. Not get stuck in the day-to-day but instead dwell in the possibility of where all of that work is going to take us.
  2. Don’t kill (i.e. overwork) the team.

We’re starting the year off by getting grounded in our values. All of us need a better understanding of exactly what we stand for so that we can exemplify this every day:

Knowledge: our dedication to staying on top of the industry and providing our clients with accurate and valuable information that will assist them in making good decisions about their businesses. We take a lot of pride in and have a lot of passion about educating our clients and our community.

Service: our commitment to take remarkable care of our clients. To communicate. To be responsive. To be kind, helpful, honest, and understanding. To show our clients that we value their relationship and we’re worth every penny they’re spending with us. If our clients feel this from us on an ongoing basis, then when we make a mistake or drop the ball (it does happen), we can earn their forgiveness.

Initiative: exhibiting leadership both internally and externally with our clients and agency partners. Internally, our team has to have the drive and ability to observe when something isn’t quite right. When we can do better. When we need to make a change. And not waiting for someone (like me) to ask them to take action.

With our clients, it’s our job to lead them with knowledge and expertise but also with an intimate understanding of their business. It is our responsibility to make their lives easier by always thinking of them first and taking the initiative on their behalf.

Integrity: for me, integrity encompasses so many significant non-negotiables like transparency, accountability, character, and trust. When we’re not a fit for the job, we find the team who is. When we make a mistake, we own up to it. Sometimes integrity means embracing the fact that you’re the guy who sucks. It’s all part of being real and being human.

Relationships: this is all that matters. Sure, I want to make money, but what I really want for our company is to come to work every day and love who we get to be with. I want us to create life-long friendships with people who inspire us, challenge (yet support) us, and make us better. I want us to help other people do amazing things. Things that they didn’t believe were possible before they met us. This starts with the team we’re building, the clients and partners we choose to work with, and the community we are growing. Through these relationships we will make a big difference. In everything.

This is gonna be good

Here’s to a productive and life changing year, kids. But it’s not going to happen doing the same stuff you’ve always done. Shake it up a bit. Be thoughtful about living in the moment and making the most of where you are right now. That’s a tough one for me, but I’m working on it.

What are you committed to doing in 2013? Whatever it is, make it count.



Author Mack Fogelson

More posts by Mack Fogelson

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • I hear your sentiments about new years resolutions and love the intentions you’ve set for yourself for 2013. They’re relevant, realistic, achievable and most important, inspiring. I think so many people fail at “resolutions” because they aren’t inspiring. Like you say, they’re the things you “should” do = lose weight, eat healthy, quit smoking. Those kinds of resolutions aren’t rooted in a deeper purpose, which means they do not inspire or motivate people to get in the trenches and truly change. That’s my own 2 cents at least 😉

    Thanks for sharing your story Mack!

    • Mack says:

      Completely agree Ariana. I think that’s what I despise most about resolutions is the ones that people have year after year, but never quite do anything beyond the first 30 days, and then just put it back on the list for next year. As you know, I’m all about the action, so I wanted to set some real things for this year that I could actually work toward and accomplish.

      Happy New Year to you!

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