Change the Game, By Giving It Your All!

About 20 years ago after undergrad, I enrolled as a wide-eyed and eager student at one of the nation’s premiere advertising schools called The Portfolio Center (in Atlanta). Students came from around the world to learn how to develop portfolio’s (for copywriting, photography, graphic design and art direction) that would land them jobs in the nation’s leading advertising and design firms.

The experience forever changed me. It introduced me to creativity as I had never known it. It showed me how to leverage “unconventional thinking” and seamlessly connect it to current events to force people to take notice and it gave me a front row seat to the hottest talent in the country both on the student and professional levels.

One of the signature programs of the school was the Thursday night Speaker Series where they would bring in some of the hottest industry talent to “chat with us.” 

One of those speakers was a guy named Luke Sullivan. In the advertising industry, this guy was considered a “game changer,” way before that term was even coined. While there introducing the bright eyed and bushy tailed students to the “world of possibilities,” he was asked about his process for creating insanely, exceptional and award winning copy. 

He told about his process—for pushing himself. He said he would force himself to write a minimum of 100 headlines (which was probably about 70 more than average copywriters were writing). He would think about every angle he could, every tone, use every inflection…whatever. It all went down, line by line on a yellow legal pad.  Then, when he finally got to the last one, he would tear it up and toss it out. That meant that he was “just scratching the surface.”


I’ve remembered that for years. How often do we settle with the first though, brilliant idea or plan that comes to mind? How often do we simply “go with surface stuff,” without digging deeper? Peeling back the layers and connecting with someone fresh, innovative and different.

As you look for ways to elevate your positioning in the marketplace, don’t settle for the obvious. It won’t help you stand out. Increase your Salary. Or, connect you with unimaginable opportunities. Instead, what it will do is “confirm that you aren’t any different.”

So pull out your legal pad and get to work. Figure out your formula for your 100 headlines so when you show up, you are bringing 100%.