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Everything I Need to Know About Agency Work, I Learned From The Karate Kid

Oh, Mr. Miyagi – as wise as the Dali Lama and as tough as Chuck Norris. Arguably one of the best characters in movie history. For me, The Karate Kid was an iconic film from my childhood that I’d watch over and over again to cheer for sweet little Ralph Macchio and his mentor Mr. Miyagi. I hated Johnny and the Cobra Kais and learned many lessons about bullies, dating and that “wax-on, wax-off” was actually a karate move I could practice on my little sister. In my opinion, they just don’t make movies like they did in the 80’s (Twilight will NEVER compare to The Goonies!) and I happen to think that many lessons can be learned from The Karate Kid. This article will focus specifically on what this movie can teach us about marketing.

Miyagi: Problem: attitude.
When Daniel states that his problem is he gets his ass kicked by the Cobra Kais every day in school, Mr. Miyagi reminds him that the problem is the Cobra Kais ATTITUDE, not the actual ass-kicking.

Most of the time, it isn’t the PROJECT that is the problem, it’s your ATTITUDE.

Marketing agency work requires us to work fast and precise and manage many different client projects at once. I don’t know any marketing agency employee that doesn’t work long hours with high stress. So how about instead of complaining that you’re getting your ass kicked by work, change your attitude about it! Be happy that you HAVE a job in this economy and that you are trusted by clients to handle several projects at once.

Miyagi: Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.”
Yoda said it first. Do… or do not. There is no try.

Never do a half-ass job for your clients. Either you can do the job or you can’t. I think this works in all aspects of life.

Miyagi: Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?
As professionals that NEVER go “off the clock” and often receive emails from clients at midnight, we struggle with balance. But it’s true that without balance, we will fall in work AND in life. Everything is ok in moderation. Too much work: bad. Too little work: bad.

Miyagi: Look eye!, always look eye!
I’m convinced that it wasn’t my work alone that has got me where I am today. It’s my ability to look people in the eye, be honest with them, make them feel comfortable and frankly, get them to like me. Founder and Creative Strategist at ICMC, Matt Clyde always says: “Make clients love you so they can’t let you go.” Which pretty much means, respect them and treat them right (Look eye)!

Miyagi: “Must remember: a [driver’s] license never replace eyes, ear, brain.”
My work experience outweighs my school experience by 100,000,000 tons. I take EVERY chance I get to learn something new at work. Just today I learned about a design file’s capabilities that I wasn’t familiar with. Am I a designer? No. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t constantly be trying to learn all about what my company offers and what we can do for clients. This can only make me a better employee and a better, experienced, educated individual.

Posted on December 1, 2010 in Ideas

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