While conducting an interview last week with Bob Calvano, a creative group head at Merck, for an article I’m writing for HOW, I was struck by an aspect of his demeanor that I believe has been critical to his success. In talking about the many challenges he’s faced during his tenure at Merck, Bob never seemed to feel bitter, angry or victimized. He didn’t belittle or demean his clients or upper managers who may have unconsciously thrown up roadblocks to his projects and plans. He very matter-of-factly mentioned the obstacles he faced, whether man-made or situational, and then went on to discuss how he addressed the problems he encountered.
I’m convinced that Bob’s lack of negativity has allowed him to approach challenges more objectively and maintain the kind of positive relationship with his team’s clients and upper management necessary to get their trust and support for his group to be successful.
As most of us know, for right-brain creatives working in the left-brain world of suits, this is no small feat. In spite of the difficulty in achieving this state of acceptance, it is critical to our professional and personal success and wellbeing to practice it.