Friday, May 10, 2013

Axiom 34: Dare to be Great

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."  -Theodore Roosevelt
In 2002 I was finishing up my undergraduate degree here in Texas. My goal at the time was to work in entertainment PR in Los Angeles. I knew it was going to take something special for me to break through the pile of rèsumès and noticed. I had one PR firm in mind in Beverly Hills that I really wanted to work for so I put together a plan to get noticed.

I flew from Dallas to Los Angeles with a briefcase and rented a car. I drove straight to where the  PR firm was on Wilshire Boulevard and walked into their office. I acted like I was with a courier service and I dropped off the briefcase and a letter for the president of the PR firm. I even had the secretary sign a fake delivery log.

What happen next was a thing of beauty. The president read the letter. In it I introduced myself and asked for a chance to work there. At the end of the letter I gave the combination to unlock the briefcase, 777.

Once he opened the briefcase he saw posted inside my rèsumè and a quote from Benjamin Franklin, "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." The rest of the briefcase was filled with fake $100 bills banded with the PR firm's logo.

It made a strong statement and they called to set up an interview. That's were the good part of the story unfortunately ends. Being that the cell phone technology of 2002 sucked compared to today the message was lost. I didn't realize what happened until I got back to Texas and read and email from them saying that they loved the stunt and had called me to set up a meeting. I tried to reschedule but they wouldn't respond. Opportunity lost.

Looking back things turned out for the best. This experience taught me that taking chances can pay off. Don't be afraid to do something big. Sometimes things will still go wrong but in the long run you'll be glad that you took the risk.