The Summer of Andrew
After a lot of thought and internal conflict, I’ve decided to step away from Heart and take the rest of the summer off. With no plans to return to the agency.
As I’ve begun to tell people about this plan, the first thing they ask me (unsurprisingly) is “why?”. So here is an attempt at an answer.
And let me state up front, that it has nothing to do with the health or prospects of the business. Heart is going to continue its ascent, and remain strong without me. Thomas (my partner at Heart) has always been the creative force behind the business, and he, along with the rest of the awesome team, are going continue to kill it.
The reason I am stepping away, has everything to do with where my heart (lowercase “h”) lies today.
Thomas has a great little framework that he always draws, which provides a really simple and smart way to prioritize one’s focus, as a means to happiness. It looks like this:
The essential idea here, is to demonstrate that if you start mapping all of life’s annoyances and problems onto this little spectrum, you begin to realize that most of your energy is largely spent worrying about shit that you can’t control, and that simply doesn’t matter.
And if you work in advertising, you’ll likely reach the even sadder realization that MOST of your stress and worry triggers tend to sit quite firmly in that lower left quadrant.
Which is where I’ve found myself living these days, and it’s making me rather unhappy.
I’ve become buried under the stresses of building a business, slugging through work I’m not excited about, arguing over what’s a good idea and what’s a bad idea, and just generally trying to push a big rock up a steep hill as we try and change the advertising game from the inside.
It’s been bumming me out, it’s been exhausting me, and more importantly, I can’t control it (as much as I’d like to) and I’m not really sure any of it matters (to me, today).
Not compared with what’s on the other side - which is a new family that needs me to be a better husband and dad for a while, more than they need me to be a better ad guy.
Because for too long, work has been in competition with family, and for at least a little while, I need to let family win.
I need to look at the things that matter, that I can control, and shift my energy there.
So starting this week, I'm going to take some time off. Like, completely off. I’m taking the back half of June, all of July, and perhaps some of August too.
My central focus will be to spend some more time with my family, looking after my infant daughter and supporting my wife in her new job. And just generally doing things that make me (and hopefully my family) a lot happier.
At some point though, I’ll need to return to the working world (likely end of summer, beginning of fall). So I’ll be looking to stay sharp in my downtime.
I’m going to try and write/publish more, I’m going to read the stack of books I’ve been collecting, I’m going to seek out lots of beer/coffee conversations with interesting people (get in touch!), I’m going to tidy up some of my dusty tech skills, and I’m generally going to be really deliberate about getting setup for my next move, whatever that may be.
Because looking back, it’s clear that my entire career has been nothing if not some combination of luck, hustle, opportunism, timing, and a near frenetic changing-of-mind and continual re-shaping what I love and believe.
I’ve always led with my gut and my heart, and this time is no different.
It’s the right thing for me to do now.
See y'all out there.