One of my favorite George Carlin interviews is one in which he explains why it’s important to “not give a sh*t.”
If you take a spin online or in traditional media these days, it’s hard not to notice piles of sarcasm and gobs of irreverence – both playful and sincere; many have built names for themselves by developing snarky-voiced columns and personas. Of course, there’s a whole lot of good-hearted stuff out there, too, it’s just a bit overshadowed at times.
Memes touting “zero f*ks given” and proclaiming the virtues of not giving a sh*t are around every corner, and are as confined to Carlin as Spandex is to the gym. (Ask me about my collection of stretchy pants.)
Funny? Sure. I’m a fan of sarcasm as much as the next person. But gospel? Not even mostly.
In a communications industry, the one thing we must do is give a damn about the importance of giving a sh*t. If we don’t, what are we all doing here?
Giving a sh*t means knowing what you stand for.
Have an opinion? Advertising wants you. On a daily basis, we’re asked for our points-of-view, our thoughts, our feedback, our input; there’s constant dialogue, and if you don’t know what you stand for how will your opinion ever stand on its own among others? Knowing what you stand for is right up there with commitment and character.
Giving a sh*t means caring enough to speak up.
Ever had a request – either client or internal – come through that you know is wrong to act on? Speaking up isn’t an option in this case – it’s critical. When we speak up, we morph from a human into a compass. Whether in Forbes, Harvard Business Review or in leadership blogs, there’s content galore about how people want to be led. Speaking up means being fearless, and being fearless sans recklessness is a hallmark of a good leader.
Giving a sh*t flies in the face of complacency, and indicates an eye toward the future.
It’s easy to not care. A lot of people don’t – and it shows. But when you give a sh*t, it shows even more. It shows that you’re daring to imagine a better way – of doing things, of operating, of managing, and of leading and growing a client’s business. It’s caring about the future state not only for yourself, but for everyone who walks through your doors and who experiences your agency’s brand. It’s caring about a legacy – yours, as well as the organization’s.
All in all, giving a sh*t is vision and action-oriented; it’s a choice, and it’s a really good one. Here at Amusement Park, our core values – Imagination, Character, Fearlessness, Diversity, Belief and Joy are all about being empowered to do what’s right; they’re the good-hearted values that essentially define what it means to give a sh*t, and they’re values that we will never hide in the shadows.
Lauren Dunn is an Account Director who gives a sh*t about a lot of things, including values that both define and transform people and organizations, writing, blogging, and amassing an enviable assortment of stretchy pants.