One of The Most Important Things I Learned In Marketing:

I spent four years working in the marketing agency world. I loved it, and I hated it. I’m sure most people who work, or have worked, in agencies have as complicated feelings as I do. In my time in that world I learned from some amazing people, and was able to glean from them, and the job, some great lessons.

My favorite of these lessons was a take on the old proverb, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”. We amended the statement to instead read, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t stop it from drowning itself.”.

We used the phrase to describe a client, or individual, who despite the best leading was set on choosing the worst course of action. You might be saying, “But Andy! That never happens! If you lead someone the right way you can help them make the decision that is best for them.”

You’re wrong.

People are bull headed and oft times when they choose a course of action no matter how detrimental to the project, or themselves, it is they ride that train to the end of the tracks. Not always, but more often than you think.

Ok, enough mixing metaphors. Of course people do take advice and make the best decision sometimes. But, think about your own life. What areas of your life have you decided to be the horse and drown yourself. Maybe it’s your fitness (*raises hand), your mental health (*raises hand), or your professional life (*raises hand). Maybe like me you have a couple areas that you have decided in which to drown yourself. Maybe you have less. But, we all have some. We all need to work on drowning less.

So, yeah. Don’t be the horse that drowns itself.