The In and Out of Yes and No

Pitching. You love it, you hate it. Depending on whether you win or lose. We just lost one where we left every single thing we had — every nerve, every sinew, every synapse — in the room only to be told thanks, but no thanks. It’s easy at these times to go down the road of the spurned boy- or girlfriend muttering, “He/she had big ears anyway and smelled funny.” But let’s face it, when you have loved and lost there’s no getting away from the hurt.

What’s even harder, at least for the first month, is to see it from the client’s point of view — even if they’re as charming and talented a bunch as the group who just told us to go take a hike. Particularly when you have an idea you truly believe to be utterly brilliant and right and game-changing as we did and still do.

But choosing anything is difficult and I’m not sure I’d be great at it. (In fact, my whole life is on many levels a story of often being pretty terrible at choosing right.)

Take the simplest thing: an outfit for an important event. It’s an event where you have to make a brilliant first impression; often that’s the only impression that will count or that anyone will remember you by. This is not unlike launching or relaunching a brand, when you think about it. So you’re trying to buy this outfit and you pass some stores and see something that catches your eye. It seems perfect. You go in, you pick it up. Fabulous. You hold it against yourself in the mirror. Perfect. You envision yourself in the outfit as it brings out all that is best about you. While it’s spectacular, it’s not an outfit that doesn’t fit your character. No, it’s an extension of the best part of your character: it shows off your skin, the color of your eyes, your musculature, too. Perfection. At this moment you are at the most emotional and, I would argue, most important point of your decision-making process. You are feeling not thinking, and in doing so you are precisely replicating what the people who you want to wow at the upcoming event will be doing. You have not yet allowed yourself to be gripped by the complacency of common sense. But that is what will of course happen next.

As you hold the outfit you become aware of the fabric and wonder how hard-wearing it is. Will you be able to wear it more than once? You look at the label: a mixture of natural fibers and synthetics. You also notice that it’s made in Taiwan. (Good? Bad? Not sure it’s good.) Then you notice the price: pretty steep for something that is not all-natural fibers. And the brand: It’s one you’ve heard of. Up-and-coming, maybe? Not Armani or Prada, though… You hold it up again. It does look amazing. You put it down and decide to walk around the store and look at other things. You try Armani and Prada. You look at some sleek, sober, unspectacular items, black mostly. OK, so you might not wow people, but you won’t look out of place. You go to the Dolce & Gabbana section. You see some crazy far-out stuff, which is not you at all