Fresh ideas, seasoned perspectives, and solid marketing strategies to keep you grounded and growing.
By Leah Swearingen, APR
Not all gifts sparkle like gold, or perfume the air like frankincense. Some seem silly, others are downright unwelcome.
This year I identified three “gifts” from my decades as a business owner that went unrecognized for years. That’s because they came packaged as hardship, challenges, or drudgery. Now I regard them among life’s best presents. They are:
1) The gift of adversity.
Mary Tyler Moore said, “You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
That beautiful Friday in June 30 years ago quickly dissolved into one of the most traumatic mornings of my life. I loved my job as national marketing director for a major New York publishing house. I adored my boss. But as the company fought off a hostile takeover, corporate stepped in. Headquarters slashed 65 positions in San Diego. Before 10 a.m. HR crisply informed me that my job was eliminated and to clean out my desk. By noon.
I cried for a week. My stunned and shattered spirit resolved to never again subject itself to the corporate ax. It was scary and ambiguous. But I knew that I must chart my own course.
I doubt I would have developed the skills, confidence, fortitude, resourcefulness, and courage it takes to run a small business had my hand not been forced. Some wise person said that “adversity has a way of introducing a man to himself.” It’s true. We seldom grasp the breadth of our abilities unless fate steps in, disguised as misfortune.
2) The gift of hard work.
Our culture worships retirement, leisure, and working fewer hours. But I believe that most days, the outstanding women and men I’ve been privileged to serve derive deep satisfaction from what they do.
I’m not saying that there isn’t daily grunt work. Most of us put in countless tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before we achieve anything worthwhile.Yet I have many wonderful memories, and more than a few chuckles, recalling the feats and foibles that my clients and I experienced together. I am grateful for them all.
Teddy Roosevelt concurred. He said, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
3) The gift of working with others.
Americans idolize independent, self-reliant John Wayne types.
Yet, Proverbs tells us that “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens a friend’s character”. Despite what we may tell ourselves, we become masters of our professions, not in isolation, but together with one another.
We are not the sole architects of our careers. We are more like sculptors, working alongside other sculptors. It involves hand hammering and chiseling and scraping and polishing, sometimes alone, but oftentimes together. And we become better products because of it.
If you work with difficult or challenging people, think big. They might be that irritating grain of sand that forces you to grow into a more valuable and lustrous pearl.
The troubles of life show up like unwanted visitors. But through the leavening of time and our own discernment, they can transmute into some of life’s best gifts. Don’t neglect to open them!
Communication begins here.
321 Tenth Avenue, Ste. 1107 San Diego, CA 92101
I brought Leah on board to help my business grow to the next level. With her brilliant marketing techniques and drive, Leah has helped me transform my business into a thriving 1031 Exchange firm and allowed me to focus more on my clients. Leah has been instrumental in my PR, branding and marketing initiatives and I have come to depend on her extraordinary marketing contributions. She is a delight to work with and her tenacity is extremely motivating.
Bill Exeter, President and CEO
Swearingen Communications provided us with both solid marketing strategies and creative ideas and implementation. This spanned our branding, website, and more. Leah Swearingen helped us think differently and see our company from a client’s perspective. We thoroughly enjoyed our professional relationship with her and highly recommend her services.
Jack Shirley, CPA, CGMA, Friedman Brannen LLP
You are the epitome of professionalism, and your work is of the highest quality.
Patricia J. Lane, Director of Administrative Services, DENTONS, Past President, Association of Legal Administrators
One of the best marketing people I know is Leah Swearingen, of Swearingen Communications. She shines when it comes to professional services firms. I personally have seen the work that she has done on behalf of a wealth management firm and a law practice. Great stuff.
James E. Tenuto, CEO, Renaissance Executive Forums
I retained Leah in my role as Executive Director of a prominent San Diego law firm. Leah successfully led the firm in developing a firm-wide marketing culture, marketing plan, and guiding our attorneys. When I launched my own company, Leah was instrumental in helping me create my brand, communicate my services, and develop marketing collateral. My company continues to benefit from her outstanding work.
Nancy Thornton, Founder, Foster Thornton LLC
You make a huge difference in the way our company is perceived in the marketplace. From your good ideas to your execution and follow through, it is fortuitous to have you on board. We have great things to say about you and don't mind shouting them from the rooftops.
Craig Brown, President, Rancho Financial Mortgage