Kristine Neil

The Fall, Moving Forward & Turning The Page

Strategy, BusinessKristine NeilComment

The opportunities of forward-thinking

I’ve always been a forward thinker. By the time Fridays roll around, I’m already thinking about Monday. Near the end of a month, I have a hard time restraining my urge to flip the calendar ahead. There’s just something great about the start of a fresh day, a new week or the clean slate of the next month. It’s like dialing the score back to zero and starting from scratch. It’s like Groundhog Day… where even though Bill Murray was living the same day over and over he got a chance every time to build on what worked and toss what didn’t without anyone around him being any the wiser. It’s new beginnings.

Most people have similar feelings around the end of the calendar year. They spend the holiday season reminiscing, evaluating the year’s ups and downs, making plans to do better the second that ball drops in Times Square. Personally, that’s not my favorite time of year. Not even close. Perhaps it’s because there’s so much pressure to make promises you know won’t be kept (this is the year I bring my lunch to work every. single. day.) or perhaps because it’s psychologically hard to make change when what’s ahead feels so much like what’s behind in terms of seasons. This forward thinker needs something more visceral to motivate her. Something like pumpkin spice lattes and falling leaves.

Blame it on the perpetual student in me that can’t remember if it was 1990 or 1991 but can definitely tell you whether it was the 5th or 6th grade, but to me, the new year starts in September. I get so excited, that here at Markon HQ, our office calendar said goodbye to August a week ago. September brings with it the excitement of new beginnings that January can’t even compete with. In the Pacific Northwest, that means a fresh crispness in the air. The first hint at a rainy season to come. The first time you wear a scarf for function as much as fashion.

There’s something about sending kids back to school that makes even us adults think about what it was like to pick out new clothes, dream of what new friends we’d make and ready ourselves to tackle challenges that seemed way too overwhelming in the heat of summer. Summer is for being lazy and September is for getting back to work. And unlike January, there are no societal pressures to do it all and do it perfect. In September you have the liberty to make mistakes and not feel defeated by them; after all, the year is just getting started and finals are a long ways off. You’re not expected to know everything on the first day of class.

It’s in this spirit of forward thinking that I challenge you to think about what this year will mean for you and your business. Will this be the year you rise to the top of the class? Score the winning touchdown? Discover your passion? What will you do to make those dreams a reality? Will you stay after class for some tutoring? Run that extra mile after practice? Stay up late reading a book under the covers with a flashlight?

For me, I’d like to think that this is the year Markon finally gets to sit at the upperclassmen table. In the nearly four years that I’ve owned this fledgling little company, we’ve grown from geeky, unsure freshmen into pretty cool seniors. There’s still a lot of road ahead of us, but I just couldn’t be more proud of how we’ve come into our own and how we daily give shape to our vision as a growing design agency. This year we’ll help more businesses tackle branding and identity in ways we’ve never been able to before. We’ll take a few rookies under our wings and show them how they can achieve their goals with easier-than-you-think marketing strategies. We’ll be the funny kids with painted faces sitting in the front row at the homecoming game... just so damn excited that our team is back on the field that we don’t even care what the score is.

So, let’s work. I’d love to share a bit of my September excitement with you. Maybe we could get a PSL first? And then we’ll talk about how we can work together to make this the best.year.ever.