How Giannis helped our copywriter Ryan defeat his writer’s block—and his ego too

“The GOAT Quote”

“When you talk about the past, that’s your ego talking. When I focus on the future, that’s my pride. I try to focus in the moment, in the present. That’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s going out there and enjoying the game, competing at a high level. For me, it’s working. I’m enjoying my life.”

Take a moment to love how great this is. Just sort of dive in and splash around in all the greatness. It is so damn great. Guess who said it. Yep, it was Mr. Bucks in Six, NBA Finals MVP himself, Giannis Antetokounmpo. But you already knew that. 

I think this is easily one of the top-ten sports quotes of all-time. Like all great sports quotes, it contains wisdom beyond the field of play. Recently, I was stuck on a thing. Creatively stuck. Mired. Couldn’t go through it, couldn’t go around it. Under it. Over it. I was definitely over it. And then I thought about what Giannis had said. 

The past is ego. It’s over. Done. The future is things I talk about doing but haven’t actually done yet. That’s just pride talking. However, being here in the present and focused on the now, this moment, whatever moment you and I find ourselves in… that’s humility. 

Why was I stuck? Because I was approaching this particular thing from a place of ego. I have been doing this kind of thing for years. I wanted to make this particular thing great because that’s the damn point, but my ego was getting in the way. I HAVE BEEN GREAT BEFORE SO WHY CAN’T I BE GREAT NOW? AAAAARGH!

To make things worse, I was also thinking about the future, which, as Giannis said, is just pride talking. Who would see it and how would they react? Would it engage them, delight them… and just how clever would they think it was?

Wrong headspace. Wrong approach. Greatness is making the work great for our clients, nothing more. I was being wrong, and it was getting me nowhere.

So I got up, thought about what Giannis had said, took a deep breath and sat back down. I read the brief again – the answers are always in the brief – grabbed a pen and a notepad and just started writing. I stopped worrying about being great. I wasn’t worried about getting it right or done. I just focused on the work.

Eventually it clicked, and I got the thing to a good enough place where I could share it with a colleague. And she pointed me in an even better direction.

I am lucky as hell to work with an amazing team of incredibly talented people, and one of the things I’ve learned over the past few months is that the only way to approach this work is with joyful humility. Be in the moment. Be humble. Put a whole lot of love into it so we can deliver great work, our absolute best every time. And always, always, always expect that my best can get better. Maybe I didn’t need Giannis to remind me of that, but it sure helped a lot.

 

—Ryan Kresse, SRH Copywriter Extraordinaire

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