At the most recent installment of the Bravery Series, Moderator Nisha Dua, Principal of BBG Ventures, opened the session by questioning the audience on how we can better challenge young women to innovate, create and be brave. The panel she moderated included three creative giants who shared stories of their own personal, creative, and professional moments of bravery.
The Brilliance of Stupidity
When Seema Miller, Managing Partner, Chief Strategy Officer of David & Goliath, began to re-examine what it meant to be brave, she realized that there was a reoccurring theme: in order to be brave, you have to take chances and make mistakes. What also became clear to her was that bravery rejects all reason. “When you get into that moment of abandoning all reason to the point that it makes you stupid and you can’t comprehend the danger — that’s when you jump,” she said.
This new perspective on stupidity and bravery has changed how Seema conducts her work on major accounts. She no longer feels that the way to be the most effective strategist is to be the smartest person in the room. Once Seema realized that brilliant solutions can result from asking the questions that everyone else is overlooking or is too afraid to ask, she risked looking stupid and began to ask questions. Seema suggested to the crowd that if being perceived as being stupid makes us a little too nervous, then let’s celebrate being naïve instead.
Bravery to Disappear
Being brave enough to acknowledge that a low point in her career could be salvaged by taking some time off, Leslie Sims, Chief Creative Officer of Y&R, was able to take a step back and enjoy life. This career-changing moment happened when Leslie quit her first job in advertising, a job where she worked incredibly hard and was losing perspective of who she was, to work on a ranch in Wyoming for a summer. Because she was brave enough to recognize that her current job was destructive to her sense of self and that she had to leave it, despite having no idea what she would do when she was done working on the ranch, Leslie was able to regain a new perspective. Her key insights with the crowd were: be more intentional, don’t compare, trust your head (and your gut), and make your own luck.
The Key is Love
After creating a successful film that blurred the lines between a web series, traditional feature film, and social media-driven interaction, Jaime Robinson, Former ECD at Wieden + Kennedy, worried that her best work might be behind her. The frightening prospect of never doing better work forced Jaime to examine the environment that had helped her create the successful work of art that had connected her to so many people. She determined that feeling loved is what had made her brave on that project and that bravery is what made the series such a success. She noted that kids are the most fearless creators on the planet and it is no coincidence that they get love 24-hours a day and are praised for their beautiful thoughts and creations. Jaime hopes that we can create an environment where all people feel enough love to be brave.
Check out this recap from Nika Nolda at Medium.