This is how "Mad Men" can help you advance your Career

Is there anything you’ve been wanting to say to someone for a while?

You probably don’t way to say it because you feel ashamed or you feel people will judge you.

What about changing that point of view?

Think about the possibility of you sharing your struggle and maybe helping someone who is going through the same thing. You will help them because they will feel they are not alone. Just by sharing your struggle others may be able to connect with you.

Let’s lean into vulnerability together.

Do you feel bad when you are not doing something? Do you feel the only value you have is the results you achieve?

If you said yes, then what I’m about to share is for you.

I have a confession to make. It may seem like a vulnerable confession, but other high-achievers (actually the term obsessive may fit better) may relate.

I have been watching some TV shows lately.

Yes, that’s the whole confession. Not watching TV ever was something I used to pride myself on. We only have 24 hours each day. Time and focus are our most valuable resources.

I focus on using my time on the activities that are going to produce the most amount of value. I pick reading books, watching TED talks, and attending networking events, instead of watching TV shows or “wasting time”.

But I’ve had to learn the hard way we have to make time for resting and recharging. In fact, it is at that time that your best ideas may pop up.

The best part is that I have actually learned a lot from the TV show that I’ve been watching, and has led me to ask better questions to myself.


Be Friends with your Ego


Most of the problems of life, if not all, are because we are thinking too much about ourselves.

Ryan Holiday is absolutely right by saying that “Ego is the Enemy”.

Yes, your ego can be valuable but only when used as a tool and not when it is in the driver seat of our lives.

You can’t take the first step or start a project? Ego is in the way because you are afraid of failure and criticism.

There is an interesting dynamic that develops in Mad Men, that I’m sure we all relate to, where all of them start complaining about the work everyone else does. Don Draper complains that no one is as committed as him to create value. Roger Sterling complains that he is the one bringing in the clients and nobody appreciates it. Everyone complains that the partners arrive late and take naps whenever they want.

This all happens because they are all focusing on themselves. They are all thinking about all the work they do and how that is “the most valuable” aspect of what they do.

This dynamic starts to create friction within the company. As it may happen in any team.

What if they all thought first about the work everyone else does? What if they asked themselves how hard would it be to do something they are not good at?

Roger Sterling probably couldn’t create any campaign. Don would probably struggle if he had to go out to a sales meeting and listen all the time to other people.

If they both realized the value the other creates, which would be almost impossible to do by themselves, them they would probably complain a lot less. In fact, they would probably facilitate each other’s job.

How many times has a conflict started because you are only thinking about you instead of thinking about the other parties involved?

This kind of thinking is closely related to the “Canvas Strategy” that Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss have talked about. It’s all about enabling everyone around you to produce their best work.

This kind of thinking, thinking about others first, will help you win in the long-term. Yes, it may be difficult sometimes.

Sometimes you may be right that the other person is actually not bringing any value to the group. Even in that situation, they are helping you strengthen your patience and empathy. 


Turning Negatives into Positives


Now I look forward to watching each next episode of Mad Men. I’ve turned this, which can be seen as something negative (may be unproductive to watch too many episodes), into something positive.

I use temptation-bundling.

To earn the right to watch an episode of Mad Men I have to complete all my daily tasks. Usually, these involve:

·        15 minutes of meditation

·        Minimum of 10 pull-ups

·        Minimum of 10 pages of reading

·        Reading financial news related to the companies I monitor

·        Journaling

The best part of these minimum doses is that they are so small that always seem doable, and also most of the time I end up doing at least double of that minimum dose.

There are many other lessons I’ve learned from watching Mad Men and from the book I’ve just finished reading (Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss), and I will be sharing these in the upcoming posts.

If you want to continue the conversation to keep sharing thoughts and ideas, then: