Finding Beauty in Your Business

A view from a late fall's hike through the woods at Swallow Falls State Park.

A view from a late fall's hike through the woods at Swallow Falls State Park.

Long before I became obsessed with the art of advertising, I was a young man who had just graduated from college with a degree in English and Theatre.  Determined to get a job based on my own merits, I began my professional career as an English and Theatre teacher in public high schools.  Heading in this direction as a professional allotted me with several opportunities to explore parts of this country that I had never been to.  One such area was a very small, very mountainous area in Maryland called Garrett County, a place I instantly fell in love with and would later spend two years of my life there pouring my heart and soul into the community.  Little to my knowledge, I had driven by this area, as most do, on my way to and from Washington, D.C., but had never really had a reason to stop, and honestly, from the interstate, you really can't see much of any reason to stop.  So, I didn’t.  

With all this in mind, you can imagine my surprise when I was heading to my interview at the high school, Northern Garrett High School in Accident, Maryland (yes, that's the towns real name...), and my eyes beheld the truly beautiful splendor of this unique piece of America for the first time.  Bounding with gorgeous areas like Swallow Falls State Park, Casselman’s Bridge, a natural rock maze, Deep Creek Lake, Wisp Ski Resort, it reminded me more of a miniature version of the Austrian Alps than a place you would just dismiss. 

Flabbergasted as I was by this treasure, I walked into the high school and up to the front desk of the main office secretary, Mrs. Berry, a kind-hearted women with an air of being extremely busy and extremely efficient.  It was a very rare occasion when Mrs. Berry would stop moving and even rarer when something caught her off her guard.  Mrs. Berry was as honest as she was blunt.  She never had much time for small talk.  However, this was my first meeting with her, and as is customary for first time acquaintances, we made awkward small talk.  As I was muttering about the weather to try to keep her attention, I couldn't help but see the beauty of the farms all around the high school.  It was then that I said something really quite meaningless that, little to my knowledge then, would change my entire opinion on how human beings see the world. 

"You all live in a beautiful area," I said sincerely complimenting the place.  

Suddenly, Mrs. Berry stopped and like a parrot confused by its cage, she cocked her head to the side, staring off into the distance, as if in a confused trance, and then she said something I'll never forget.  

"Really?" she said trying to determine if indeed this place she called home was indeed beautiful or not.  "I wouldn't know. I have never left."

Then back to work she went at the speed of a hummingbird on Red Bull. 

The area surrounding Cassleman's Bridge in Grantsville, Maryland.

The area surrounding Cassleman's Bridge in Grantsville, Maryland.

This story might not seem like it has much to do with business, but in reality, there are many people like Mrs. Berry in the world of business.  These people are ones who have been conducting business the same way for so many years that they could never imagine doing it any other way.  They are the ones who are surrounded by opportunities to make their business more successful than it currently is, but are fearful that changing something up will topple their business faster than a house of cards.  It is like their business is in a theoretical lifeboat drifting upon a vast ocean of opportunity, and instead of them eagerly exploring all their options, they choose to sit still and let the wind decide their next course of action.

One of the great attributes that I have been blessed with and have worked so hard to refine is my sense of observation.  As a former professional stand-up comedian who worked with the likes of Chris Rock and perfected this trade at prestigious comedy clubs such as Stand-Up NY and The Laugh Factory, I had to learn to observe people, places, and things in a wholly unique manner that 100s of other creative minded people hadn’t thought of yet.  The success that I gained in the world of stand-up comedy was due to my ability to do this better than the rest.  These skills translate very well into the world of business.  As I have had to learn to observe each opportunity from all angles possible.  As a former colleague of mine, Steve Radick, Director of Public Relations at BRUNNER, once said about me, “Nathan has demonstrated the ability to step into any situation and quickly identify five different creative ideas that no one else in the room has thought of yet.”  This is the kind of talent and educated thought that is rare in business, and it is something any successful business has on their side.

As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”  That’s why creative professionals are here.  We open all the doors for your company and help you decide which direction is best.  We know that one person can’t do everything and be successful.  It takes a team of people dedicated to the same beliefs, same ideals, and the same vision for any venture to succeed.  That’s why I'm not only dedicated to the businesses I partner with but getting to know and understand how the individuals who own and operate these businesses work.  That way the beauty of a successful business is not only seen by all those you do business with but by the most important person, the one who has never left their business, you.