Confessions of an Inspiration Junkie 7 lasting lessons I learned at advertising’s best training program I’m an Inspiration Junkie. Quotes, anecdotes, articles, biographies, books, art—I can’t get enough. But most of them are mere emotional cotton candy: sweet and airy without providing anything more than a short-term sugar high. Then there’s Omnicom University, a half a hundred bright and passionate Omnicom executives from around the world all gathered at Babson to interact with some of the best professors that the Harvard Business School has to offer. Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend Omnicom University. It opened my eyes—not that everything was profound—but sometimes all you really need is to hear what you already knew and somehow forgot along the way. One recurring theme that sparked a lot of conversation was that you have to make sure to feed and water yourself, both physically and emotionally, because ever since the recession, burnout has only hit harder. So here are seven tidbits of sustenance I learned from Omnicom University: 1. Listen to your flight attendant. In the event that the yellow mask drops down, place it over your own face first. You can’t save someone else if you don’t take care of yourself. 2. Don’t base your life on conversations you haven’t had. Putting off necessary talks only allows your anxieties to take on a life of their own. 3. When you leave ambiguity, people will take things to the negative. It’s like sending a telegraph that says, “Start worrying. Details to follow.” So be direct and choose your words carefully. You may know what you mean, but others may not. 4. It’s true of ads; it’s even more true of people: “People don’t remember what you said; they remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou 5. Surround yourself with original thinkers, because a cover band has never topped the charts. 6. It’s all about the art of possibility. So bringing out the best in people is your charge as a manager and a leader. “Leadership is about getting people to do things that they didn’t think they could do.” – Prof. Tom DeLong 7. Write a handwritten letter to someone who supported and helped you get to where you are. Then read it to them, face-to-face if you can. It will open your eyes as much as it opens theirs. – Wegs, Chief Idea Officer