Laying Down On a Sword

Creative people are passionate people. It’s just part of their DNA. Now, they all get passionate about different things, but there are a select few who are passionate about protecting the integrity of a good idea. Mike Goot, Brains on Fire’s founder, was once such person. He would fiercely defend an idea and he often used a phrase that is now ingrained in the Brains on Fire culture: “I’ll lay down on a sword for that one.”

What a great set of words. And it begs the question, what would you lay down on a sword for when it comes to your job? Is is maintaining the integrity of that community you poured blood, sweat and tears into building? Is it not lying to your customers no matter what? Is it doing something that you know is so “off brand” – even if you’re the only one that thinks so – that it will be a detriment to your company? Where do you draw the line? When do you say “not in a million years?”

Advertising and marketing is such a distrusted industry. And for good reason. There are plenty of crooks out there who would sell their own grandmother if it made them more popular, wealthy and talked about. I have no idea where I’m going with this, but I think we make little decisions every day about what we will stand up for and what we will let slide. But when we put stakes in the ground, we stand for something. And we’ve talked about that before – that standing for something. But when you stand FOR something, you also stand AGAINST something.

So what would you lay down on a sword for?

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