Agency Life: Talent vs hard work
by TJ Njozela (@tj_njozela) Working in a creative industry isn’t always sunshine and roses. Not only do you have to be creative on demand, but there are time pressures brought on by tight deadlines. Sometimes, you may find yourself juggling more than one brief. So which of the two — talent or hard work — can help you get further?
Although natural talent is something most people wish they had, hard work ultimately takes your career much further than talent alone can.
Does this mean that natural talent is worthless? Not at all. What it means is that no-one should ever rely on talent alone, because the things that really matter when it comes to growing in your career have less to do with talent, and more to do with how much you’re willing to put in to get the job done. Here are three instances to prove my point.
Ideas don’t make themselves
No matter how ground-breaking an idea is, it takes a lot of hard work to bring it to life. Often, this means putting in the extra hours to make sure that every component and every detail are crafted to be the best they can be. While talent may come up with the idea fairly easily, distinguishing yourself as someone who can be counted on to hit the road running and see things through to the end puts you a step ahead of everybody else. Reliability, consistency, and commitment are all characteristics that may only be seen when you do the hard yards.
It’s easier to collaborate
Teamwork across different departments, from strategy to creative to traffic to production, is how agencies are able to work efficiently and give clients the creative ideas they need to stand out. Having natural talent will make you the go-to person for the particular skill that you’re talented in. Being a hard worker will make you the go-to person for everything else.
Simply by virtue of interacting more with the team, you’ll be able to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships with them. You’ also get a reputation for being dependable because you always go the extra mile to make sure you always deliver.
By constantly interrogating ideas, and looking at things from different perspectives, the work becomes richer and more insightful. By relentlessly working to make ideas better, you come out with unique creative output more often. Taking the time to strengthen ideas also inspires those around you to put in more effort. Hard work is contagious, which leads to an overall boost in the quality of creative.
TJ Njozela (@tj_njozela) is an award-winning senior copywriter at FCB Africa with several years of experience in the advertising industry. More than a writer, he is also a reader, a thinker, and an avid liker of things; and he once walked from Joburg to Cape Town in 30 days to raise funds to buy wheelchairs for people in need. #30Days30Wheelchairs. TJ contributes the regular “Agency Life” column, in which he gives career advice for working within the advertising industry, to MarkLives.