Hindsight is 20/20
Looking back at life - many experience
times of greatness. Magical moments
that for some reason we can't appreciate
at the time. Only in hindsight does one
finally realize how blessed they were to
be part of something special or important.
Frankly I'm not sure why few can see the
trees for the forest while standing within
a glorious glen. Yet I've learned that if
for no other reason not realizing you're
making history as it's happening keeps
one humble. Not that it matters given in
the end everyone forgets everything.
Yesterday my friend and former colleague
"H" sent me a link to a CNN article entitled
"Fashion Ads That Changed The World."
And there within the ranks of images from
the golden days of Calvin Klein, Benneton,
Donna Karan, and Gucci sat a Mother's Day
advertisement from JCPenney. Frankly I was
rather touched that anyone still remembered
said work given the ultimate crash and burn
of our "JCP" repositioning. Yet somebody
acknowledged our work as revolutionary.
In truth we were simply trying to sell some
dresses and maybe... "change the world."
Said seismic shift lasted less than
six months. The length of tenure
of my boss, Mr. Michael Francis.
Formerly from Target, it was his
idea to bring on Ellen Degeneres
as our spokesperson. For all too
brief a time we did amazing work.
Yet sadly, all too soon those who
had once claimed the credit were
offering us up as sacrificial lambs.
Green with envy
It's human nature to take life for granted. I'd
worked for Michael before at Marshall Field
& Company. The task of repositioning said
venerable store from dowdy to dynamic was
challenging at best. However again, during a
brief three year period we did work that won
awards and the reinvigorated hearts of many
Chicagoans. After polishing said proprietary
treasure we were soon sold off like a some
old Buick. Quickly Macy's obliterated one
hundred and fifty four years of tradition. Yet
to this day Fields is gone but NOT forgotten.
And I still treasure each and every moment.
During my career I had the privilege
to work with a plethora of celebrities.
At Fields that included Jennifer Lopez,
Jerry Hall, Patti Labelle, Tracey Ullman,
the B 52's, Bond (that sexy Brit string
quartet), and the Pussycat Dolls (shown
with some fool above). While at Lane
Bryant we strutted our stuff with the
likes of Aretha Franklin, Kiss, Queen
Latifah, and Sex and the City's Mr. Big.
In retrospect all were beyond human -
especially poor Anna Nicole Smith.
Proof that fame is fleeting and cruel.
Here today, gone tomorrow
How could I have been so foolish to not
appreciate what I was given?! The fact is
all of the above was damned hard work.
Unfortunately when you're deep in that
muck, it's hard to see the nuggets of gold
strewn amongst it. Now that the deadlines
are long gone, one can look back into the
past and appreciate the world that once
was. As hindsight is 20/20 the greatest
thing that I remember is the people that
I worked with. Our camaraderie made us
stronger. But it was their collective talent
that taught me that nothing is impossible!
Ultimately one realizes that a combination
of the right people in the right place at the
right time is what actually enables anyone
to create great work. A fully aligned team
can move mountains. And while changing
the face of retail certainly didn't save the
world, it was fun while it lasted. Whatever
you're doing now, make sure that you take
the time to be thankful for the moment. It
might get worse, but often one realizes that
it never was better. While the best is yet to
come, the here and now is usually fabulous.
And someday we'll all be talking about it...