things learned from (good) bosses


Everyone you idolize wakes up scared to be themselves sometimes.”




Pete Wentz





This is almost a straight repost of something written by a guy named Kyle Reyes who is the President and Creative Director of a marketing agency I have never heard of … The Silent Partner Marketing.



Before I get to what he wrote … let me say … I almost called this … mentors & those we look up to.


To be clear.


I’m not sure when I reached a point in life where all of a sudden I realized my mentors were human.


That said.

mentors peopleI am fairly sure I have never idolized anyone in my life <not even when I was a kid>. But there surely have been a number of people who I admired.


And that has certainly been true in the business world.


And, no, I am not talking about Steve Jobs or Jack Welch or any of the pop-culture iconic business people.

Frankly … I seem to find those people ‘less than’ when meeting them or seeing them speak. We tend to not only put these people up on some idealistic pedestal but we also tend to look at these people thru a rear view mirror and pick and choose what we want to see & hear thru some fairly absurd rose colored glasses.



I am talking about the real people we have worked with. The ones who saw us happy, sad, in pain, in pleasure, welcome the burden of responsibility and cringe over some error in our ways.


I am talking about the people we looked up as we went through our business careers who in some way defined not only the narrative of our business lives … but our lives in general.


It is inevitable to compare ourselves with people around us. We all did it and do it. even if it is not in a competitive way we still see comparison as a way to determine aspects of our personal values and self-worth.


But as we progress through our careers we more often compare ourselves against our mentors rather than peers.

It is less a competitive comparison and more often a ‘best version of myself’ comparison.


I tend to believe it is a path to self-confidence and superior performance <and Life>.life worth telling




I read somewhere “we live in a relativistic culture.”


We do.


Most of us do not have any firm categories to organize thinking.


Right or wrong seems to often not be as black & white as we wish.

We often find it hard to give a straight yes-or-no answer to tough moral questions.

And when we search for answers we generally find people who offer comfort and words to ease our anxiety.


Mentors typically are the opposite. They are first & foremost about ‘the struggle.’

mentor life aheadThe struggle to be better and do better – in the workplace and in Life.


A mentor is a person you look up to, a person you follow or want to assume some of their characteristics as you grow.

A mentor is a person that makes an imprint on your life.


We all have them <or one>.



They are human.


And as we grow ourselves our mentors remain valued … just more & more human. Their humanness shouldn’t devalue them in any way.





Because the best mentors truly want you to be better than they. If you are fortunate enough to surpass their success that doesn’t mean their value has diminished … in fact … it has increased.

They did their job.



I saw this article and, in general, I have written many of the same things <just not in one article and using many more words>.





What I Learned About Marketing From The Boss I Fired



Lots of people hate their boss.


I never hated him.


I just wanted to strangle him half of the time.


It wasn’t entirely his fault, to be fair. I’d actually blame it on a friend of mine who also had the entrepreneurial mindset.


My friend made the mistake of planting an idea in my head – and that idea changed the game for me.


The idea? You’ll never become a millionaire working for someone else.


I set out to prove my friend wrong. I decided I’d work so hard that I’d become a millionaire while working for someone else.


This is the story of how I ultimately had to fire my boss…and what I learned gg learn-from-everythingfrom him.


Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’ve got these key personality traits: hunger, passion, creativity and the entrepreneurial mindset. That’s all well and good. But sometimes trying to translate these passions into what you’re doing on the job for someone else just doesn’t work.


Most jobs are highly structured. That’s why they’re called jobs. There’s a clear means to an end. Failure is only acceptable in small doses because you’re playing with someone’s money and it’s not yours.


And that is why I finally decided to be my own boss. Because when you are your own boss, it’s ok for failure to be an option. As a matter of fact, the more you fail the better you are. Because it means you keep picking back up and learning lessons and growing stronger. You WANT to fail more than your competition. Because it means you got to keep going.


Now back to what I took when I left my job.


Many people steal office supplies when they quit.


I didn’t steal office supplies (let’s face it – I had been hoarding those for years by this point).


I stole LESSONS from my old boss. Those lessons are the secret to success. And here they are.




1. Read. All of the time. Never stop reading.


I’m not talking about fiction. reading is traveling child

I’m talking about white papers. Educational books. Motivational pieces. Essays. Speeches. Online publications. Tips and tricks written on marketing websites. Be the sponge you were when you were a kid. You’ll quickly subscribe to my belief: “If you’re the smartest guy in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Always be in the right room.

2. Do or do not. There is no try.


That’s right – my old boss would quote Yoda all of the time.


Drove me freaking nuts.


learning yoda_unlearningIt wasn’t until after I left there that I realized what he was drilling us about. Don’t “try” and do something. DO IT. Be all in – 100% – for better or for worse.

Own your failures.

Embrace your successes.

Nobody ever went swimming with just their toes in the water.



3. Track and measure.


There’s no “A” for effort in the real world. There’s no little golden star.


Do smart things. Do dumb things. Take chances.


But you’d damn well be able to explain WHY you are doing them.


When our team gets together – I want to hear the craziest, most outside-the-box ideas. And I want to DO them. But I also want to be able to explain how they are part of the strategy for our clients…and show them the results. Marketing is a moving target in this highly social world.

You won’t always be able to hit it.

But if you miss it, you’d better be able to explain why.




4. Get the right message to the right person at the right time.



Be where your consumer is.

Getting married? Having a baby? Maybe it’s time to start buying houses or cars.


It’s your job to use all of the big data that’s out there to know what’s happening to people when and why … and help them go through that by offering them solutions.

Right message. Right person. Right time.


It’s the key to highly targeted advertising and marketing.




5. Always be ahead of the times.


Remember when we were growing up and we learned all about the Industrial Revolution? I’m a firm believer that in 100 years, people will look back on this age as being a Digital Revolution.


Technology is changing faster than most can adapt.


Opportunities for connecting with consumers are shifting – albeit growing tremendously – in ways that most businesses are rushing to stay on board with.


Our team doesn’t get paid to find out where your consumers were…we get paid to find where they are now. But where we are LOOKING is where your consumers are going to be next year and the year after.


If it’s working yesterday, it’s not working today.


If it’s working today, it won’t work tomorrow.


Always be at tomorrow.

voice of generation future 



6. Take the Disney approach to your staff.


Disney puts their staff first.


My old boss taught me that your company is nothing without your staff – which is sort of counter-intuitive.


Most people think the customer should come first. The man changed my perspective and made me realize that you can’t take care of the customer … if you haven’t taken care of your staff.


A simple little change to the mindset makes a world of difference.




7. Always do the right thing.


Did you screw up? Eat your mistake.


A problem with your product … even when it’s not covered by warranty? Fix it.


What does it cost you to make sure one or two or three customers are extremely satisfied? Probably very little given the opportunity to turn them into brand ambassadors for you.

 right thing the harder thing

Always do the right thing, even if it hurts.




8. Sell value, not price.


Businesses are talking so loud about price that we can’t hear any of them. “Buy one get two free. 50% off. Act now – prices go up next week!”


 If you play the price game, you’ll always lose.


Sell consumers on the value of why to do business with you.


Find your unique selling proposition. Live it. Breathe it. Own it. Be it.




9. Do social just to do good.


The man understood “social networking” about as well as men understand women. But what he DID understand was social give-back.


We used to fight all of the time about this.


Coming from the world of journalism, I would always tell him that he needed to let me secure media exposure for him and publicize all of the good he was doing in the community.


He’d get angry. Like…red faced angry…and tell me he’d fire me if I told anyone about it.




What the HELL?


But here’s the thing.

He believed so strongly and so passionately in doing good because it’s the right thing to do. NOT because he wanted the exposure.


I understood – but also pointed out that the more publicity we could bring to a cause, the more good we’d be doing for that cause.


We will never see eye to eye on this.

So I’m calling him out in this blog. And, of course, I have every intention of sending it to him.




10. Take long naps and long runs.


What I DO know for a fact is that my old boss liked going on long runs. And frankly, there are days that I (almost) enjoyed seeing him limp around in pain from those runs. (Oh come on – don’t tell me you don’t have a twisted sense of karma-based humor like I do.)


What has been long suspected – but never confirmed – is that he would take a nice long nap every day in the middle of the afternoon.




Listen – we’re not even going to get into the fact that the man earned that nap. He’s built up an incredible business and that doesn’t happen by sitting around and drinking wine all day.


But the man was always on his GAME. He could talk circles around the best of us. He could find flaws in the strongest plans. He could anticipate adversity and have a plan for handling it before anyone even knew it was coming.


How did he do it? By recognizing that for your mind to be in great shape, your body has to be as well.


Exercise strengthens and relieves stress. Naps provide rest for your body and mind to heal.


That’s why my business partner and I now get destroyed at the gym on a regular basis by a 7′ tall, 350lbs of steel personal trainer who looks like a black version of Lou Ferrigno. As a matter of fact, my fingers even hurt as I type this. Thanks, Dee Train.


Force your body outside it’s comfort zone and it will grow. Force your mind outside it’s comfort zone and it too will grow.


 Those were my lessons.


My old boss was at my wedding. He shook my hand and congratulated me on the birth of our first child.

He gives me parenting tips – tips that are now welcomed and appreciated. He berates me by email. He continues to be a pain in the butt whenever I see him.

 appreciate the thankful

But today, I don’t want to strangle him.


I want to thank him.


He pushed me – hard.


He helped play a crucial role in the business owner that I became…because he made me realize that mediocrity is never acceptable.


And he reinforced my belief that you’ll never become a millionaire working for someone else.






That’s it.


I liked it. I imagine I could write my own but instead I will summarize all my mentors with one thing – they pushed me – hard.


I would challenge everyone reading this to identify one mentor who just didn’t kick their ass at one time or another.

A great mentor isn’t satisfied until they get the best you.


And maybe that is what a great mentor is … the one who shows you the best version of you … so you know what you are actually capable of.


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Written by Bruce