Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. It’s a power that enables something to be known without any proof or evidence. Steve Jobs even called intuition "more powerful than intellect."
Just a month ago, I started interning at Rokkan, a small-ish digital agency located in the Flatiron district of New York. "Rokkan" is the Japanese word meaning intuition, and each day I am getting more in tune with my gut instincts. I am learning how to make hard decisions, how to be bold in my thinking, and how to best organize new thoughts that enter my mind. As a strategist, you have to possess a unwavering sense of confidence and reckless optimism as you approach any problem, and furthermore, when you share these ideas with others. Below are a few nuggets of advice that I have gathering in the past 30 days.
i. Be useful in any way you can. Maybe someone needs help thinking of posts for a laundry detergent. Maybe you overhear someone hearing how stressed they are about writing a brief. Offer your skills in any way possible. If you consider yourself an "intern," you will be treated as one. So put yourself out there.
ii. Work faster. Much faster. In college, I was never one to write their papers the night before. I needed time to think and process information, to analyze my research and dissect it into pieces. Well, now I almost wish I practiced doing things a bit more last minute. This is reality. You will need to think on your feet, and put together a deck on health insurance by the end of the day. Be ready for a new pace to work at.
iii. Eat the free food. It's there for a reason. Nuff said.
iv. Trust that you know what you're doing (to some extent) Our program really does an amazing job of preparing you for the agency world. I have experience working with clients from AHA and Venture. I gained incredible skills from classes I took at Wieden+Kennedy and Uncorked Studios. And the New York trip allows you to explore the myriad of possibilities that exist if you're a copywriter, a designer, etc. Don't take these opportunities for granted, and use them to your advantage. Of course, I don't think anything can truly prepare you for being thrown into the advertising fire, but all of this really does help. Every time I mention one of these things to my co-workers, they are immediately amazed that we even do things like this.
v. You will make mistakes, but that's part of the whole shabang.
vi. Go to lunch with everyone you can. We've all heard this advice, but it's really true. I have always had a tendency to be a bit more uptight in work environments. I feel a need to be professional. I want to be taken seriously. I think what helped me the most in terms of feeling more comfortable was introducing myself to people outside the walls of the office. Going out to lunch and feeling a bit more like a real person as you chow down on your grub together.
vii. If you don't believe what you're saying, no one will. And to further this one, practice working on hard brands. The ones you know literally nothing about. Whether it's cars or make-up or tax companies, figure out how you approach these foreign concepts. Learn how you dive into something to make it a bit more tangible. As a strategist, I promise you will be doing this a lot.
viii. Work-life balance is actually hard. Especially in New York. Use your time wisely, and do the things that make you feel alive.
I'm sure I have about 20+ more things I could say, but this will do for now. Look out for part 2 soon. Namaste.