When people say they feel like they’re banging their head against the wall, the typical response is to advise them: “stop doing that.”
I’ve learned to ask WHY they’ve chosen to keep banging their head on that particular wall. It’s not that I think they believe it feels good — but I do think they believe in what lies on the other side of the wall.
So the big question is — do you think it’s ever worth banging your head against the wall if you feel it’s worth a self-inflected migraine (and the risk of very permanent brain damage!) to break through to the other side.
I know I’m mixing my metaphoric playlists here (Quiet Riot vs. The Doors), but I’m facing such a decision right now. I chose to leave a gig in traditional media because I felt like I was wearing my forehead thin banging it against a wall of people in power who saw no reason to change the way they do business and their company’s relationship with new media. I had ideas and strategies for integrating new media with traditional media to deliver better better results for our clients and increasing profits for the company. I was fortunate enough to have some successes within the company, but I came to realize I wasn’t breaking through that wall fast enough to make the changes I wanted at the top of the food chain.
So I left.
I went to work for a company whose philosophies that were aligned with my own. In fact, they’d started a consulting business designed to help many more traditional media companies do the exact same sort of thing I was doing (attempting to do!) within a single media company. Coincidentally, several years into their consulting business they also gave up on banging their heads against a collective wall of media companies who were more interested in burying their heads in the sand of denial, while my friends used their heads to try and bust through the brickwall of reality.
Now it’s a year later and I have some spaces opening up on my consulting calendar, and all I can think of is that damn wall again.
I even contacted a media manager with whom I’d had past conversations about working together and asked if they wanted to revisit the idea. I was told flat out that they’d love to, but nothing had changed since our last conversation on the subject three years ago. They didn’t want to waste my time. But I’m rolling through all sorts of variations and creative spins on the consulting concept to see if I can find a crack in the wall, or assure them that I’d wear proper cranial protection as I beat my head against the wall they are telling me is not only as tall and thick as it was three years ago, but has been built upon and constantly reinforced with even more stone and mortar.
I believe in what’s on the other side of the wall.
And I do it without apology.
Pity not the headbanger, be envious instead of their faith in the possibility of what lies on the other side.