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Authority Magazine

Beth Noymer Levine of SmartMouth Communications: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company

An Interview With Jerome Knyszewski

You’ll fail more often than you succeed. Failure is so important and so beneficial, but too few people tell you that and if they do, they whisper it. To fail means to try, take a risk, then learn and move on. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying new things, and if you’re not trying new things, then you’re probably not improving or enhancing your value. I sometimes cringe when I think about some of the different initiatives we’ve attempted over the years, particularly the ones that went nowhere. For example, a few years ago, we did a major marketing blitz to offer a new service called “CEO Narratives” — aimed at helping CEO’s reach their audiences and connect with truly authentic, vulnerable messaging and talks. We had a grand total of 0 takers. This one doesn’t make me cringe per se, I still think it’s a good idea, but it failed so we took the hint and moved on.

  1. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. There’s so much emphasis on the metrics of growth, size, scaling and capacity. And while all of those are good things, positive things, maybe that’s not your ultimate goal. I spent a good deal of time, probably too much time and quite a bit of money, chasing the holy grail of bigger, only to realize in the last couple of years that I actually favor quality — of clients and employees — over quantity. As the founder or CEO, that’s a choice you can make, but I would suggest making it consciously and proactively.
  2. Balance is a myth unless your time horizon is long. Admittedly, this is one of my Mom things. When you have kids at home, balance does not and cannot happen on a daily basis. Balance happens over time. It’s really only once you’re an empty-nester that you can even attempt to achieve anything approaching balance on a daily basis. Kids are the masters of unplanned and unforeseen circumstances. There’s no way to plan ahead for one of your kids getting stranded in a snowstorm after school during a packed work day. That’s just one example that jumps to mind. I really wish someone had told me early on not to expect balance. I have more of it now than I’ve ever had, but I’m an empty-nester now.
  3. You’ll fail more often than you succeed. Failure is so important and so beneficial, but too few people tell you that and if they do, they whisper it. To fail means to try, take a risk, then learn and move on. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying new things, and if you’re not trying new things, then you’re probably not improving or enhancing your value. I sometimes cringe when I think about some of the different initiatives we’ve attempted over the years, particularly the ones that went nowhere. For example, a few years ago, we did a major marketing blitz to offer a new service called “CEO Narratives” — aimed at helping CEO’s reach their audiences and connect with truly authentic, vulnerable messaging and talks. We had a grand total of 0 takers. This one doesn’t make me cringe per se, I still think it’s a good idea, but it failed so we took the hint and moved on.