Cher Campbell, CCO of John St., shares some of the adversity she has faced personally and professionally over the past year. We really appreciate her openess and candor.
What is one thing you have learned from the past pandemic year that you hope to carry into the future?
I’ve had the craziest year of my life notwithstanding the pandemic. It was a year of distractions. Divorce. Hospitalization. A rare brain condition. A promotion. 2 moves. An electrical fire. 2 very poopy floods. 2 refrigerators died – and I guess they were close with the furnace because it went soon after. And through this, in my humble opinion, I’ve managed to maintain and enjoy the ability to have creative thoughts. Not as creative as in the past, that’s for sure.
But I’ve benefited from being distracted by the events of my life and distraction is the key to creativity. Cognitive fixation is a creative killer, focusing on one thing without respite burdens your brain in unsustainable ways. All the little distractions we used to have, the ones we considered productivity killers and flow interrupters, were what allowed our minds to unclench, to forget the task for a moment, to release the solution. In the future, I’m going to interrupt peoples flow with abandon. I don’t know anything about sports, but I’m going to talk about them on company time. I’m going to wander into meeting rooms uninvited just to see how everyone’s weekend was. I’m going to hang out in the kitchen and play ‘Whatcha got in that Tupperware?’.
What is the very best career advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t write a book.
If you could attribute one other person or life event to your success, who or what would it be and why?
My high school girlfriend, current BFF and auntie to my girls. She was hand painting t-shirts with what used to be called smiley faces, now known as emojis. They said ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ – an ode to Bobby McFerrin’s hit single. Believe me, it was extremely cool. We made a business of it. Art + Commerce at 16. We quit school, we made stuff. It was amazing.