Giving things up can be challenging. This is the time of year when you may have decided to give up something that is near and dear to you for a period of 40 days. Perhaps it’s sweets, television or if you’re really hardcore, social media.

During my marketing communications/advertising years, I recall an initial strategy meeting. It was the beginning of a new business pitch for a coveted blue-chip client. A large group had been assembled so name cards were in order. On the back of our name cards appeared these words: Strategy is Sacrifice.

I had no idea what that meant.

7218257The strategic planner leading the meeting explained the statement. The meeting would produce lots of good ideas – out-of-this-world brilliant ideas. He went on to say the most brilliant thing we could do was to make sacrifices during the process. To be willing to walk away from ideas we were in love with in order to make two or three ideas so emotionally and strategically compelling that the client would select our team.

In retrospect I had learned about the Strategy is Sacrifice concept from my beloved high school English teacher, Mrs. Elling.

She encouraged students to not reflect every resource discovered when writing research papers. Rather only reflect the most salient. “I’ll know you conducted extensive research by the limited number of resources you cite.”

This was a tough concept at 17. How could less be more? While I really wanted to please Mrs. Elling, I also wanted her to know how thorough I had been. The hours I had spent at the high school library, the local library and the university library. I had hundreds of 3 x 5 note cards all worthy of inclusion.

In the end I followed Mrs. Elling’s advice. The paper was returned with her handwritten notes and observations noting this was a well researched paper.

Strategy is sacrifice. Getting super focused to make your idea, your project, your work so brilliant, it takes on an energy and passion of its own. Coming to life in a way that instills confidence and knowledge. Creating the connection that wins the new business pitch and earns the A+.

When it comes to ideas and projects, sacrifice is the winning strategy for all the days of the year.