One of my favorite poems is Billy Collin’s “On Turning Ten,” a sweet little verse on what it feels like to take our first steps out of childhood into something else. It ends with this:
“It seems only yesterday I used to believe there was nothing under my skin but light. If you cut me I would shine. But now if I fall upon the sidewalks of life, I skin my knees. I bleed.”
Fohr turns ten next month, and I have found myself looking back fondly over the blissful naivety of my youth. I was 27 when we started Fohr, and even a decade later, I can remember launch day so clearly: sitting on the floor of the Salt Lake City airport, watching emails roll in from people seeking more information about the thing that just made the jump from inside our heads into the big wide world. I was levitating. At that moment, I, too, felt my veins were filled with light.
Ten years have passed, and I look upon my proverbial skinned knees with deep pride and accomplishment. Every scar a lesson, every scab the earned outcome of trying - really trying - to change the world in some small way.
Fohr is my life’s work, and I feel so blessed to continue it. The key difference between 2013 and now is that instead of sitting alone on the dirty floor of Terminal 1, I’m accompanied by astonishingly good and committed colleagues and supported by clients who trust us, challenge us, and collaborate with us to change the practice of advertising.
I used to interpret the poem as sad—the lament of a loss of optimism or hope, but I see it differently now.
It is said that bravery isn’t an absence of fear but, rather, action in spite of it. I believe true optimism is knowing you can fail and choosing to still go for it; stepping on the field knowing you can lose; running as fast as you can, knowing if you fall, you’ll bleed.
Founder + CEO