I was recently out finding some space of my own. This time not out running, or on a meditative quest from ten-minute doses of “serenity now”. This time it was some real space. Bucket list type space. 5,742 miles away from here space. What I found was extraordinary.

No tipping, no trash, no crime. A level of orderly respect for yourself and those around you that seemed otherworldly. Surrounded by beauty, innovation and history. All these traits in the outlying rural areas and congruent with its urban center, the most densely populated in the world. All of this occurring with some of the worst devastation and tragedy this earth has ever seen in its rear view mirror, some of which very recent.

Seems utopian. Yet it exists.

Hearing someone talk about their vacation can be like watching another’s home videos. Yet I’ve found myself droning on and on trying to explain my experience when it was truly indescribable. So what does one come away with after an experience like this? This is not what I expected to find. I actually had no expectations at all, but rather a premonition that I was about to experience something enlightening.

After any vacation, it’s hard to imagine such an experience harkening back to your occupation. Yet, this is a common thread that kept resonating with me. On the surface, seeing the throngs of people heading to work, it was hard to not think of an ant colony. Nearly all dressed the same (black is the new black), the manner in which they did was astounding. Lining up to get on the subway without any pre-directed means to do so. To a fault, standing to the left side of the escalator as to let those in a hurry pass (they drive on the left, so pass on the right). You rarely saw someone talking on their cell phone in public, rather stepping aside and discretely taking calls with one hand over their mouth as if telling a secret. Blowing your nose in public is a no-no as well. Everything was so organized, systematic and CONSIDERATE .

I have always tried to use time off as a means to not only rejuvenate mind, body and spirit but also as a way to lend clarity to goals and aspirations. Prior to departure, The MyersRoberts Collective, now commonly known as “TMRC”, was at a tipping point. Well into our ninth year of business, what’s become a predictable “three-year itch” to grow was right on time. Growth without organization only creates chaos. Over the years, we have taken pride in our abilities to design systems that allow us to produce results beyond our capacity. Looking back on the methodical work migrations I witnessed pouring in and out of the subways, it accentuated the importance of organization, consistency and routine as we push forward.

We have been very fortunate. Literally, every client has come to us by way of referral or word of mouth. As a marketing company (the word marketing makes my skin crawl), we have never marketed ourselves. Marketing a marketing company is a tricky endeavor. There is so much disingenuous noise out there. You see it, hear it, taste it nearly every minute of every day. Visceral waste. It’s funny, there are few things I detest more than being marketed to! Yet, here we are hoping to speak to an invisible audience that’s been trampled, ripped off and confused in an effort to convince them that we aren’t your typical “marketing/advertising agency”.

So how do you do this? Nevermind all the norms: market research, competitive analysis, brand exercises, SWOT analysis, strategy development, etc. The following questions must be asked: Who are we? What do we want to do? Why are we doing this? I found myself asking these questions, not immediately realizing these were the very first words, and some of the only words, written on our original website. Over the years, “Our Philosophy” hasn’t changed one word and the answer remains clear.

We are who we are. We are the same as we always have been. I believe we have a level of respect and commitment to the work we do that is not common in our industry. Sure, some of our processes and methodologies will evolve with an ever changing landscape. Some new faces will come on the scene bringing new talents, points of view and personalities.

What do we do? We succeed, and will continue to do so, but only as it is relative to the growth and success realized by the clients and companies that share a vision with. We are good people and will strive to do great work for other good people. It’s all about doing the right thing and doing things right.

Why are we doing this? Simple, we like it. We enjoy seeing results. Our professional world is rapidly changing. At the core, I’m an entrepreneur just like most of our clients. It’s exciting. Being accountable to yourself is the greatest motivation there is. As we immerse ourselves in our client’s businesses, we feel this same level of accountability and excitement. We take an immeasurable amount of pride, respect and thoughtfulness in our collective efforts. Each and every decision affects our lives, and bottom lines, as much as it does our clients. It makes us happy to see our clients succeed.

Say what you want about the negatives of Japan. The people are overworked, it’s crowded, it can seem sterile at times … My overall impression is that in most cases, the Japanese have IT figured out. There is a way of doing things RIGHT. Take pride in who you are, have respect for yourself and keep the same level of respect for those around you, your surroundings and your occupation. TMRC is going to keep doing things right. It’s worked so far. Why change?