We had the good fortune of connecting with Erik Stafford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erik, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Do what you say you’re going to do, and do it on time. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. The world is full of people who under-deliver and miss deadlines. Even showing up late to meetings can be a red flag for many people. It’s amazing how much business you can win, simply by delivering on your word, on time. This has held true throughout my life, as an entrepreneur, as an agency owner, and now as Creative Director at Aimclear. and is a core value I adhere to.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love marketing. I love helping ethical business owners impact and change the world. For me this always starts with listening to the audience: What are their fears? Their problems? Their secret desires? And how do our client’s solutions line up with these considerations?
Answers to these questions get incorporated into the stories we weave with our campaigns.
Psychology plays a part as well: There’s core emotional desires and triggers, cognitive biases, the science and tactics of persuasion… It’s all fascinating to me.
Any important lessons learned along the way?
As much as I love the work I do, the best advice I could share is to be ultra aware of when you need to take time off to reset and recharge.
As an example: I took a couple days off work wrapped around last weekend to do a little self care.
Here’s how I’ve spent that time:
I hung out with my daughter. Bought a couple books, and have been reading in the pool and in the evenings.
Been playing Luigi’s Mansion on the Nintendo Switch and watching Champions League soccer games!
I spent some time in the kitchen, which always makes me happy. Did all the shopping, then smoked some brisket, made Bahn-Mi sandwiches, and prepped some salads for next week.
Took a couple glorious afternoon naps 🙂
I felt happy, centered, confident and was itching to get back to work.
You simply must take time off work to reset and recharge.
For years I refused to do it.
I was so focused on work that I literally had forgotten that I also like to cook, read, ride my bike, and play video games.
And of course, that singular focus bled over into other areas of my life.
I was always stressed out. I always felt tired. I was always eating out. And quite honestly?
All it took to change everything was:
1. A commitment to checking-in with myself more often.
2. A commitment to listening and being more aware.
3. When I need it, a commitment to spending a little more time just being ERIK.
This isn’t about work.
I love my work, my fellow Aimclearians and my clients. It’s more about just not being singularly obsessive 100% of the time.
I love pizza too, but we all know what happens when you think about it constantly and eat it for every meal!
This is more about balance.
When you’re present and you listen to what your mind and body tells you, you’ll know exactly when you need to spend some time on something besides work, or pizza.
It’s clear as a city of bells, like knowing when you’re thirsty.
You just have to listen.
And even better? When you DO go back to work, you’re going to be ready to take on the world again.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Welcome to South Florida! This is not the east coast, with beachfront condos and packed freeways… This is Southwest Florida, where the pace is slower, even during tourist season… And it positively crawls during the summer.
So what should we do today? Well, for starters… It’s probably gonna be hot. So bring that sunscreen and also some bug spray. This area was pure swamp for a thousand years, and still is in many ways.
We start the day with a proper Cuban breakfast, Guava pastries and strong café con leche (Cuban coffee) to drink on our way to the beach. We can drive to Sanibel or Fort Myers beach, or take a cruise out to one of the barrier islands like Cayo Costa, which is only accessible by boat. We can fish, walk the beach and collect shells, and just sit on the empty sand and drink rum and catch some sun, which is my preference.
For lunch, we stop at Cabbage Key, which is an “old Florida” island where Jimmy Buffet is reported to have written the famed song “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Again: Accessible only by boat. And yes, they have Cheeseburgers… And yes, they’re delicious. We head back to my house for afternoon drinks and a swim in my pool, and maybe throw a hunk of meat on the smoker. As always, the sunset is amazing!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Ever heard the saying, “Behind every good man is a better woman”? In my case, there are two of them. I wouldn’t be where I am without unwavering love and support from my wife Wendy. We’ve been married for 22 years now, and trust me… Being married to an entrepreneur and visionary-type like myself isn’t always the easiest.
Wendy is thoughtful and pragmatic, and helps take my wild ideas and outrageous goals and add structure to them, so we can approach them tactically. She also has the world’s best laugh
I would also mention my mother, rest her soul. My mother Carol was an entrepreneur and hustler and she raised my brother and I. She worked as an apartment complex manager, a Tupperware saleswoman, a secret shopper, and a dozen other things to put food on the table.
And most of all, she always encouraged me to chase my dreams and explore my creativity.