A lot of people have asked me why I haven’t blogged for a while. I can tell you that I didn’t stop writing; in fact, I’ve written more in the last few months than ever. I’m just not letting you see it! Here’s why.
We’ve worked a long time with a great PR firm called No Limit Agency out of Chicago. It was started by a really good and smart guy that I’ve come to like a lot named Nick Powills. Toppers was one of his first clients and our companies have grown together. Early on Nick told me I should start a blog because he knew I liked writing and because he thought it would be a great way to promote Toppers Pizza to prospective franchisees, team members and customers. I really do love writing, but for a long time I just couldn’t bring myself to get going.
I’d start writing something good about Toppers that might resonate with a reader, and it just felt like bullshit. I hated trying to overly manage my own speech to try to make Toppers sound “just right”. In fact, the reason I like to write is because I like to say what’s real for me, and in a voice that real for me: my voice! I especially like to write to work through an idea or a feeling, particularly one that’s emotional or raw. It is very satisfying to successfully weave together words so that someone else might truly receive that idea or feeling.
So, eventually I broke out and did start this blog. I did it by just writing what I wanted to write about. Sometimes it involves Toppers and paints Toppers in a good light; after all Toppers is a huge part of my life, and I am partial to how we do business. But more often than not, my blog has been about other stuff: relationships, leadership, attitude, canoeing, kids, really anything that I’m thinking about at the time.
Well, our PR firm wasn’t probably overly excited about the non-promoting angle that I took with my blog, but they say it’s all good and encourage me to just be myself on my blog and in my interviews. After all, that’s what I’m going to do anyway. I don’t do interviews and blog the way they teach it, but “it’s authentic” is what they say! Ha.
A few months ago an important stakeholder at Toppers wrote an email to the marketing team at Toppers, and he copied me. In his email he argued that Scott Gittrich’s blog wasn’t good for Toppers! The main problem as he saw it, was that when Scott is just Scott, he sometimes fucking swears. Not a lot mind you, but sometimes.
Anyhow, it pissed me off that he didn’t just call me and that he said that about me, but honestly, it hurt more than made me angry. Dang it! I get challenged all the time about a lot of things, but not about whether I am a good public representative of Toppers! Holy smokes, if I can’t represent Toppers, who can?
I told myself I’d tone it down a little. Maybe I shouldn’t swear in my blog; after all, my mom and kids read it and so do sensitive customers that might not like to buy pizza from a place whose owner says fuck sometimes, even if it is the best fucking pizza place in town. (Some people will eat crappy pizza just to make a point. I know, right!) I told myself I’d write a blog next week. Then I put it off. Then I put it off. And now it’s 8 months later.
Listen, I don’t want to hurt Toppers or anyone whose life depends on Toppers success, which I’m proud and humbled to say is a lot of people these days. But more important is that I’m not going to say or act or be anything that isn’t me. I actually pride myself on being real without caring whether that plays or not. I don’t want to manage myself for the sake of success. I work hard to be a good person that can just let it rip in life and let the chips fall where they may. So I continued to write, but have kept it out of the blogosphere where it can’t hurt anyone.
A few weeks ago I was with a group of close business friends and confidants and the conversation circled around to this issue and my relationship with this person who challenged my blog. They’re good friends and smart, so it didn’t take long for them to call “bullshit” about my bending in the face of a challenge. I immediately knew that they were right.
I suppose the way I’ve been talking and acting and doing business for the last 26 years has pissed a few people off (mostly Dominos and Pizza Hut, I would think), but the way I’ve been talking, acting and doing business has also largely been successful. Toppers is special because we do it our own way. We work hard to be real instead of bowing to the pressure to be someone else. We are successful and happy because we do this thing from the heart. We’re real. I’m real.
So I’m back! I’m not promising that I’ll blog all the time or anything, though I may. What I promise though is that I’m gonna fucking just be myself. Live with it!