Do prospects ask you this from time to time, hoping you’ll produce a sample or three out of your history by which they can judge you? Preferably stuff in their category. Preferably something shiny they can say “wow” to, rather than “geez, is that the best you can show?”
In that dance of prospect seeking creative resource, a case history can provide something objective to inspect. A way to kick the tires. (We tend to dismiss samples as the doctor’s old prescriptions, not really relevant to this prospect’s particular needs, but maybe we’re just cranky that way.)
But yes, we get asked.
Our consistent answer to “what’s your best sample?” has been, year after year, “the next one.” That’s not a smartass way of avoiding the issue: it’s heartfelt, aspirational and true. We fervently believe that the creative problem we’re wrestling with today will yield the best solution. Ev-uh.
If I may be so bold, I suggest you should believe it about your own work. Whether you’re a writer, dancer, artist, mom, designer, pastry chef or anything in between, looking back on that amazing thing you did last year or last decade is a surrender to self-congratulation, the enemy of growth. It saps your creative energy, and is as sad as the ex-high-school-quarterback working at the Taco Bell.
Get your eyes off the rearview mirror. You have to commit yourself to continuous improvement, to the challenge of blowing up assumptions, to the shock of the new, to the engagement caused by disruption. Everything we did last year is soooooo last year. Upward!