For the past month we’ve been obsessing—focusing on our passions and commitments for 2019 and thinking about how to put them to work for the greater good. Last week, you heard from Andrew about his obsession with fantasy baseball and how it relates to great design. We asked the rest of the PB team to think about where they’ll fix their attention in the coming year. Rather than make resolutions, what will we each be devoted to in a way that drives our work?

Here’s what the team had to say:

Ann: Do, Expect, Feel Better

I don’t believe in resolutions. But I do believe in promises. That’s why I decided to enter this year with a single intention: Better. It’s such a simple word but one that embodies a promise I want to hold myself to. A promise to do better, expect better, feel better. To simply show up better. For my work life, it can go in exciting directions. Asking better questions, striving for better solutions, being a better collaborator. Not Marie-Kondo-perfect, mind you. Just better. Whatever that means in the moment. Because isn’t it so much easier to keep promises when perfection is off the table?

Annett: Becoming

Michelle Obama’s idea of “becoming” is an idea I’ve glommed on to recently. I’ve noticed that I’ve dialed into messages, teachings and stories that illustrate that we’re most content when we seek to become the best version of ourselves. Aside from the applications toward self-exploration (as well as raising children), I find the process of consciously tapping into what your journey is meant to be is quite similar to how we guide our clients through brand strategy.

Audrey: Simplicity, Brevity, Clarity

Simplicity. Brevity. Clarity—in my interactions with people, speaking, presenting and writing.

It involves timing, discernment, wisdom and strategy.

And knowing when not saying something can be more powerful.

It takes practice.


Understanding who I’m talking to.

And respecting people’s time—all while making people feel listened to and heard.

That’s my obsession for 2019.

Ciara: Insight

Always hidden from view, but often not far from us. Insight is truly a priceless asset containing the potential to fuel creative, invent products, refine systems, and even create peace. It invites us to get off the paved road, exploring and becoming fully immersed with a question or idea. This year, I’m obsessed with finding insights, and along the way, honing my own ability to see what’s concealed.

Cody: Simplify

Simplify. The “stuff” piles up and leaves my brain in a delusional spiral that distracts from being in the present. I’m obsessed with simplifying, creating space and freeing my mind—to wander and to be inspired.

Harry: Keep Learning and Getting Better

My obsession this year, as it has been off and on in the past, is to become a better musician and bass player. I’ve become more obsessed with this as of late in part due to my age and the knowledge that comes with it, and in part as a result of the opportunities I’ve had to play with my son lately. When I was young I thought I was the shit. Truth is, in reality, I didn’t know shit. There is freedom in thinking that the world is so small though, and that’s what being young and inquisitive and adventurous is all about. As I’ve gotten older and experienced so much more and learned so much more it’s become apparent how vast the world is and how little I still truly know. The more you learn the more you realize how much more is still out there. The amazing thing is I am still learning and getting better and that is rewarding.

Karl: Build

I guess building my schooner would be my obsession. It took three years to build the shop, and now I’m in the 9th year of the boat build. Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I take a break and build something that can be finished in a few days. Then I’m ready to roll again. Another 10 years to go.

Kevin: Nuance

One of the beautiful things about the human brain is our capacity for complex thinking. We’re equipped with the ability to comprehend multiple facets of just about anything. We have what it takes to see shades of meaning, to comfortably move through ambiguity on our way to understanding, enlightenment and a clear perspective. Despite it all, I’ve spent the past couple of years rattled by how black and white our thinking has become. It seems like our ability to hold two (or more) opposing thoughts in mind at the same time has eroded in favor of the compulsion to immediately take a side, state a point of view and voice an opinion about absolutely everything. This year, my obsession will be to live comfortably in the gray. To celebrate nuance. And to be deliberative in my thinking—all with an eye toward a point of view that reflects the complexity of the real world and that favors accuracy and clarity over the oversimplification of our opinion-driven culture.

Leslie: Leadership

Two “obsessions” come to mind. One is focusing on being grateful and remaining positive.

The other is enabling, fostering, mentoring and supporting leadership skills and growth within the team. I probably have more energy around this as it’s critical to OTHER people here (rather than just to myself).

This will provide learning opportunities for me as well as the team. I will be learning how to “let go” so others here can find their own way, realizing people WILL and should do things differently and may fail on occasion or come to different conclusions. And that can be a good thing—if uncomfortable for me at times. I am looking for synchronicity in values and leadership style so that what has worked well for us over the past 37 years will always remain: a steadfast commitment and belief in the power of creative excellence and for a small group of people to make a difference in the world by doing the right thing, fostering goodwill and kindness. And perhaps most of all to hold dear the value and needs of the group over individual needs. I guess I’m a bit of a social communist at heart.

Michelle: Intention

I’m starting 2019 off with a focus on mindfulness and intentionality around time. The idea is that I want to make sure I’m spending my free time in ways that bring me joy, fulfill me, help me grow and develop as a person and challenge me to be better. This means I’ve set some goals for myself around reading, scrolling, watching, connecting and doing. I hope that through this obsession, I’m able to push myself in ways I feel like I otherwise wouldn’t.

Sarina: FLOW a path to happiness and achievement

Our daily lives are full of distractions. There is a constant need to multi-task and move through life quickly. These factors can create barriers to reaching our goals. With these challenges I’ve been seeking moments where I can immerse myself in one activity. Moments where I can focus to the extent that time seems to stand still. It’s the flow state that I seek. It’s where I find myself the most productive and enjoying the process. It’s where I’m testing the edge, challenging myself and solving problems. It’s been proven that flow naturally creates a sense of happiness and achievement, which then results in increased performance. It’s a method that I’m obsessing to incorporate in my personal and professional life, for my own happiness, growth and success.