When I was asked to think about my own professional development, I went all the way back to the beginning to evaluate my career thus far. It forced me to question the relationship between a marketing communications agency and their clients. And most importantly, the need to seek professional help.
Categorizing myself as a thinker not a doer, I have always had difficulty seeing things through to the finish line. I did fairly well in art school despite never completely finishing a project. My upbringing was a cautious one. It was drilled into me early on to focus on “what ifs” and potential pitfalls. It can be paralyzing. To paraphrase Simon Sinek, some are focused on the FREE bagels, and I was focusing on the long line ups.
Yesterday, I woke up stuck. I didn’t want to go to work because I had come up with an idea that I no longer believed in, because I thought it was impossible to execute. I also had no really good reason for thinking that. And I certainly can’t blame my mother. I was paralyzed by the fear of letting everyone down and for getting everyone excited about an idea that wouldn’t see the light of day.
But then something magical happened, when I collected myself and went to work. I spoke to a vendor regarding the possibility of this idea, and two important things happened. One, they got very excited. And two, they not only offered multiple solutions on how to make it come to life, but ways to make it better.
When I thought about it a little harder, I realized all of the best projects that have ever happened in my career were a result of some colleague, client or vendor saying, “I don’t know if this can be done, but we’re going to figure it out.” Scary shit, but exhilarating.
Our ideas are exponentially better when we surround ourselves with smarter people. People that are driven to make things better. The right combination of thinkers and doers creates the chemistry that can make us great.
So back to my professional development.
I need to surround myself with smart, caring people who love solving business problems with savvy marketing ideas. That’s what FKA is. The marketing landscape is changing right in front of us and there is no map. So oftentimes it’s important to run ahead and fall off the edge.
I want to learn more from everyone. What matters to them, and together how we can collectively make things great.
I realize now that collaboration is more critical than at any other time in my career. We need all of us. Including outside help. Our clients, vendors and partners are critical to all of our success. And as a vendor partner to our clients, we hopefully provide that outside perspective they need to feel better about what they’re doing and where they want to go. Clients will always find a way to be scared. Then we can be the ones who reassure them by saying, “We don’t know if it can be done, but we’ll figure it out.”
I woke up scared again today, but we’ll figure it out.