“Unrush” Me.

Since I was 16 years old, this is the first time I have not worked over the holiday months. In a break between jobs, I decided I was going to use this space to take a good look at my career, what I want to do, where I want to be and how am I going to be a 106better leader. Here are a few of my thoughts.

  1. Be the boss.  I have been working long hours for years. In this time of reflection I realize that my success, stamina, resiliency and attitude are directly correlated to the investment in my own health. My best work has come when I was sleeping enough, working out regularly and eating well. When I let those things slide, it impacts much more than my waist line!
  2. Be present. Our lives get filled up with meetings, projects and to-dos. In the press of it all, we lose connection to this moment. A bleary eyed, worn and stressed professional cannot recognize or enjoy the truly memorable micro-moments of our own lives, let alone that of our teams or customers. Being present takes discipline and practice, but it can help reduce stress, help us connect more meaningfully to one another and can inspire new ways of seeing our business, work and life.
  3. “Unrush” me. We are always pushing for more, newer, faster, better. But, we can’t force innovation and just trying harder doesn’t help. Sometimes we need to be willing to slow down.Whether it’s time off, free space in your calendar, going for a walk or just leaving the project alone for a bit, by “unrushing” we give innovation time to settle in and new ideas to take shape.
  4. Keep learning.  In my busy professional life, I intended to make room for reading, learning, classes or training. I snuck a few opportunities in, but my jam-packed schedule made learning feel self-indulgent and wasteful. I’m reminded how beneficial a few hours a week to read, take an online course or listen to a webinar can be to provide fresh perspective on your work. It’s not selfish, it’s actually very smart and a great way to remain even more effective in your work.

This time of rest and reflection has shown me how I can be a better employee and marketing leader. You don’t have to have weeks off, but maybe over the holidays, you can “unrush” a little and take some time to refresh your mind, spirit and body! Happy Holidays. Cheers to a fabulous and successful 2017!

 

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A Work Related Post – YOU are the Definition of Marketing

20121209-175900.jpgI have worked in the world of marketing and communications for a long time. There are parts of marketing that remain the same, but I have found the role of marketing is completely different, depending on the leadership at the organization. And ultimately, as the marketing director, the definition of marketing is mine to create.

There are those leaders who see the world of marketing as collateral and things. In my experience, these have typically been “old school” minded leaders (not old, many young leaders operate this way too) who focus on numbers, stats and operational measures of success very heavily. Problems are seen as threats, people are appreciated mildly and every issue has someone/something to blame. Leaders seem to get their confidence from being right, in charge and are threatened by initiative that touches their areas. Marketing is a responsive department, a bow-making department that creates pretty flyers and things out of operational plans set by someone up top. These are challenging placements and usually boil down to the marketing team becoming educator and executor at the same time. The opportunity is to teach leaders the value of marketing by sticking your neck out and bringing proposals that meet a business solution. Show them data, provide them reports, market intelligence, dashboards and summaries that spell out the value of marketing. It can work. I’ve seen it. I’ve been part of it.

Working with leaders who get marketing and understand its strategic value to the organization is a dream. These are usually pretty open leaders who understand that collaboration goes a lot farther to achieve goals. And by collaboration, I mean there is no threat, no “my way” or harsh edicts. Problems are not a threat, but deserve examination and consideration. These leaders are hard on process and not on people. They do not get their security from their position, title or accomplishments, but from the overall success of the organization and the greater team. Marketing’s role is integrated, visionary and essential to achieving business goals. Likewise, in these settings, marketing should use their insight into competitive and market pressures, identify needs and trends and be an important part of strategically leading the organization. It works. I’ve seen it. I’ve been part of changing the course of the organization.

As a marketing director, it’s my role to lead, regardless of where I am working. Each day, each campaign, each project is my opportunity to innovate, initiate and challenge the status quo, to move the company forward, to help our team and our leadership be successful. Each day I have an opportunity to make a difference. And ultimately, that is what keeps me coming back to this world I love and that we get to work in.

Don’t tell me I can’t….please.

I sat recently in a session about young philanthropists and the power of Generation Y that changed my life. I know, you’re probably thinking…. “Whoa, now… don’t be so melodramatic!” Seriously, in thirty minutes, Lee Fox of KooDooz shared story after story about children who have raised millions and millions of dollars to help our world, homelessness, disaster relief at such a speed that you felt you were drinking from a firehouse.

At some point, you have to stop the twitter posts and set your notes down and just let the words sink, rattle around and have their impact.

In her summary of the world events that these change-makers grew up within, she mentioned that these under 18year olds are not discouraged by those who tell them they can’t, because they have grown up believing in the power of one and that every single person can change the world. It’s not about fame and recognition, it is just the right thing to do!

At some level you sit there deciding, as a responsible, too-busy-with-life-to-get-involved adult, if you are ashamed, inspired or just have a renewed hope in our own ability to make a difference. More, a renewed hope in mankind. And that’s what marinated all night on my soul and heart and what has led me to this revivalist claim today, “I’ve been changed!”.

I was reminded of my own passions for change that I have sidelined for any number of worthy excuses and was re-energized to push back against those who say, “you can’t”. You see, I realized I have lost my fight, my spunk, the hunger to do better, to help others, to make a difference and I have reduced my existence to a mealy form of complacency. To quote my new heroes and mentors, “ewwww, gross”!

My name is Sally, and my life’s dream is to more like a fifth grader!
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