If you're anything like me you are counting down the hours until you get to vacation. Christmas is so close you can almost taste it and the year that is 2017 will be done before we know it. Like every year we can all look back and be proud of our successes and attempt to hide our failures, but each year comes with learning and prepares us for the year to come.
Marketing is an ever evolving industry and profession. I think that's one of the aspects of it that makes it exciting. The creative part of what we do and the nature by which our jobs move keep us looking forward. I think we all get into marketing for just those reasons. I think if you asked any marketers that started in the 90s that our jobs would evolve around the internet, deal with something called social media, and actually get to the point where we can measure effectively some of the stuff we do we would say you are crazy but we are all there. It will be interesting to see how it evolves moving forward, which leads me to today's topic.
The end of every year - or cycle - challenges all of us to look back but also look ahead. Where do we want to be in a year? What do we need to do to grow, get promoted, do something we love or move on to the next thing? Not that you can plan for it all, but having a sense of direction about who you are and who you want to be professional can guide you more specifcally than if you just let things happen. That directed intent make conversations with yourself, the people you care about, and your management team that much easier.
One of the best pieces of career advise I got was thinking of your career as rocks in a pond. You see the rock 2 or 3 rocks over and you have to figure out how to get there. It's too far to jump to them, so what rock do you need to step on to get to them? If you can have the kind of job or career vision and planfully step on the right rocks with the vision to see where you want the next rock to be you will end up with a pretty clear path for your career. I know I can look back now at the rocks I stepped on to get to where I am now and could not be happier.
The only person that is in charge of your career is you. No boss, mentor or peer will have more impact on what you do and who you do it for than you will, and you should embrance that control and be proactive about dealing with it. WIth as much change as happens in marketing if you don't steer into change it will be thrust upon you...and likely in a way where you are negatively impacted. I think the this is especailly true in marketing where learning and development at the corporate level often take a backseat to production and the need to advance and broaden your skills is really dependent on the effort you put in.
Take this time to reflect on what you've learned and gained and what you need to learn and gain in the new year in order to be where you want to be. Like I always say - if you don't know where you're going any road will get you there. Think about those skills and experience you need to be a CMO, VP, director or even just a better marketing. I think you will be able to reflect back at the end of 2018 with some great stories if you end this year with that in mind.
I wish you all a happy holiday season!