As I get older, I often reflect on previous challenges and the learnings I have made. Below are the top 3 things I wish I had learned earlier in my career.
#1 The need to continue learning and create things
While working as a web designer in an in-house marketing department for a regional bank, I began to feel burned out. I didn’t feel excited about design or learning anything new. Things became too production heavy, and I lost sight of what I was doing. Was it impacting the business or the people using the materials I was creating?
So I began to find people and resources that had wisdom in this area. I came across Zig Ziglar, who used this quote, “You can have everything in life you want if you just give enough other people what they want.” I also read in my Bible the parable of the talents. This parable answered my desire to understand my purpose when it came to my work. My skills, interests, and experiences were not random but things God had given me to use to help others who may not have interests in those same areas.
These teachings sparked my entrepreneurial spirit because they made me seek to hear from the customer and create things.
Since that day, I have been waking up early before my day job and pursuing my creative projects. It has helped me think of ways to use what I know to help others.
#2 Success is striving, not achieving
Earl Nightingale said it best: “Success is defined as the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal.” I often get down when I do not see the results I hoped for, and this quote reminds me to continue striving and being consistent.
This can also apply to marketing campaigns. You start a project with high expectations, you do the work, and then the results are not what you expected. So you feel like you failed.
But in reality, you are successful because you did the research and took action. You tried your best to achieve your goal and gained insight for the next campaign. These small failures push you forward toward continuous improvement.
For the past eight years, I have heard people say I am rare or hard to find because I have skills in different areas like design, development, and SEO. I didn’t hear these comments when I started, but only after creating things and learning new skills on my own time. Also, doing things on the side forced me to figure things out and build my ideas myself without hiring someone or waiting for IT.
It is easy to pigeonhole yourself by saying I can’t do that; “I’m just a designer,” or “I’m just a marketer” in school and companies. This pigeonholing can help you build expertise in one area while limiting you from pushing yourself into new areas of competence and growth.