I am not a track star

I am not a track star

I was having a conversation the other night with a dear friend of mine about the attributes that make a person successful. I made a statement that prompted her to say, “I love that; that sounds like your next blog post.” Now, I’m not as convinced as she was that it’s worthy, but as a show of my faith in her, here goes:

In my experience, I’ve seen two types of people; those that jump over hurdles and those that wait for them to be moved.

This could seem like an over-generalization, but I mean it with sincerity.

In marketing, much of what we do is integrated, whether inter-departmentally or otherwise, and often has many moving parts. This can put marketers in the position of having to politely wait for a bunch of things to align before being able to implement their [fill in the blank].

And, while visionary marketers can see the end state they want to achieve, they’re often faced with a choice between keeping things status quo or “jumping over the hurdles” to progress from where they are today.

Now, let me be clear and explain that I am not advocating you go completely rogue and run through a political minefield like you’re playing hopscotch. You need to use good judgment.

What I AM standing behind is my statement, bolstered by years (more than I care to admit) of seeing my most successful colleagues find ways around, through, or over the hurdles that held others back.

I’m happy to say that I’ve learned from watching them and hurdle-jumping has become part of my professional repertoire. In my day, I’ve been known to blast through a hurdle or two while mockingly singing along with my iTunes “pre-game pump-up mix” (you know you have one of those too…)

Tweet me @MaribethRoss if you’d like a link to the mix, meanwhile here are some things to consider when you’re feeling adversity has gotten the best of you:

  • Face the enemy in the mirror. The best place to start is with yourself. Is there something you’re doing that is impeding progress? Are the barriers real obstacles or perceived limitations? So often we put walls around ourselves as protection, but those same walls hold us back. Have an honest conversation to reset what you’re trying to accomplish and make sure it’s not you holding you back.
  • Consider the risks. Identify the external factors that are holding you back from proceeding. If it will risk your job or is political suicide, you may be prudent to wait, but if you’re simply waiting to be polite and inclusive then forge ahead and find a way to communicate it to others – especially if there is great reward from moving your plan to implementation (see next bullet).
  • Assess the gain. If you want to plow through the hurdle like an outside linebacker through the O line, make sure you understand what you have to gain (revenue, conversions, MQLs, etc.). Being able to quantify the impact of moving forward now instead of later helps lessen the sting with anyone who expected you to wait for them.
  • Shirk perfection. Yes, fellow marketers, you heard me right. As marketers, our vision often includes perfectly integrated error-proofed processes topped with a gleaming look and feel that that we envision in a nirvana state. Our ability to be strategic and detailed at the same time can hold us back. Relieve yourself of that burden! While we all love perfection, it’s not always possible, and it’s not always required. Consider how your project might be more easily implemented if it were not built to the nirvana state, but rather good enough to get the incremental gains you’re seeking (and not be damaging in any way). Is there a “good enough” state that you can live with now that you’ve taken off the Captain Perfection cape?

I am no track star, but I can tell you that I’ve used all of the above tactics to successfully leap hurdles. At a minimum, having those discussions with yourself takes your mind off the barriers and refocuses you on what it is you are trying to achieve in the first place. Not to mention, a little introspection is always a good thing.

I’d love to hear what you think. Have you been faced with a hurdle you needed to overcome? Did you have to change anything to move forward with your plan or project?

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About the author

SVP of Marketing at Monetate, and veteran B2B marketer. On Twitter @MaribethRoss. Read more at www.maribethross.com

View all articles by Maribeth Ross

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