All marketers, or entrepreneurs for that matter, obtain unique experiences and perspectives that drive them forward in their careers. Some focus on performance, others leadership, others networking, or an infinite combination of strategies to better themselves in the workplace and set up for the success of future initiatives.
In the interest of camaraderie, sharing among a common profession, or just the belief that learning together will make us all better, I’ve put together my top 15 list of actions to take to become successful. Many of these ideas have come from personal experiences, work colleagues ideas, mentors’ advice, and distinguished authors. Hopefully you will find value in some of them and adopt them into your own career.
- Embrace life-long learning. Read.
- Do the grunt-work for long enough and well enough that you can teach it to others. By understanding it at ground-level, you’ll be able to lead them to where you want them to go.
- Develop mentors or at least a circle of people advocating for you and giving you advice. Consult them on all major decisions and develop a relationship that encourages them to challenge your decisions. Read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi for his ideas on networking.
- Never let your own lack of planning/execution turn into another person’s “fire drill”.
- Be aware of your communication style, your body language, and how you’re presenting yourself. Use the power of 3 (organize your ideas into 3 points at a time) to communicate your message effectively when speaking or presenting.
- Spend 70% of your time on tasks/projects that are important but haven’t been assigned to you yet. Read the The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss on ideas on personal automation and productivity.
- Become a generalist. Don’t be afraid to be dangerous on a wide variety of topics. The world needs people who piece things together at a high level.
- Never look back and wonder “what if?”
- Never ask a question you can’t answer yourself with a bit of a research or trial and error.
- Learn to tell stories of both successes and failures. Read Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath for how to organize your ideas in a simple framework.
- Keep focused on the best you can possibly do, recognize when opportunities arise, and have the courage to take chances. Maximize positive opportunities and minimize random events (Black Swans) by reading The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
- Demonstrate your passion outside of your work and school time.
- Lead by asking questions. Get others to arrive at the destination instead of forcing them to agree with you. Your ideas will be much better received if the group comes up with it together.
- Invest your time, energy, and resources into the things that matter most in your life first, and then to others that show results. Read Clayton M. Christensen’s Harvard Business Review article “How Will You Measure Your Life?”
- Challenge the status quo and always go back to “Why are we doing it this way?”
Bonus tip: Turn yourself into a thought leader in your field. You don’t have to become the expert know-it-all, you just need to be part of the conversation. Emulating the successful in marketing today, I created a blog PuzzleMarketer.com and have used it as a platform to launch my ideas and experience. I also use it as a medium to give back, to say thank you to those who’ve made a difference in my life, and to meet more outstanding people in the future. I encourage every young professional to start writing; sharing thoughts and giving 10x more than you expect to receive.