Written By: Adam Dince
One of the things I love most about my career is the constant state of learning it provides. Not just code, algorithms, strategies and tactics, but personal biases, paradigms and opinions. In the following paragraphs, I outline some of the things I’ve learned or learned again in 2014.
1. You can learn a lot from the next generation: This year, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know incredible up-and-comers in the ad/marketing world. These folks have reinvigorated my passion for the industry. Watching them pursue their dreams, reach goals and make their mark on the world has been inspiring! They’ve taught me to look at each day with the same enthusiasm I had when I first started out.
2. Hire self-motivated people, not people who need to be motivated: I was fortunate enough to attend, alongside of the Deluxe senior leadership team, the 2014 SCORE Awards in Washington, DC. One of the award winners gave us smart advice, “Don’t hire people that need you to motivate them, hire self-motivated people.” I now look at each candidate that I interview through the lens of self-motivation.
3. Twitter is a place to build real relationships: I’ve been Tweeting for nearly 7 years and for most of that time I’ve been using it incorrectly. Twitter isn’t just a place to share your content and curate others. It’s not just a place to listen, market and grow vanity metrics (e.g., follower count). Twitter is full of real people who are having real-time conversations, building long-lasting relationships. Over the past year, I’ve met some incredible friends and have grown my professional network exponentially.
4. Focus on outcomes, not outputs: I never pass up an opportunity to catch a Wil Reynolds speech. This year at MozCon, Wil delivered an amazing session. One of the themes of his presentation was to focus on business outcomes, not outputs. For example, instead of highlighting the amount of traffic you’ve driven to your Website, talk about how that traffic has helped your business grow leads, sales and revenue. Since Wil’s session, everything I do goes through the “outcome” filter.
5. When the grass looks greener on the other side, water your own: This year, I’ve watched people leave their jobs because they were unhappy with where they were, and take roles at companies they thought would solve their problems. Many of these folks either regret the move or don’t feel like their lives have improved as much as they thought it would. The lesson here is, if you’re unhappy where you are, the problem might be you. Always ask yourself, is there something you can do to improve the situation you’re in.
6. Give back and volunteer in your community: In 2014, I lost my dog, Sam. He was my best friend for many years and when he passed away, my whole world turned upside down. However, Sam’s passing allowed me the opportunity to meet a wonderful group of people from Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue. In addition to adopting two rescue dogs from Coco’s, I’ve spent a good amount of time volunteering at their events. Volunteering with Coco’s has given my life new purpose and the motivation carries over in to my professional life. If you haven’t tried volunteering, I highly recommend it.
7. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine on social media: For much of my professional social life, I’ve focused on building my online personal brand through solely sharing industry related content. In other words, I didn’t let my personality come through. I think I was afraid of saying something that might come back to haunt me or be seen as unprofessional. However, this year I decided that being myself was more important than any professional facade I was attempting to portray. Since letting loose, I’ve had so much more fun, met so many awesome people and have grown my personal brand more than ever before. Don’t be afraid to be yourself on social media.
8. Always pay it forward: For the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor advertising and marketing college students. This year, the importance of paying it forward really hit home. If it weren’t for the people in my life that have mentored me over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am. Mentoring someone is a huge responsibility, but the rewards are incredible.
9. Don’t over-commit to things: If you’re anything like me, you want to help people. Giving back and agreeing to go above and beyond are part of your DNA. This year, I stretched myself too thin and ended up having to back out of a few commitments. The silver lining is that I learned what my limits are and how to budget/schedule my time more efficiently.
10. I haven’t learned enough: When I look at the vast world of advertising and marketing, there’s still so much to learn. I’ve pin pointed areas of growth that I want to focus on in 2015 and look forward to tackling those. What are yours?