Agile Marketing #9 – It’s your job to make yourself better

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This is the 9th in a series of posts on Agile Marketing – the working definition of which is to “Create, communicate and deliver unique value to an always-changing consumer (or business) in an always-changing market with an always-changing product.” (see the original post here.) Another tenet of your Agile Marketing strategy should be you – how are you making yourself or your team better, so that you are changing along with the conditions and market around you?

Principle 9: It’s your Job – be good at it.

The best measurement or yardstick of your success is going to be your own assessment of progress against your own goals (so, you should have some goals.) These might not be the traditional goals of money, promotion, things, or success – they might be moments in time that you can identify that will consistently make you happier – and the rest of the world might not know when you achieve them. Living well is your job, so get better at it.

Here are a few ways to measure how you are making yourself better:

  • Identify individual moments of excellence that you can prototype today, solidify tomorrow, and cement through practice and process.
  • If external validation is important to you, observe what sorts of behaviors get external validation, and practice those behaviors
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself – failure is a sign that you are calibrating your goals high enough so that you don’t meet them constantly

Everyone’s had that “a-ha” moment – you might experience it in the doing, when you experience a state of flow or a runner’s high – or realize it afterwards, when you solve a problem that’s important to you. These individual moments of excellence might be big (running a marathon, completing a big deal, or understanding a difficult concept) or small (realization that you can take the afternoon off, eating pie for breakfast, or instantly nailing a problem on the first try.) If you catch yourself doing something right, make sure to recognize that event as a prototype, and think of ways that you can repeat it and solidify that feeling or action.

Give yourself bonus points if you can determine a way to practice that feeling and develop a process around it. Your practice and process might only enable you to set up a condition where the success might occur again (think going to the batting cage to practice your swing so that the next time you see a curve ball in a game you’ll really be able to pull it down the line) or might be the exact copy of your success (remembering to stretch each morning so that your muscles don’t get sore.)

The things that make you better might not be the things the rest of the world cares about or for which it offers external validation. So if it’s important to be recognized by the outside world (where you measure that in money, fame, awareness, or generalized success) go watch successful people and see how they behave (or how they portray their behaviors in the media. There are many ways to learn about successful people online and to examine the things that they write and the way that they interact with their public through social media. Just like professional ballplayers don’t hit a curve ball overnight, many successful people that you meet are the product of years or decades of learned or intended behavior. So the tiny habits they start today are likely to be the trends tomorrow (or months or years from now.)

And, don’t be too hard on yourself. Failing is a sign that you are setting your goals high enough so that the success can be meaningful and not just the result of showing up. Yet, paradoxically, the just showing up is a necessary and not sufficient component for success. It’s your responsibility to make yourself and your team better, and you should be working at that every day.


4 thoughts on “Agile Marketing #9 – It’s your job to make yourself better

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  1. Greg,

    The line that jumped off the screen was in paragraph 1. You and I share a common belief (or is it expectation) that the people around us DO want to get better.

    I’ve been on my bike for the past 6 days, from New Orleans, toward Memphis (get there tomorrow) and I fear that there are morencommunitiesnthan you and I can count who don’t yet share this view.

    I do think things can get better, and…we’ve got a ways to go. Thanks for giving us another way to think about it. (ps: I am looking forward to reading YOUR book!)

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