A reasonable accomplishment is getting through the day with work and family commitments. After all, trying to keep your head above water is a survival mechanism. Yet over time the physical and psychological wear and tear can be a silent killer. Getting in control and recharging your body and mind will give you greater clarity, perspective and focus.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE WARNING SIGNS
A colleague in the IT Security business often talks about the vulnerabilities of data networks. These systems are under constant attack and over time the sheer volume of alarms force companies to start “turning off” these warning signals. And as humans we easily get desensitized when dealing with adversity. We have conditioned ourselves to muscle through challenges and just keep moving forward. Everything will be OK as long as you make forward progress. Sound familiar? Yet in the midst of those warning signs is a lethal attack.
For me, it most recently included a death in the family, a new job that wasn’t working out, and a once in a decade doctor visit with a routine blood test that produced mostly charts in the red. With a family that includes two very young children, I had to dramatically alter my daily routine.
DESIGN AN ACHIEVABLE PLAN
I progressed my career around placing clients in a better position than when an engagement begins. Consistent, great client work resulted in strong relationships over time. Like many industries, the brand consulting word focused on innovation and transformation. Sounds smart and the right thing to say, but success does not happen unless you have a realistic strategy. It’s amazing how many large audiences forget they are in a professional services business focused on the long game.
In my personal time, I stopped making excuses. The focus and KPIs were clear – shift my blood metrics into the green zone and avoid type 2 diabetes at all costs. I set a target weight of 190 pounds and gave myself 10 months to achieve this result. I eliminated as many carbs and sugars as possible and complimented the dieting with physical activity such as lifting weights and running outdoors. Sounds easy but it requires a lot of discipline and commitment. And it’s not a one and done exercise.
I monitored my progress on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. In six months my waistline has dropped 6 sizes and my body weight is down 15%. My blood sugar levels have normalized and my LDL is working its way down to 80. The journey will be imperfect but you have to carve out the time, set a reasonable plan and actively manage your progress.
PINPOINT THE THING YOUR GOOD AT [AND ENJOY]
Regardless of whether we select or “wind up” in an industry, your likelihood to radically pivot after you turn 30 plummets. You figure out how your chosen industry works and your experience will propel you from one opportunity to the next. The natural progression as a consultant is Analyst, Associate, Senior Associate, several Director roles, and then leadership. I jumped through most of the expected hoops and made the jump to build a B2B business from scratch.
What I didn’t realize in building a new business is that you need investment time and money. You can be smart and have success in CPG, but that may not matter in a difficult B2B market. So while I was post-rationalizing why I didn’t hit an unachievable target, I had the opportunity earlier this year to work on a freelance assignment in Singapore. It had the hallmarks of a personally fulfilling project:
• Complex, sticky project with a large Chinese OEM buying a well-known Japanese brand
• The project hit a speed bump and needed some focus
• The vibrancy of Singapore and a growing market in ASEAN
• A lot of imperfection and solutions on the fly
• A great local team that I enjoyed working with
What I learned after a grueling six weeks in Singapore and Japan is that I enjoy being a practitioner. I didn’t have to build a vertical business from scratch. And a leadership position is not as rewarding as it used to be, but it’s OK to be a problem solver. And in a world craving agility and transformation, I’d rather be a doer. For me life started to make a lot more sense.
STAY FLEXIBLE AND OPEN TO NEW POSSIBILITIES
Technology will forever change the way we work. Yet every revolution has an over-reaction followed by some sense of normalcy. The time is right to leverage what you have learned and apply it into a new context. While the career paths or office spaces we envisioned working in will be very different, the gig economy is a good thing that will help companies and brands create better offerings and experiences.
Whether you’re trying to get in control of your brand, business or personal life, take the opportunity to take a step back and execute a plan of attack:
1. Assess where you are and whether your trajectory is heading in the right direction
2. Health checks, measurement and planning should be part of your routine
3. Be true to yourself, play to your strengths and pursue what you enjoy doing
4. Don’t be afraid to pivot and don’t play to not lose
5. Set realistic goals and focus on outcomes
6. Keep an open mind, listen harder, and accept that imperfection is OK as long as you have a long-term strategy in place
BrandScenario is the result of 200+ client projects and the opportunity to serve clients in a more dynamic and impactful manner. Understanding audiences and building a sustainable strategy is still foundational to fueling growth.
BrandScenario was designed to help integrate brand into your business.