Why I Want You To Play In The Traffic
It’s the worst advice for children. But powerful counsel if you want to make your career a huge success, today and tomorrow. Do this and thrive. It’s as simple as that.
I caught up with Paul K this week, a hugely talented, inspiring and successful entrepreneur who specialises in leadership work. I’d seen him eight months ago, just after I quit my big job. We’d chatted about my plans. Now I updated him on progress – on all the ‘shoe leather’ I’d been burning to connect and lift profile- and how my Advisory practice was booming.
“It’s no surprise,” Paul commented. “You’re doing something well that so many forget to do at their peril in their careers. You are……”
Staying right in the middle of the traffic.
He was right. I had not realised it. But it all made sense.
In six months I had given several speeches to the communications and advertising industry, had MC’d the biggest annual conference for agency leaders, had volunteered to and trained five separate groups of agency up and comers, had been on the judging panels of two big CMO awards, had written 10 blog posts in which I’d weaved in what my new business offers, put my hand up to be a presenter at Mumbrella’s SAGE session, done several media interviews on industry topics, and so the list goes on. Oh- and I had connected for coffee with 100 senior digital and communications industry leaders.
I was staying front and centre in the rush hour traffic of my industry. Learning, sharpening, evolving, sharing, connecting. I was acting bigger than I am (hard to do given my expanding waistline), and talking myself up.
And powerful, kind people, like CMO Andy, CEO Stephen, Friend Don and Singapore Neil, put their arms around me, pumped my tyres and helped nudge me towards opportunity.
It has worked. No plan really. Just a deep instinct to get out there and be everywhere. And with the help of friends along the way.
It’s hardly surprising then, says Paul K, that a raft of brilliant communications businesses approached me to help them drive growth. No approaches by me. My phone rang. Tring tring. Again. And again.
I’m way ahead of my little plan, and can now put more effort behind building my CEO communications consulting practice, and the inspiring speeches and training sessions I so love giving. And at the same time being deeply engaged with talented, driven, entrepreneurial, ambitious communications agency leaders, all smart enough to know that the right savvy external counsel can help accelerate growth, and generous enough to give me a go at delivering that advice.
Here’s the point. Stay in the middle of the traffic of your business and industry.
It does not happen without effort. You have to show up. Often. To wear out shoe leather. To, as Harold Mitchell told me over breakfast a year ago, “Keep on schlepping around.”
Stay in the traffic. Always.
Are you in the traffic of your industry right now? Really?