How do marketers and communicators keep up?

It’s an unsaid fact that those in our field are either natural born movers and shakers or highly trained Type A personality types with a gifted eye for the big picture and a sharp nose for emerging trends.

But a few folks have recently asked me: how ever do you keep up?

Now I doubt I’d be divulging any major trade secrets here, but below are food for thought for those who really don’t get ‘how some of us do it’ or newbies who could use the tip.

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Cultivating the Creative
We are creative types. Yes we are. We’ve always been creative in the way we think, act or choose to define ourselves (i.e., what some now call ‘personal branding’).

Whether you practice an artistic craft or are a bonafide appreciator or critic of an art form, you will always have the propensity for and be drawn into something that the general public will view as creative.

But being successfully (or productively) creative is not as obvious as it may appear. A creative predisposition comes with fair knowledge of history and science, since most universal art forms emerge and are thus recognized from a confluence of these seemingly unrelated disciplines.

So marketers do in fact make time to hone in their creativity either by consistently practicing an art form or being part of it as an observer, supporter or commentator. Cultivating the creative is not just a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have, must-do, which has in effect become second nature to most of us.

Diversifying Interests
Financially, a diversified portfolio is considered a sound approach to investment. Biologically, diversified gene pools tend to produce the most disease-resistant offspring across almost all species of animal and plant life.

The very same principle of diversification applies to marketers and communicators who tend to produce the strongest ideas and most innovative solutions. Their minds are not tunneled into one direction or focused into a singular interest.  Some have their hands in almost anything and everything that moves or twitches.

This urge to be hyper aware and involved in multiple forms of activities is what ‘keeps us on our toes’. It’s preprogammed in how we respond to the barrage of stimuli that comes our way on a day-to-day basis.

The more we know about and get involved in different pursuits and interests, the easier it is for us to connect the dots. In essence, this is what big picture thinking is all about.  Or rather, Big Picture 2.0. We’re not conspiracy theorists. We’re simply able to see (and sense) the underlying importance of our implicitly interconnected world.

Defying the Comfort Zone
Not much there to it, right? Comes with the territory, you say.

Well you’d be surprised how many of us actually have to push ourselves, to convince ourselves that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Unreal, right? All this creativity and diversification and yet some of us can be quite constipated at just the mere thought of stepping outside the boundaries of what’s cozy and familiar.

But we do it nonetheless. Because we know it’s part of what makes us better at what we do.

What spooks us is not the unknown itself as much as the thought of failing in understanding or mastering the unknown. And if we don’t actually have the gumption to do it on our own, we’ll ask someone we trust to push us.

Defying our respective comfort zones sharpens our agility and enables us to always remain calm and collected whenever faced with unforeseen SNAFU’s that would normally make others wilt from pressure and stress.

Monitoring Technology
We get tech. We always have and always will.

Today’s modern marketing and communications professional belongs to one of two camps: 1) those who are a product of the current technological revolution that’s shamelessly influencing how we connect virtually, consume instantaneously and cord-cut outdated modes of connection willingly, or 2) those who’ve proactively adjusted themselves to stay in synch of this sweeping revolution.

Either way, we know that we can never underestimate how technology shapes our lives. Consequently, we are among the few outside the field of tech itself who stay right on top of its movements.

So these are some of the things that have allowed me to “keep up”. How do YOU keep up? Do share.

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