There is always so much to do and learn in marketing, particularly as a communications specialist and especially being focused on social media and digital. I generally dedicate around ten hours (sometimes more) of reading a week to learning and discovering as much as I can about my field to stay up-to-date, informed and inspired as a consultant.
There are so many exciting, interesting, genius things happening in business, particularly marketing, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of case studies, research and social platform changes, but I enjoy continually learning and pushing my creativity and thinking, always evolving my approach to communication in business.
I’d like to think the return on my time investment has been the interesting people I’ve met, work I’ve done and opportunities that have come my way over the last four years as a freelance consultant. So it’s a worthwhile investment for my business and as a specialist.
Although my professional and personal lines are more a dotted map that is often intercepted and re-drawn, I have clear boundaries when it comes to nurturing my professional self versus staying inspired and creative as a whole person.
It is when I venture far outside the things I focus on day-to-day in my business that I truly grow as a person which, in turn, makes me better at my business. This is why I dedicate time to reading widely outside of my job as a marketer. It’s why I love to meet people with whom I share little in common and whose expertise is in areas I don’t often encounter. I try to listen as much as I can about why they love what they do, what makes it interesting for them and a day in their life.
It’s also why I like to try new things, particularly things that command my whole focus. I recently completed my First Aid Course with St John’s Ambulance which, aside from being super useful and interesting, sparked a different part of my brain to work (metaphorically speaking; we didn’t cover neural patterns in the course!). Even being in a classroom setting learning something completely new for two days straight was something I’ve not done for a while. It has inspired me to keep learning far outside of my work speciality.
I can’t say I have a particular hobby that inspires me (although on a recent holiday I discovered the mesmerising experience of binge-tv – how gloriously sloth!) but I do know I am encouraged by things that push me to think and behave in different ways. I like to test myself with new situations.
Often there are times I’ve had ideas sparked by something completely unrelated that has evolved into something of value for my work, for the people around me, or for myself. And so, I will keep exploring the wide world of things I know nothing about…