As I stated in a previous post, I keep myself busy with extra projects and collaborations.
We’re going to get a little personal and chat about one of my latest opportunities for enrichment.
About a month ago, I got an email from my favorite college professor asking if I had some time to weigh in on a few things for a community of marketers that he is building.
I was completely flabbergasted.
What? Me? How could I possibly be useful to him?
I was asking the wrong question. I should have been asking: How can I serve him?
Back to school. I had never been in a class where a professor illustrated their (ever illusive) creative process for us. This was one of the first unconventional things I noticed about Chris Stadler. Not only did he show us where his ideas began, but also illustrated the endless limits of every possible avenue.
In his classes, Chris asked the hard questions. He encouraged us to embrace our creative process and take a deeper look at the reasons behind things, instead of merely scratching the surface. I am philosophical by nature, and always try to find greater meaning in things. It was his unconventionally philosophical approach to marketing that captured my attention and gained my investment as a student.
We meet again, my friend. The most memorable part of my graduation was not walking across that stage. It was Chris coming out of the professor’s area to congratulate me. (Go figure, I told you he was my favorite). Without his investment in me, I cannot say that I would have gotten this far. Chris is also the inspiration behind the various notes and creative maps that fill my notebooks. I value people that challenge and inspire me, Chris is no exception. Now, fast-forward to a few weeks ago, it was my turn to invest.
Innovation requires investment. If you want the best and brightest ideas, you need to invest in one another. Marketers are taught to function in a collaborative work environment. We feel a strong sense of loyalty to our team and celebrate victories as one unit. When Chris approached me with his idea of building a community of marketers, it was an obvious choice. Count me in! I was up to assist in any way that I can.
Investing in people is a process. It isn’t a simple one-time transaction. Investment demands time and consistent effort. You have to believe in the person as well as the cause. I’m very transparent in this, I choose my investments and people very carefully. Each time, making sure that I’m not over-committing myself and that I will be able to provide enough support in my current circumstance (whatever that may be).
Serve one another. This is a concept Chris recently touched on in his newsletter Word & Deed. Marketing should not be purely transactional. As marketers we need to strive to build better relationships with our clients and ultimately our customer base. This is done by taking the perspective of a servant, and doing so with truth and love. The same is true of investing in one another. As I stated earlier, I should have been asking how could I serve Chris instead of being merely useful. The attitude of service is key to investing in people. It is about the person you are investing in, not what you are getting out of it.
If we are to build better brands and marketing strategies, we need to invest in people.
Be intentional. Being intentional in your investments is key as well. I will never recommend something I do not fully stand behind. If you do things with truth and love behind them (as Chris mentions in Word & Deed), your intentions are clear. You will cultivate stronger relationships and encourage loyalty.
Here’s the that “truth” we were talking about: The more time I invest in Chris and his cause, the more I believe in it. In taking on the attitude of service, I’ve found that I can be more than merely useful. I am not simply donating my time, I am also learning some things about myself in the process and strengthening my convictions on collaboration. Chris continues to challenge me to expand my mind, examining other possibilities, even when I agree with his initial points. This process continues to remind me that no argument is perfect, and the best lessons are backed by facts and experience.
Go find something that interests you and invest in the people behind it.
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