I recently spoke to a group of woman leaders about marketing yourself. To do that, I had to start with my own marketing journey. I was introduced to this group of successful women with a lovely recap of where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished and it was so kind. But I had to come clean to these ladies.
My success came with many failed attempts and they were tough, humbling and worth it! I’ve failed and I’m willing to own it!
The Value of ROI
I started my marketing career working for a national marketing company and quickly learned how to use content to shift behaviors and motivate people. But that job also ingrained in me the importance of being able to measure every tactic we recommend to our customers. It was invaluable training and the first step along the road that was about to hit a major blockade.
During that time my husband and I decided to expand our little family. At our six-month check up we discovered that we were about to have twins. The decision was made to pause my career and raise my twin baby boys full time. And while I was uncertain of my future, God had a plan that unfolded beautifully in His time!
When a friend from the local newspaper called me and asked if I would help them launch a new publication, I welcomed the opportunity to get my arms back in the game. I balanced interviews and content curation of articles and event my own column at a wicked-fast pace during the window of time that our twins’ napped. It was challenging but I am so grateful for the experience; it refined my skills in project management and writing. So, when my column was canceled after a few years, I was crushed. It left me questioning my path.
Serving up Humble Pie
The door closing on my column opened up another with a major magazine publishing company and I jumped at the chance to tackle new projects, editorship, and integrated marketing. Still working in between nap schedules, the projects were fast-paced but exciting. I was assigned the cover story for an anchor publication. It was a complex story and to be honest, I may have “leaned in” more than I should have in taking on the project. After submitting the draft with trepidation, my editor called. She was surprised I submitted it; she expected more from me. Ouch!
But she was right, I was great at writing fast and succinctly, but I missed out on the expansive details magazine features demand. What’s worse, the final product was a shared byline with another writer who worked to clean up my feature.
The experience taught me painful humility. It forced me to pause, polish and perfect my writing, an approach that paid off.
I’m proud to say that I went on to win national awards as both an editor and writer and develop great magazines and marketing campaigns for clients, but today I look back at those little scars because they are a reminder of the lessons I learned in failure. Those humbling experiences are meant to prune off our weak parts so that stronger branches can grow.
So own your failures and be open to the pruning of your own self. I promise that it will shape you to be stronger, better and productive in shining new ways!