Pause for Self Reflection

My Lack of Pause

The past couple of weeks have been a blur of my self-indulgent sorrow over a lack of career direction – it’s all very dramatic. I don’t aim to be this way, but I have definite bouts of misdirected anxiety about it all.

Rather than embracing every day and appreciating each breath, I’ve had spells of sad mopey behavior. It is not something I’m particularly proud of. To the same extent, I’ve caught myself and tried to correct it. Sometimes going so far as to say something out loud like, “Candi, you’re being ridiculous. What is really bothering you?”  I’ve gathered a few pieces of information through this self reflection.

Self Reflection

1. I love people. While I’ve always known this, my new realization is about teamwork. I don’t mind working independently, but I thrive on a team. It’s my happy working place.

2. I want to create positive change. This is another thing I already knew, but now the perspective of how my daily work reflects that value has come to the surface. Every day I want to know that something I’ve worked on will have a positive impact on the world somehow.

3. Oh boy, I certainly enjoy communicating. And I can’t escape that fact or change it – that’s just me. Verbal and written communication are a key part of every job I’ve ever held. I cannot escape who I am, so I must learn to both embrace and leverage it.

4. Connecting people gives me incredible joy. Whether it be an introduction between two people I know who can profit from a valuable exchange of ideas, or just meeting a new person who can teach me something. This is an integral part of what drives me to accomplish goals, and it needs to be incorporated into my work too.

 

Town Lake, Austin, TX

Self Reflection CEO Candi

 

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Marketing – Strategic Thinking and Planning

Marketing Strategist

For ease of understanding, I have often explained my job as being a Strategic Marketer or a Marketing Strategist. The reality is that I do several small tasks that feed into the ultimate goal of helping companies communicate their goals and visions in the best possible light. I didn’t study marketing or strategy in college. Yet, I’m pretty darn good at seeing the goals of each company. The article below made me reflect on my style and methodology.

 Are You A Strategic Thinking Marketer?

Excerpt from Branding Strategy Insider 

Strategic thinking is a natural inclination – something I think you’re born with. In many business schools you can learn principles of strategic thinking, but like learning to play the piano, you won’t be very good at it unless you have the innate talent to see things strategically. Are you a strategic thinker?

I spend most of my time consulting with marketers on brand strategy – helping them to see useful patterns across the competitive landscape where everyone else sees complexity. In my experience, most marketers and brand managers just want to know HOW to get to their goal as fast and efficiently as possible. That’s tactics not strategy.

Strategic thinking requires you know WHY you are intent on pursuing any particular course of action. When you are clear about your why, the how to get there seemingly takes care of itself. Like gravity I don’t know how this principle works, I just know it does.

Interestingly enough, those with the gift of strategic thinking hardly see it as such. Like all natural systems – like breathing – your gifts operate effortlessly mostly under your awareness. You may be a brilliant strategic thinker but because it’s so natural to you, you may not acknowledge it and self apply it to your conscious behavior.

To help you connect with your gift for strategic thinking and the power it has to strengthen your resolve to achieve your marketing goals, here are several attributes and themes that may seem familiar to you and are shared by all strategic thinkers.Strategic Thinking - CEO Candi

Strategic thinkers see through the clutter.
They have an extraordinary perspective on how the world works. They “see” pathways hidden inside complexity. These pathways or insights often result in uncanny and creative solutions rich in their obvious simplicity.

Strategic thinkers are naturally curious always asking “what-if” questions.
They link “what if “scenarios together like pearls in a necklace. They are always a few moves ahead of where their competitors happen to be on the chessboard of the brandscape. They’re relentless in their questions, which usually enables them to spot trends that have lucrative opportunities embedded within them.

Strategic thinkers think about the important and not so much on the urgent.
While others focus on navel gazing their immediate circumstances, strategic thinkers find it incredibly obvious that if you look down the road and decide what you want to have happen when you get there, you won’t be a victim of your current circumstances anymore.

Strategic thinkers evaluate risks and obstacles.
They see repercussions more clearly than others. They don’t pursue any course of action without careful consideration of the downside. Then they systematically assess “if this or that happens, can we live with that outcome?”  They are usually more prepared and ready for where events may lead them.

Strategic thinkers are not attached to their own preconceived ideas. 
They use their insight and intuition to cull through and discard the potential pathways that lead to resistance and confusion. In groups they are always open to consider the crazy ideas out of left field.

Determined Strategic Thinking CEO Candi

Strategic thinkers take determined action.
They don’t procrastinate and wring their hands in worry and fret. They strike forward confidently armed with their strategy.  Through their action they keep their vivid vision from becoming a pipe dream.

There’s an old saying “it takes one to know one” Hopefully that’s the case for you! Our natural inclinations always reveal our gifts and strengths. If you have the awareness and application of your inner strengths, you’ll spend less time thinking about your shortcomings.

Quality People Around You

Parents and Email

Parents, especially moms, are good for life advice and annoying chain emails. Today I received both from my mom. She sent the following email to me:

There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.

I’m supposed to pick 8 women who have touched my life and who I think might participate. Please send this back to me. Remember to just read the quotation. That’s all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just send this to 8 women you would like to sit at your table and let me know what happens on the 4th day. Thank you!!


“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

Surround Yourself with Quality People

While mom’s email was another annoying chain email (which has not been popular since 1999), the advice was clear and precise. When you surround yourself with quality people, then you enjoy life more. As we get older this seems to be even truer than before. We are no longer forced into classrooms or groups setup by institutions such as school, so we have the freedom to filter people as we wish.

Having all of that freedom is harder than you’d think it is. It forces you to reflect upon your personal values and what is most important to you at this point in your life. It’s so rare that someone asks you a question like, “what do you value most in this world?”

Start by checking in with yourself once a week. Take a walk, meditate, go to the gym, or do something else that helps you to clear your mind; and then check in with yourself. Reflect on the relationships in your life – love, friends, family, roommates, coworkers.  Who makes you the most happy? Who makes you the most miserable? Why?

 

I am grateful for the dear friends living both near and far who make me smile.

Old Friends. Quality People