Posted on May 4, 2010
You probably aren't asking this question often enough, unless you can answer it quickly and concisely.
And I'm not just talking about your professional life. I try to apply this same question to my personal goals and to my role as a father and husband.
It can be a scary thing to do, but it's also very rewarding when you get focused.
Before I was a parent, I laughed at the people who told me to cherish every day because before I knew it my girls would be leaving for college. Now that my girls are in junior high, I wish I'd taken that friendly advice a little more seriously.
It's not that I think I've been a poor father. I just know that time is running out for me to answer the question "What did I do for her that was truly remarkable?" when each is walking across that high school graduation stage in a few years. Right now, I can think of a million little things - and maybe in the end, it's the sum of those that mean the most - but pinpointing the remarkable is difficult.
My guess is many of us struggle the same way in our professional lives.
A lot of people in marketing departments are in it because it's a job. They do what they're asked to do one task at a time, day by day, week by week. Before they realize it, years have passed by and they realize they've never gone above and beyond what was asked of them.
Being a leader in your organization requires more than proper execution. You also need to think outside the box, challenge existing processes and be bold enough to share your opinion.
Here's a question: Does your hospital host a community health fair each year? My guess is most of you are nodding your heads. When December rolls around, will you look back at that event and say "Wow, that really was remarkable?" I doubt it.
But what if you had made that health fair one piece of a community relations program that really changed the way people look at your organization? I guarantee you will feel better and you will be more impactful if you can build a handful of marketing tactics that define you, your organization and your brand instead of doing the same 20 things that everyone else does.
Anyone can shuffle work through a department, but few can truly do remarkable things. If you challenge yourself to list the three things you did this week, month and year that truly made a difference, it will change those results the next time you ask.
So what are you most proud of these days? Please share your thoughts.