What’s one thing you learned in the past three months? The Work Edition
Looking back at my time, I think I learned the most in work from simply not knowing, in naivity and in lack of information about VerbalizeIt. VerbalizeIt’s appearance on Shark Tank consumed me at the beginning of my work. I was thrown into the fire, picking up slack when it was needed and learning about the company on the fly. If I had to know how to research an industry vertical, I had to figure out what an industry vertical was and then how to do it. If I was to tweet or write up a blog, I had to understand the different strategies informing the two. If it did not feel like “something” was being communicated between my supervisor and myself, I had to figure out what I was doing, or what I should be asking.
Part of the reason I was so gung-ho to take on everything this summer was sheer excitement for the challenge. I embraced my naivity but also trusted I could complete most tasks given to me (Google is a powerful tool for learning how to do things. Can I do this? Given 20 minutes of research, indeed I can at least try). On one hand, this allowed me to take on every task as a learning experience, such as seeing twitter or company research as a challenge. Conversely, brash excitement left my energies and thought unfocused.
While I was getting things done, I was neither engaging in opportunities that allowed me to bring my own expertise to the table, nor showing my deeper leadership and thought capabilities. By learning a little bit of everything in the beginning, I had a chance to see holes in my understanding of the company, and the business itself. In the end, this large scale perspective allowed me to shift my work. Since I felt aimless, I tried to pair my efforts down. Since I wanted to have a lasting impact, I matched the holes I was seeing with my skill sets. One product of this was the institution of a mission, values, and vision statement for VerbalizeIt which you can see here.
Afterall, this is what it’s about right? Figuring out not just what you can add to a place and take away, but what you best add and the highest quality take away you can have. In this specific example of branding, I brought my experience from starting Sprout and directing strategy for Everyday Ambassador, laid out a basis of a brand that will hopefully inform VerbalizeIt’s future, and we can both walk away with distinct takeaways. Though I struggled through that first month of trying to do everything, I think going in with humble excitement opened up some of the greatest opportunities for lasting impact.