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I spend a lot of my time speaking, teaching, training–use whatever word you like the best. Most of that work is in digital marketing. Because I train approximately 1500 students a year, I have probably seen just about every kind of digital marketing student you can imagine. And the longer that I do it, the more I have become convinced that the most important key to success is not knowledge. It’s bravery.

That seems odd, doesn’t it? Especially coming from me, because you’d think that my job would be to impart knowledge. But more and more, I don’t think that is my only job. Increasingly, I am seeing people who are flat out fraidy-scared. They are watching the world change faster and faster and they don’t see how they can keep up. They are afraid that they can’t keep up. That they aren’t good enough. That it is moving too fast for them to keep pace.

And they are right.

And I tell them they are right. (Great teacher, huh?)

The reason that they are scared is that they are thinking the wrong way. They think that if they just work harder, stay up later, run faster, and otherwise extend themselves that they will finally feel better. They won’t.

They think that if they could just catch up to what they’ve been missing that they will be able to relax. Nope.

What’s happening is that things will keep moving faster. Not only is change not slowing down–it is speeding up. You are never going to catch up. You need to change how you are thinking.

Instead of trying to catch up with everything, start thinking about what is changing and what you really need to know. I have B2B marketers petrified that they don’t understand Pinterest. Or Groupon. Neither do I, I tell them. Why? Because none of my clients have needed it yet.

They also wonder how they will know what to do. I mean, how will they know what will work for their company. I tell them I don’t know, either. How can that be? Well, I don’t know what will work, but I know a dozen things to test. The test will tell us what to do.

The big problem is that they are afraid that they are not measuring up because they don’t understand something new. Or because they don’t know what to do. And I get that. It makes me nervous, too. The only difference between them and me is that I feel my fear and then I just keep going. I might not understand Pinterest, but when a client needs it, I am brave enough to try to figure it out. I might not know what to do in every situation, but I am brave enough to try a few things until something works.

Are you? If not, digital marketing might not be for you. Because if you think it is moving fast now, wait until next year. You might need to put on your big kid pants and just go for it? Scary? Maybe. But it is less scary than failing. Because that’s what happens when you are too petrified to go for it.

More and more, bravery beats knowledge.

 

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Mike Moran

About Mike Moran

Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research.

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