There are a million reasons to not do something.
But many of the ones we say out loud are… how do I put this… not real.
Let’s talk about constraints
Constraints are a fact of life. They’re all around us. Some of them are easy to name and point to – deadlines, budgets, rules, API limits.
Others lurk in semi-consciousness. They might be things that we don’t want or know how to name. Like the fear of looking like we don’t know what we’re talking about. Or of trying and failing. Or of just generally looking foolish.
The right kind of constraints can generate enormous creativity. But if you misdiagnose your constraints — especially the silent ones, the ones you can’t quite say out loud — you may find them hamstringing your goals and efforts.
The fallback excuse: time & money
The time and money excuse is a trap.
It’s so easy to blame time and internal bandwidth for why you’re not addressing an issue or taking on a new project. Heck, I’m running a startup, and let me tell you, time and internal bandwidth are the most precious and scarce resources my team and I have.
But there will never be enough time. There will never be unlimited funds. So with the time and budget at your disposal, how can you best influence the change you seek?
Persuasion: a big constraint we don’t like to talk about
Marketing automation professionals need technical skills, sure.
But the “soft skills,” the ability to rally the team, to get leaders to a yes, to get others on the team to step up and contribute – this is where the real work lies.
In the realm of marketing automation, we sit at the intersection of sales, marketing, and IT. One of the most interesting and at times, grating, parts of the job is having to be the voice of change constantly and enlist others to get on board.
When I see marketing automation professional struggling, it’s often not a time and budget issue (although that might be what they point to.) It’s possible that a deficit of persuasion is really the constraint at hand.
That familiar feeling of “I can’t, I won’t, who am I to” – that’s the resistance. When it rears its ugly head, take a beat.
Tell your impostor syndrome to shut its damn mouth and consider:
“With a finite budget and number of hours in the day… what can I learn? Who can I change?
What is the “lead domino” that if set in motion will make all of my future efforts easier?
Fill in the blank
The next time you find yourself thinking:
“I can’t because ______.”
Hit the reset button.
Are you being brutally, full-on honest with yourself about how you fill in that blank?
What is the most important outcome you need to achieve? What are the constraints you face? What resources can you leverage? Is your internal narrative helping or hurting you?
Grappling with these questions is how we do the work we are born to do.