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The present of the past

Many moons ago, when I first did my postgraduate marketing qualifications, I was a student of Cambridge Marketing College. So I was delighted to be invited back there recently to talk to them about the innovative and exciting work I do now. There is significant interest in the growing area of Gender Marketing, and as a keynote speaker on the topic, I was more than happy to be interviewed for their radio programme about it.

Which got me thinking…

How often do we look back? How often do we stop, reflect on our past and gather the opportunities which it provides? And yes, I do mean opportunities.

As a great friend of mine always says “the past is for reference, not for residence” (see Kriss, I do listen to you – sometimes!). But how many of us, when referring back to the past, do so for negative reasons rather than positive ones?

We cannot change our past, but we need to acknowledge that it plays a huge part in the making of the person we are today. I’m not talking about a ‘lie-on-this-couch-and-tell-me-about-your-childhood’ kind of deal here. I am talking about our careers.

Gone are the days when someone would have one career for life. My father achieved that – 42 years working for the same company, albeit working his way up through it. Now, research suggests that people are likely to have an average of seven careers during their working life. Not seven jobs. Seven careers.

We are becoming masters of the art of reinventing ourselves. Mistresses of transferring our skills. We have swapped the ubiquitous career path for more of a crazy-paving stepping stone approach. And why not?

As an exhibition organiser, publisher, teacher, trainer, consultant, marketing director, enterprise director, business development manager and now speaker, my own career has included a number of reinventions already. In fact sometimes, when I listen to my biography being read out as I am introduced to audiences, I want to shy away from the skins I have shed and the hard-earnt lessons I have learned.

But they all make me, Me. They all add up to the person I am now and the experience I bring with me. Having the courage to go back through those previous lives provides a whole new set of contacts, of potential content, and of opportunities. The Cambridge Marketing College is just the beginning!

Oh, and for those of you who are interested in hearing the radio interview, you can find it here… http://www.marketingcollege.com/blog/podcast/cambridge-marketing-review-season-2-show-19/