Don’t Dread the Shoulder Tap: Thriving in Today’s Media Landscape

Ever get a tap on the shoulder and even before you turn around, you think to yourself, “Whatever this is, it’s going to either be extremely awesome or brutal”? Not long ago I got a tap and had that very feeling. But as soon as the words came tumbling out: “Mike, you have your diving certification, right?” — I knew it’d be awesome. A few short weeks later I found myself wreck diving off the coast of Malta for Panerai, one of Gear Patrol’s stellar clients.

I’ve been an Account Executive at Gear Patrol for nearly three years. And even though Panerai isn’t one of my personal clients, this was easily one of my fondest memories working here so far. I’m excited to have contributed to this powerful piece of content marketing that was, in fact, just nominated for a Folio Award. So what led me to an amazing moment like this? I gave it some thought and have boiled it down to two key concepts.

Eliminate Silos

Lose the “it’s not my job” mentality. It’s easy and very comfortable to sit within your role and pass tasks down the assembly line. Take the time to understand the processes outside of your own job description. Find out who the other folks are in bringing a project to life. Understand their challenges, their version of a perfect project, their go-to happy hour drink. The point is, get to know them, communicate with them, learn from them, and be a contributing resource.

The better you know the process and those involved, the more you’ll really start to understand your own responsibilities and how you can truly contribute to a project’s success. Step outside of your own silo and you may find yourself learning a new skill set, having a different strategic perspective, or even growing professionally. Eliminate silos and pitch-in, because ultimately your team’s success is also your own.

Say Yes More Than No

Prior to having a Panerai strapped to my wrist and diving in waters of the Mediterranean, I found myself on a red-eye flight down to Miami, headed to an intensive 2-day scuba diving refresher course. I had not been diving for many years, but again, I said yes. And now it was my responsibility to deliver for my team and for Panerai.

Don’t get me wrong, learning how and when to say no is important. But knowing when to say yes is what leads to growth. I find myself offering to be a part of projects — usually outside of my comfort zone — and forcing myself to either learn quickly or fail miserably. Take this very article — I volunteered to write something impactful and insightful for Gear Patrol’s new marketing newsletter, Debrief, and in the process, I found out two things: one, writing does not come easy to me. And, two, there are three nightly writing classes near my office.

When you continue to put yourself out there by saying yes, by contributing outside of silos, you broadcast to others that you are open to help and ready for challenges. That is ultimately how you get tapped for opportunities, experiences — and maybe even the occasional scuba diving adventure.