Like most of us, I've received a number of pieces of advice from various co-workers, friends and family members over my career. Some are bad, many are forgettable, and a select few, for whatever reason, truly resonate. Those tidbits are the ones I collect in the back of my mind. Often they show themselves when I need them most, and sometimes when I don't even expect it.
One of my favorites was shared with me early, while I was still an intern at an advertising agency in Connecticut. I was offered a choice between two positions: Account Services where I had interned for three months (without pay), and the Digital Department, where I was offered a position as Project Coordinator despite my lack of any technical web knowledge or project management skills. When debating which position to take, I was intrigued by Digital, even though I had no idea what I'd be doing. I liked the newness of it, and the challenge it presented. I was curious about the opportunities and possibilities it held - to create something, to be on the forefront, to innovate.
That's when a co-worker serendipitously cast these words. He said "Did you know that a shark has to constantly keep moving or else it will die? You should be like that. If you ever stop moving, learning or growing, it's time to move on." (Note: It turns out this is partially true. But I like it, and partially true is good enough for me on this one.)
That piece of advice convinced me to take the Digital role, where I was sure that I'd learn more than ever before, and have the opportunity to keep learning.
Each time I feel myself slowing down I think about the shark, "keep moving". What can I do to learn something new today? What can I create to keep myself and my work fresh? How can I continue to challenge myself?
I was naive at the time, and in too many ways, I still am. Never stop learning - or else.