The Value In Ignoring Industrial Marketing

Successful manufacturing executives and industrial marketing professionals all have great demands on their time. With cutbacks, and downsizing, and right-sizing, and de-manning, and reducing head counts, well it seems nearly everyone is working the equivalent of two jobs.  Whether this is a good thing is, of course, strictly debatable. What I believe is that we need to work from rest, not the other way around.

Now most industrial marketing professionals are more than slightly aware of the importance of lead generation, lead development, and lead conversion. These three pillars of business growth probably occupy a lot of your thoughts on any given day. But have you ever stopped to consider the critical need of giving your brain a chance to rest? Have you ever thought about the importance of doing nothing?

I often think that many hard-charging manufacturing executives (and industrial marketing consultants) are not really human beings but rather are human doings. Not that there is anything wrong with hard work. No one should really be afraid of hard work, in fact I remember a teacher I had who used to say, “Smith? He’s not afraid of hard work. He can sleep right beside it.” But, like anything else, even hard work must have its limits. As you know, workaholism is the respectable addiction. But it is ultimately an addiction, full stop.

I worry about sliding into workaholism myself. I’m afraid I like to work, actually I really like to work. In fact I like my work so much that it doesn’t even seem like work to me. But this past week I learned a new skill that I think I may start using on a (slightly) more frequent basis. I am going to do nothing. That’s it nothing and lots of it. Let me elaborate.

I have a three week summer holiday and just got back from the first week. I spent the first week of my summer holidays, as many of you do, at a cottage on a beautiful lake. This cottage is on a small lake with five cottages in total. It features no large power boats, jet-skis, or power. That’s right, the cottage has no electricity. No television, no computers, no email, no telephones. I am completely disconnected from the world.

Interestingly, the first few days are always exhausting as you slowly transform yourself from the peripatetic business person caught up in a crazy pace of living and start to unwind. By day four you are totally relaxed and thinking with great clarity and purpose. One of the ways you know your acuity of mind is on the upswing is the sudden realization that by unplugging from the world you actually are getting connected with the real world of pines and cedars on granite rock atop rugged shorelines framing crystal clear water.

Seven days of reading (light reading, mind you), having easy conversations with friends, sitting in the screened-in porch looking down on the shoreline, paddling canoes and kayaks, swimming in the lake, and watching the sun go down and the stars appear does wonders for you. Listening to the loons call on the water around ten as you turn off your oil lamp and drift off to an easy sleep does wonders for the mind, body, and the soul—so does getting to take a one hour nap each day.

I always return to the “real” world fully recharged, with new insights, and ready to take on all tasks. Of course I know the real world is found on a virtually silent lake in Ontario. I also know the critical importance of doing nothing.

Andrew Shedden
 

Andrew is the president of Broadfield Communications. When he's not working he likes reading history and biographies. He enjoys classic cars, music, and everything about rural settings. He loves to travel the world.

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