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Rust and tension

Everyone’s had those periods where they take a break from a fitness routine or let a hobby fall by the wayside. As a result, the skills and capabilities that you had when you were regularly practicing begin to fade.

For fitness folks, cardiovascular endurance and maximum lung capacity can begin to diminish in as little as two weeks off, and within two months can be anywhere from half to completely gone for people who had picked up a fitness program.

When you survey pistol marksmen who fire weapons regularly, most say that you lose your maximum edge in about two weeks, and see significant declines in shooting accuracy and speed in 6-8 weeks.

Musicians cite similar benchmarks for performing well: two weeks off can diminish your edge, and in 6-8 weeks, your skills degrade enough that it takes serious, high intensity practice to regain it.

However, many of the experts cite that lower frequency practice can reduce the impacts of time on your skills and capabilities. Going to the range to fire a few hundred rounds can mitigate the skill losses you’d incur from not going at all. Going for shorter runs or long walks can help to increase the time it takes to lose cardiovascular capacity. Picking up an instrument and playing for even a few minutes a day can keep rust at bay longer.

Now think about all of your marketing skills. Inventory all of the skills you have, make a list of them.

Email marketing.
Social media marketing.
Content marketing.
Digital advertising.
Video production.
Media buying.

How many skills have you practiced with and grown proficient with over the years?

How many have you let rust? How many are so far gone that for you to pick them up again would almost be like starting over?

This is why having your own blog, your own newsletter, your own social media profiles, your own digital platforms are so vital for your long-term success as a marketer. Forget about personal brand and think about personal skills. What skills does your job currently not let you practice? Figure out how to practice them on your own time and on your own properties. If you can’t figure out how to use those skills for yourself, go volunteer somewhere that you can practice them so that they don’t rust. You don’t have to be working full-time on them all the time, but you need to shake off the rust and keep it off as a marketer if you want to retain your edge, particularly for skills you don’t use frequently.

You rest, you rust, as the saying goes – not just for athletics, but for everything.

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