318. To Get Unstuck, Try the Wild Blue Yonder
Fresh out of Florida State University with a degree in Mass Communications, Margaret was driving to Miami with her boyfriend, who was heading there to go to medical school. Margaret recalls, “I said, ‘God, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to do!’ and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you go into advertising?’ I said, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’”
Margaret Gearing has been in the advertising and marketing industry for 25 years, working as a senior executive at a top Atlanta advertising agency, then founding and running her own successful marketing consulting firm for many years. Recently, under the working title of Wild Blue Yonder, she helped organize the Mobil X Conference at Georgia Tech’s Schuller College of Business.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Fresh out of Florida State University with a degree in Mass Communications, Margaret was driving to Miami with her boyfriend, who was heading there to go to medical school. Margaret recalls, “I said, ‘God, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to do!’ and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you go into advertising?’ I said, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting. Maybe I’ll do that.’” Soon she had interviewed in Atlanta with ad agency Tucker Wayne. “They hired me to work on new business and to work in the studio which I thought was really an odd thing.” Her advertising career had begun.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“Going into business was the best thing I ever did. Selling my business may be the worst thing I ever did. But no, I was never happier than when I finally got out on my own and started doing my own thing. At first, I had a hesitation because I’d always worked for big companies, big agencies, and there were so many people running interference at the top level. I had never done that until I got out on my own and I went ‘Holy mackerel!’ With so many people asking me what do I think, I knew I’d better come up with very good answers!”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I think if you want to become un-stuck, challenge yourself to do something that you’ve never done before. That usually creates some ability to see things in a different perspective. Get off that track you’ve been on and look for a new track that presents interesting challenges, something that might engage you in a way you never thought you could be engaged.”
Steps to Success from Margaret Gearing
1. Everyone gets stuck occasionally. Find yourself a thought partner you can trust, and give each other feedback.
2. Periodically write down a life assessment—what you’re doing well and what needs improvement—and do a gap analysis.
3. Take a dispassionate view of yourself and see yourself objectively.
4. Explore the many ways available to learn, such as the Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), frequently offered at a fraction of the cost of on-campus learning.
On Her Bookshelf
Northwestern Launches MOOC Specialization: How to be profitable in social media
Connecting With Margaret Gearing
Subscribe to the Podcast Free: