Business Performance Digital Marketer+ Personal Development

Does it make the boat go faster?

This article is part of a series entitled Digital Marketer+. The series is aimed at marketers already working in the digital marketplace, but also to others looking for new ways to promote or build their business online.

The intention of the series is to take a second look at what you’re currently doing and approach it from a different perspective. It will include tips, best practice, case studies and a fair amount of opinion. Not just my own, I’d love your input too. If you have any great ideas or experience, please do share it, as I’m keen to become a better digital marketer too.


We are creatures of habit. We get comfort from routine. We struggle with change.

Generalisations, yes, but you can’t deny you’ve noticed those traits in yourself at times.

We do some things, because we did it yesterday. And the day before. We find it easier to carry on doing it that way, rather than analyse what we’re doing and change direction. Who has time to do that anyway?

Then there’s safety. It’s, of course, in our best interests not to take risks or rock the boat, better to toe the line and do it the way you’ve been told to do it, the way we’ve always done it.

Unfortunately, all that does is lead to disappointment, to average, to bland, to a loss of contention.

Albert Einstein was describing insanity when he said it was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, but he could have equally been referring to our unwavering routines.

Interestingly, I’ve not mentioned anything about work yet, as this could as easily apply to any aspect of our lives – relationships, sports, health and yes, our jobs.

I’ll leave the relationship advice to others, so let’s focus on our work and career. How to break the pattern? How do we change things for the better?


Hopefully you have objectives (no? Okay, that’s task no.1, top priority), so you know what you supposed to be achieving.

Take a look at them. Now look at your recent output and your current task list. Be honest, are you working on the right stuff?

“Will it make the boat go faster?” was a guiding principle of Sir Peter Blake, who led his crew to the 1995 America’s Cup win. Before undertaking any activity they would ask themselves this simple, yet powerful question. If the answer was no, it wasn’t worth doing.

Look at your task list again and ask yourself the question. If it’s not making your boat go faster, why are you doing it?


What are your career goals? Do you want progression, status, money, perhaps greater challenges or enriching experiences? Your goals can be varied and many.

Stop and reflect on this – is my current job helping me achieve what I want?

Or in other words, is it making my boat go faster?

The routine and inertia in our careers can be worse than in the tasks we undertake. The risk is certainly greater. We have responsibilities, such as families and mortgages to consider and the fear of the unknown, or of making the wrong decision.


If you answered NO to either (or both) the work or career question then you need to make a change. This doesn’t need to be something dramatic. It could be something small, like stopping certain tasks (who reads that report anyway??) or doing something in a different, more useful or effective way.

It could just be to clarify purpose, to re-examine objectives or goals.

Or of course, it could be a rip off the plaster moment.  A big change. Something that fundamentally alters the way you work. In your current company or somewhere else.

As a friend is wont to say: “Fortune favours the bold”.

This is not the easiest route. The road less travelled is not always the safest. It might not work, but is it at least worth trying? What if it’s better than you could imagine?

If in a few years you reflect back, what will your journey have looked like? If you do things exactly the same way as you’ve always done, then you already know what the path looks like, the same as the one you’ve just trod. If today you decide to step off onto the grass, imagine where it might take you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *