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Applications in Tight Rope Walking

ADVERTISING CAREERS CAN BE SO SEXY. THE LURE OF LIFE-LONG LEARNING, CHALLENGES TO HURDLE, THE SIZZLE OF A PITCH, THE ADORATION OF RAVING CLIENTS…ah, before you know it you are in love. However, this dynamic seducer is no easy lover. The rules change all of the time and keeping up means staying ahead of the masses. It means absorbing all the information you can, processing it and turning it into something valuable before someone else does.

Lately I’ve asked myself, “Am I limiting my intake of information?” I get emails from the same 20 people. Unless I am seeking new information, I quickly skim the same 5 websites and read the same 5 magazines or newspapers…usually while multitasking. I spend most of my time studying industry specific data – not global concepts. I call it Lily Pad Learning. Learn this —- hop —– learn that —— hop, repeat. Admittedly, most often I reach out to learn because I have to – not because I want to add interesting intellectual layers to myself. How sad, only learning what I have to like a robot…what has become of me?

And while dealing with the professional demands of keeping up with the tsunami of data hurtling toward me, I also “have a life”. As I’m sure most of you know, the balance between career professional and, in my case, “Wife of the Year” is a tightrope worthy of Barnum and Bailey’s best.

In a recent attempt to retain the tiara, I decided to broaden my horizons, and impress my man with some financial market acumen (a topic of high interest to him). Considering how much information we get in our work day, it takes discipline to dive into unknown territory. What I found both excited and concerned me. I have been living in a bubble for a few months, taking and keeping only the info that I can immediately apply, dodging and deflecting what I can’t use in effort to remain productive in my day. And certainly not seeking out GIANT and complex concepts in my free time.

So in an effort to apply this revelation of self, I did what any sensible good wife would do. I invested $100,000 in the stock market. What better way to get some skin in the game? To tie myself to the financial markets, the global perspective of geopolitics, emerging trends, mergers and acquisitions, and the corporate rise and fall. Isn’t that what I do every day; try to make businesses lucrative, more successful? Yes! Perfect – a way to learn and make money.

So, I should clarify. My new found night job as a trader is actually managing a “mock portfolio”. No, I didn’t really invest a real $100k into the market. I am going to dip my toe in and see how it goes first (at the time of writing I’ve lost just under $3,000).


My experience so far with this small project has been one of much larger significance than just playing the stock market. In this era of information overabundance it is okay to be selective, I think we have to be selective to protect our priorities… but don’t become so jaded that you turn your mind off to learning afterhours. Taking yourself out of the bubble and seeking out unknown territory or hard concepts can not only keep your relationships fresh and you more fun to stand next to at a cocktail party, but more importantly it can add to your deeper point of view – offering an overall more balanced and worldly frame of mind.

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