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Stories of personal growth


Answers to the open-ended question in the 2011 Planner Survey asking planners for stories of stretching beyond their comfort zone.

Answers to the open-ended question in the 2011 Planner Survey asking planners for stories of stretching beyond their comfort zone.

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  • 1. There are times in many individual careers where we have to step outside of our comfort zone and do something we aren't completely sure we can do. I have a feeling these stories will inspire other planners. Perhaps you enjoyed the experience or perhaps you didn't succeed at what you set out to accomplish, but if you have a story of personally stretching yourself beyond what you were certain you could do, would you please share it here?When you are sure of your potential, do it! Grow up! Sometime my boss said Giiiiz, I don't know if you ready to be promoted... After all the hard work together I begun felling bad, about myself, my job and my career. So, I come to talk with my ex-boss and mentor and she said: Intelligence, Capacity, Hability, Experience, this you already have. I just miss you something... Cojones! So, I took off my ex-agency and looked for a new opportunity. Now, I finally can say: I'm happy with my life and to go to work everyday.We often try to force people outside their comfort zones. While trying to create a maniacal following for a particular brand, we immersed ourselves in a specific fringe religious group in order for us to analyze what the emotional triggers were that necessitated membership and devotion. One of our staff unfortunately became inseparable from the group and had to be deprogrammed.Well, I guess it would be the process to becoming a strategist/planner. I went through a very long process to become an architect no less, with a masters and 3 years of experience, ready to sit for the licensing exam. I hated every minute of it in practice, but liked it in theory. So for over 2 years, I set out to switch my career path, causing everyone around me to ask 'what the hell are you doing?' It was one of the most frustrating points in my life that I can remember, however I think it gave me the courage (and personal confidence) to learn how to trust myself and my gut, even when everyone else is telling you what you should or shouldn't do. On the job, that feeling is one I draw from on a daily basis. I'm constantly challenged by clients, by coworkers as I have to essentially guide people's businesses and how should I know better than them? Speaking from the place of authenticity and confidence is the only way to succeed in this business and my experiences early on gave me the courage to trust myself. I've had to manage a biz dev platform for sale force initiatives at a small strategy firm. I wasn't sure my skills were up to this, but learning and master a program, especially one that forces you to think LESS creatively was a challenge. Not that I loved it, but I did learn something about how I approach problems. Not to be trite but personally I hope each project pushes me beyond my comfort zone in some way or another, otherwise I'm not growing or developing in a meaningful manner. So I try to look for an opportunity in everything I do and that makes my job all the more exciting/rewarding.Ethnography work in weird places with people I'd never meet otherwise. At the same time it can feel challenging, scary, thrilling, and fulfilling. Client screamed at me, under our roof. Big no-no... I stood up, and screamed back at her that I was not impressed 'cos my I had been raised by a woman that screamed louder than her...don't worry, in a way, you're always making it up as you go along, because as much as we would like to generalize, most situations are different and require stretching.We ran a morning drumming session to loosen up and bond a group of Swedish clients, before a radical brainstorm. It had the reverse effect. However, copious vodka and a late evening fire walk did the trick - eventually.Leaving an industry to join another Leaving a country to go to another Leaving a company to start anotherYes, and that was the hardest time of all, that we have to step out of our comfort zone. The best thing i can share is that i was born and grew up as an introvert person. But at my work right now i have been pushed out from being introvert to an extrovert person. to be a public speaker, to be a coach and a leader. that was a hard thing to do, and i right i'm still in the learning process. but what i can share as a planning person it can changed our mindsets to think global to details, so you can change yourself or even make your life better than others because you do plans :)The best advice I can offer is to not lock yourself into certain categories or types of planning. The best way to keep yourself at the top of your game is to never stop learning.share my knoledege not only national but international level.I recently had to step up and do some impromptu moderating for one of my projects. I wasn't anticipating having to moderate but I jumped in and did my best. I had been attending the groups and wrote the discussion guide so I felt prepared but feeling prepared and doing it are two different things. It was exhilarating to get in there and talk to folks. I loved it and the client was really happy with my work. I ended up getting to moderate many of the following groups in 5 more markets!Usually it comes from a gut feeling or intuition. Sometimes you just have to experiment or try new things to have an objective point of view. It usually comes from re-framing the question at hand, which can feel very abstract at times. After five years of long working hours in frantic (and fun) ad agencies, I decided I needed to step out of my life for awhile and re-evaluate if this is what I wanted to continue doing. I left my job voluntarily and traveled to Ethiopia, where I initiated, applied and supervised a management and communication system for a local fashion design college and workshop. Then I backpacked through Southeast Asia for six months. When I got back home, I promised myself the following: I wanted to continue to work as a planner, but in an open, stimulating environment which would permit me dedicate time and energy to other projects in order to grow as a professional and a person. I made it! (for now)i have only worked agency side and have much to learn about the business side of our clients but i was asked to put together a strategic argument about a brand's on and off trade strategy, nothing to do with design or packaging but more about business strategySorry, haven't got one of those yet. But I'm sure one will come around soon.Clients I don't relate to - it's a huge stretch to present to them with a smile.Yes, I have one. It was my firts month as an intern in an agency. I didn't even know what a planner was, but my boss sent me to do a presentation in front on the client. It was very scarry but I learned a lot from that.Setting up my own brand consultancy and winning a major project was a big win for me personally and professionally. I won this when I was 8 mths pregnant with my third child. I set up 7 phases of internal and external research for the Client, and sub-contracted consultants to undertake the research. I completed all reporting and recommended brand strategy for the Client, all with a tiny baby at home. I can't believe I did it now as I write this!Create my own businessI started my own brand consultancy after being laid off from a larger agency. It was scary to think that I had to rely solely on myself but invigorating to know that my work would finally benefit me!I love breaking new ground, tackling difficult objectives that are not a repeat of the last 10 projects I did. That said, this only happens about 40% of the time, and only that much because it is what I am good at. I started a web software/services company before this job and ran it for 3 years - it was hard every day, but the learning from that guides my whole perspective, because everything I work on I know how it feels to think of it as ""my business"".I once had to become a food and beverage trends expert in two weeks, and presented to a senior board at an FMCG giant. There could never tell I have not been immersed in their industry for years.Started a Brand Entertainment and Content group working with film producers, web developers, media outlets and Brand owners. Much harder than I thought it was going to be. noTravelling to the NZ office of a previous Australian company that I worked for to act as the planner on the account for a new business pitch only six months after becoming a full time planner. We won the pitch.not sureIn the age of New Media - this is a daily occurrence. Just when we think we are expert - another challenge emerges. Currently, we are working with the theatre world in London and are planning an experiential, performance type event to be presented via (a) website on the Internet. Very exciting.I was made redundant from a design consultancy and found myself with an opportunity to do some interim change communications work for a retailer. The money was good but I had no experience of retail, change management or internal communications. Putting on a brave face and trusting in my ability to adapt I fell back on tools and thinking that had served me well. By understanding the audience and defining a simple and compelling idea I was able to help the client get their previously complicated message across in a compelling way. The lesson I took away from this is to trust that what we do best is understand people and that with a bit of courage (and some bravado) we can help in most situations that involve getting an idea across.I don't have any ""case"".I was asked to lead a small project with a short turn-around that had some non-traditional methodology. I really didn't feel like I was qualified to lead the project, but I gave it my best effort and it was really well received. I think I'm able to stretch myself even more and I look forward to doing so.managing employees is always a challengei recently took on a management role that is unlike any i've had before. for the first time i'm responsible for an office, for the P&L, for the management of an entire set of strategists, project managers, designers and writers, and a new business team. Basically, everyone. It's about running a business, not just running a group. it's a great opportunity but utterly overwhelming. Glad i did it, or rather, i will be when everything is running smoothly and i can breatheI started at my company 1 year ago and had to moderate a focus group the first month having never done it before. Terrifying but thrilling experienceI called myself a brand consultant without having any clients. Then they came!Tried to interview individuals in India and Brazil, and even though they spoke English, I couldn't understand there words clearly. I'm sure I lost some of the meaning. Next time I'll be more cautious about these types of assignments.presenting to a congressional hearing in washington dcI took a complete risk by asking for a 3 month extended leave of absence to travel to South America for a non-profit my boyfriend and I started up. Now that I have been back for 3 weeks, I can tell you that putting yourself out on a limb and taking time off (esp for a good cause) will never be looked down upon.Maybe next year I'll have a great story about how I left the agency I was working and decided to build my own business.. for now, I'm just starting and there is a long road ahead. :-)I just realized with that question that I've never stepped out of my comfort zone. Confessing that is stepping outside of my comfort zone, though. But regardless, I'll have to get back to you on that one. I took a job that was 100% Digital. I am not a ""digital guru"", so I was worried that I'd be over my head. I have found I know so much more than the average collegue (I'm now client side) and I also know how to find the information I need so I never look unknowledgable, just resourceful.can't think of anything i would be comfortable sharingI left advertising and went client side. I didn't think I could. I don't have an MBA, I wasn't a great student in college, and I didn't think my ego could handle the blow. On the agency side, I often thought I was so much ""cooler"" than my clients -- even thinking I knew better or that my creative instincts were so much more accurate. Sometimes that was true, sometimes it wasn't. Client side felt like ""giving up"" in a way -- the whole ""those who can, do. those who can't, go client side."" It's actually working really well. First, I have work life balance for the first time EVER in my professional career. Second, I don't have to deal with trying to invent benefits for crappy products that have no reason for existance. I'm the one who helps come up with the crappy products, so if I'm in that situation it's my own damn fault. When I made strategic or creative recommendations as an agency planner, you have to give up control. Sometimes the recommendations would be implemented, sometimes not, and sometimes implemented in a half-assed way. Now, I'm a key member of the decision making team. I can represent my own ideas up the chain of command. I can make sure that what I believe is what the company gets behind -- or bug the shit out brand managers/marketing until they get to tired to protest. The things I am passionate about, I can make happen -- for the most part.I'm working on it =)My first relevant change is related to my personal life: after twelve years working in the same company and, the last five years playing as graphic computer manager, living by myself and wearing high heels all the time, I find myself working as cleaner and not understanding almost anything from people. I had decided to improve my English living in Australia, where people talk a very strong-English-accent. That experience was amazing due to the cultural exchange and the benefits of get friends all over the world. However, I had to make a hard decision: choosing still living in my own culture, which meant stay among Brazilians, and not improve my English; or keeping me far from Brazilians to reach my initial goal and living lonely, missing my culture. My choice was the hardest one, but the best decision I have made in my life. I was able to improve my English, make many international friends and, even so date an Australian guy; which meant to improve my language skills in a broader way. The price for it was equally high: strong loneliness and low self-steam, due to the level of my job (cleaner). Even having many friends, all of them were there for a short period, so friendships do not have enough time to make strong connections. One year later the results were: lots of international friends and the so wanted goal: my fluency in English. Better: taking my MBA delivered in English. Further: the last 5 years I could improve my personal strenghs and professional life much more than my 12 years comfort zone job. I am still struggling to reach my ""new comfort zone"", one more healthy due to the careear change for a more appropriated one, according my professional and personal profile. Moreover: I have been facing one of the hardest time in my life. Couching is being the key point for my personal and career development. I recommend. I did this early in my career, leaving law school and becoming a planner.I like to plan everything in my life, including relationships. My last boyfriend was a 12 month-planning job.Planners begin to believe their own hype way too quickly. I recently spent the day at one of the retail outlets for the company I work for, learning from the crew and seeing the daily operations in action. I've decided it's critical as a planner, or anyone curious about how to better understand people, to spend time deeply ""embedded"" in your clients' business. Seeing how consumers interact with the brand and learning that my tightly held assumptions were mostly baseless was an amazing experience. I just gave notice (3 months) to this total fatcat Corp job that pays me oodles of cash because I'm bored with it after 1 year. My mom cannot stop shaking her head - what did she do wrong!!!! I'm going to start my own little company - an idea I've had baking for years - and I'll help my brother put up his gallery show and I'll take a consulting project or 2 and I will be FINE. I freak every so often about the financial folly but I think I've finally come to terms with the fact that I am a square peg and that's ok. I can do the ""serious job"" but I hate the political crap that's unavoidable at more senior level. I can do the job, I want to do it on my terms. It's certainly not a ""success story"" yet but I hope it will be!see my wedding as a communications platform is very inspire for me. We have a relationship territory and this grow and make tangible with all the impacts (menu, invitations, decoration....)On a daily basis we take on new challenges and learn new things...getting out of our comfort zone is the best part of the jobMy whole career so far was a succession of challenges, were I asked myself: ""Oh my god, how shall I possibly do this..."" and then I just did it somehow and things worked out alright.Since this is my first planning work most of my experience for the first 2 years was like exploring the new frontier, outside the comfort zone.Sure. Two stories. 1. My first job involved me being thrown into a lead strategic position in planning a global social media process for an enormous CDR client. I was 23 and had no idea what I was doing. But, I spent a lot of time reading up on what needed to happen, what a good process would be, and what I wanted to do. Then I just went to town - I spent hours developing the strategy and the process and I decided that failure was an awesome option. Basically, to succeed you sometimes need to believe in not playing it self. I confidently sold my ideas in. 2. My current job focus is on analytics. My last job was in content strategy. I believe that the best planners and the best thinkers are generalists. So I took this job knowing I was going to be running a practice that is very young and that I know litte about. It's been challenging at times but I'm growing and one day this will all pay off when I can tackle any project from any angle. Wow, I would say this pretty much describes my every day. Its full of experimenting and improvising because everyone thinks the planner can lend her/himself to anything! I did a piece of research with a load of car dealers recently across a few different countries who are notoriously difficult to work with and the client told me that they would resent the work. But I found out that they just wanted to have the chance to talk to someone who had no agenda other than to listen to them and it turned out to be a really successful and productive piece of work. On the flip side, I've had to spend a week on a mine in a remote part of Canada with a load of miners to learn about their safety habits (or lack thereof) and it was really hard to get them to open up or to make it insightful. I kind of failed at that.I try to do this every single day so I can get better.Here at my agency I have a boss that is also the owner and a partner that is responsible for the social media analysis, we sometimes get to work as a team and lately we have gather to talk about some specific job. I get the feeling that my boss is stepping out of his duties and I have to complete it. As a Junior Planner I'm not prepared and getting to learn a lot to be kind of the head of planning when it comes to lead projects with other areas. This is a challenge and an accomplishment. Graduatly i've become a two headed monster, I work within both strategy and creativity, and working with the latter have seen become confident in owning not just insights, but also ideas/concepts, protecting and nurturing them like my babies.When I first started in planning placements, I got my best ideas during my evening jobs as a courier and behind the counter of a video store.I am still at early stages of my career so as I learn I have to confront things that are outside of my comfort zone, public speaking is one that I am struggling most with. I was invited to speak at a class at college and I used this as an opportunity to learn and grow. So I worked hard in preparing the class. Although I am sure I wasn¬¥t the best speaker, the students response was great and in the end I am glad that I did it. Running a design companyLike I said, I recently joined a initiative group aimed at setting up a community foundation in my hometown. I ended up being the executive director of the CF. And it is the most rewarding experience of my life, besides having my 2 yrs old daughter.Nothing as of yet, but best of luck!I've got to go to a meeting! Out of time!Working on 3 pitches at once. I don't have a story! I hope I have!Thanks, but no thanks.I changed career paths from market research to planning and there are learning curves associated with this.I stretch myself everyday as a planner. Solving problems, learning new things, sharing and presenting ideas. That's what I love about planning.Know the feeling but can't think of an example right now, soz.I really enjoyed the experience of leading and implementing a digital strategy for a financial services brand. Get stuck in!Every damn day I am outside my comfort zone, leading a team, managing a business, advising clients and battling with my own self confidence and internal voices. I embrace working outside my comfort zone nRun business workshops for product issues with clientsDeveloping business strategy for the agency on how to evolve our offering falls into this category. It's been rewarding so far and I'm making strides but it's very uncomfortable along the way.I challenged portuguese planners to create APG Portugal and eventually we did it last year. :) I was able to move from the account side into strategy and nowadays, after 4 years in strategy (8 in total), I'm the new Planning Director of a Digital Agency here in Lisbon, Portugal. This is also a challenge for me because this is a complete new discipline for me. My background is Advertising, then PR agency and then I spent the last 3 years working in Branding & Activation. Now is time for Digital.I'm planning to step outside my comfort zone. I'm pretty happy about it cause the market is very good here in Brazil. I'm young and the best time is now for me, cause if doesn't work, I can came back to the market with no problems. I did a campaign for a new client which was not well resourced enough at the planning phase, and research was thin on the ground. The creative work that ensued was weak, but as a relatively junior planner I thought I'd let the creatives make their vision. I learnt from the experience that it's easier to be firm with a client upfront on how much thinking time is required to do good work, and if you have a lingering feeling that the work is not right, you should voice it clearly before anything gets shot and made. Needless to say the results weren't terrible, but weren't great - but I learn't from the experience. when I broke up with my associates to have a lifethat's part of the everyday job here.Digital planning is always a mix of two things - the digital articulation of the brand strategy, and helping plan the execution, because the execution is so tightly woven with the strategy. I feel like digital planners are getting more out of the execution, and more into the big thinking of the brand planning, which has been a great challenge. I've always admired brand planners for their ability to articulate powerful ideas so simply, and am glad to finally have that opportunity, and get out of the purely executional side of things.This happens all the time, doesn't it? If it doesn't you should do something else maybe.Still working on my story.Since I was 20 something I have owned the companies I worked for (always with some other partners). And I think that more agencies will be headed by planners in a near future.Almost every month there are meetings where we start to talk about new projects and I'm not sure how I can get it all done. When I got this job as head of planning I wasn't sure I was good enough. I've learned to stomp on that impulse and watch as everything unfolds and nobody dies or screams at me.creating a pet project that someone pays me to doHow can we not stretch ourself in the ever evolving era we live in? I mean there is no such thing as social media experts or interactive art director nowadays. You need to be curious, be ready to explore, and be ready to feel some discomfort or you don't belong in this industry anymore. Same with non innovative clients, they'll lose the war if they dont realize there's no other recipe for success today than explore and go beyond what they did previously.starting an agency with two colleaguesImprov classI think as planners we are always having to work outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet, and do things we dont like, but we should all keep in mind that you never know what you may learn.I planned and executed a project in which I served lunch for over 30 people.This question is stretching me.No real story comes to mind .I wouldn't recommend working two fulltime freelance jobs at once. But I did it. Megapayday.The key thing now is to be international in mindset. No matter how hard it may be, make a move overseas to work and live. And keep doing it Led a two day workshop single-handed when my MD and CSD were trapped by the ash clouda lot of short stories, but none that I could tell here I keep it within the 9-5Planning social media strategy and managing social media presencethe only place i am comfortable is out of my comfort zoneNot sure if I have one.My stretching point came when I shifted from project management into strategy. I had to train myself to think differently; things that I worried about before were no longer important, and I had to learn a whole new language and tools.I think this is my favorite part. I jump into a lot of different accounts and different industries. I take it as a personal challenge to nail their brand and talk to them like I've been a part of their culture. Some industries have seemed more foreign than others but I stick to my gut once I've done my work. I've avoided any sticky situations by listening more than I ""proclaim"" To open your businnes is the most exciting journey someone can make with the carreer, aind it¬¥s more exciting when you see that you-ve done that without some more experience, but you done that anyway anda after 6 years, making a lot of mistakes, going and coming, it steel make sense.Sometimes it happens when the agency has worked too much and feels completely convinced about a campaign but the client throw it down...can't really think of something...On two occasions, I've worked on briefs which were far beyond anything I had imagined working at an agency. Both of them involved new business development. In both situations, I've carried out the background research, identified the business opportunities, written business plans and in 1 situation, executed it. Literally creating a new business from scratch. The stress and pressure were incredible, but they're also perhaps the best things I've done. They gave me the opportunity to stretch as far as possible, coupled with the rigour of actually having to make the plan work and prove it.The first time I had to fly to a city I'd never been to, drive out to people's homes and interview them, on camera for a new business pitch was a challenge. I have always been comfortable talking to people but knowing that my SVP and other very high up people were counting on me to get what we needed, to help us win the pitch and sell-in our idea added some pressure to it. I was never worried I couldn't do it, but just really wanted to do it well. I changed the job, although I was friends with my colleagues and I could have get a good position as a junior (after my intern). But it was kind of too comfortable and I made the next step: but now the new job is sometimes too demanding (with no experience). But that's great and I'm learning every day!!!I'm always trying to learn something new, and believe that's why I've managed to stay employed during this recession. When an account planner, I learned about media. When a media planner, I learned about buying. Now, I'm an account planner/manager, and am learning the basics of programming.i am working as a strategic planner as well as a user experience strategist in a digital agency. those two are quite connected (if not technical) as both roles represent customers (or users) within the company. I’m doing the podcast of the agency I work, interviewing interesting people each week.Seems like every project I'm on. I think just putting my hand up when the tough projects come along then deep diving into the research to figure out a solution. I recently organised, planned and ran a social media training session with a client. As a recent graduate it was a fantastic opportunity and I enjoyed the experience a lot. The client was lovely and really enjoyed the experience. The session lead to the development of a full social strategy which I am now working to implement.I worked for my first year as a planner without a planning director while delivering a global strategy for a leading sector brand. I was working with senior planners for other agencies who expected a certain level of delivery from us and me, and along with help from my creative director and the support of my account managers i had to figure out what it was, do the work and deliver it. It was a baptism of fire and i felt anxious everyday, but to be honest, i don't think i ever could have learnt more or grown more in a year then i did in that situation. It's fight or flight: read every book you can; talk to every planner that you meet at events; research every case study that you can and you figure it out. Some things i learnt the hard way (like when a client hacks apart a strategy after all of your work) and other things i think i learnt in a naive positive way (such as telling a global planning director in a big integrated agency that you don't 'get' why they're doing something in such a long winded way - which lead to a long pause and a revelation on their part).I can't think of anything right now...Pitching for a CPG brand, I had to write and ""direct"" (using a webcam) a short video that illustrated the consumer target and their mindset, interests, etc. The scripts were written on the fly, the voiceover was provided by a co-worker's boyfriend, and I was also one of the ""actors"". We ultimately didn't get the project, but everyone loved the video, thought it really hit the mark, and I even got kudos from the creative department for the writing.I've been unqualified for every job I've ever held. Never let the specified ""qualifications"" keep you from trying something new.during the dotcom bust i chucked my marketing / planner career and bought a small bicycle shop -- scratched the entrepreneurial itch. a world-changing experience for sure, i bring the entrepreneurial perspective now to my agency life quite often. everyone should try it for a while...I recently had to deliver a presentation via video conference to a group of high-level client execs. It's not the first time I've given a presentation, but it's rare that I get to present to senior execs. I was nervous but it went pretty well, and it was good experience.I got my first planning job at a digital agency where 'planner' was an inherently senior/leadership role. I'd never worked at agency, or in digital, and had this naive attitude that i would 'pick it up as i went'. And you know what? I was right. Coming in from a slightly different background meant that i had to think things through really critically, rather than just doing the same ol thing. Turned out that that made me a pretty good planner!2 years ago I did a planning of myself. I did a research about what are the planners in the market, what the companies are searching, which are the trends of communication. And I positioned myself. It really works, I had a focus and goals to guide my studies. I recommend to everybody to do that!I created a brand listening report without any prior experience. I had no idea what I was doing, so I gathered all the listening report decks I could find and learned from them, and my final report was a success.jumped into a digital agency without any digital backgroundi have tried to step up my game by taking more responsibility, be in charge and commit to delivering great work even when I didn't have to. this is often frightening but i think i will have a much better return if I do try than if i don'tI started my career in the financial market, strategic consulting and private equity. With a degree in Economics and a great salary when I was 25 I have decided to change. Pack my stuff and move to the US to start from ground zero, attending Academy of Art University. Back to Brazil I have worked as an art director for few good agencies. Did not enjoy much and almost decided to change again and become a cook (chef). Step back for a while and then after a good chat with mom, decided to open my own shop. Ginga today is comprised by 35 people and is leading digital communication in Brazil. I am very grateful for my mom.Well, i had to move to the social media area because there wasnt place for me in advertising agencies. Now i do planning on a social media consultancyThis happens quite frequently, as I came to my current agency/role as a communications planning director at a media agency. So I was used to operating within that role, and had to pickup a different skill-set to become a planner. But I personally believe the best planners were never planners before. They don't have preconceived notions. In order to excel though, needs to work in that doesn't value rules, just allows you to be.I don't have a specific story, but I feel like planners in general are pushed to do things outside of the formal bounds of their job titles. We tend to be really smart, capable people so we get stuck with a lot more responsibility than necessary. There have been times when I'm left to help a floundering media team (acting like a Media Director) or made to write copy for some random Facebook campaign. Planners naturally just have to figure out how to roll with the punches and get stuff done.Try freelance. I had to, not by choice, but by the economy. It was scary but you start to learn more about budgets ect as you become your own boss and have to worry about the bottom line. In my position, as a planner from a small digital agency, a feel my self very often in situation of doing some project over my capacity, but not because we are pioneers 100% of the time, but because digital and small agencies requires as dynamic and improvise environment. My big step was planning an executing a huge brand portal that took me more that 8 months of project.I seem to be repetitively able to sell myself into roles for which I'm not properly qualified. Learn on-the-job, so to speak, but you should also, reframe the job to facilitate the needs of the business or client. I recommend pushing yourself like this, but unlike me, learning how to manage yourself better when you do it. Everyone should read The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins. The most important thing to remember is that Planning is a leadership role, matrixed across other functions - not really sole contributor type gig. The most important thing is to know what your core competencies are, and what you need to trust others with. As a Planner, you are always working on projects that take you outside of your experience. Automotive or Financial one day, then Luxury or even Publishing. B2B or B2C, every business has nuances that its your job to suss out and understand, while always approaching the task with patience, diligence and an open mind. This is tricky, but never boring, and ultimately very rewarding. I moved from a strategy/account role, to an international product design lead role, to an ""official"" planning role at a big digital agency, to leading an internal UX/creative/development team. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses took a lot of time (and a lot of mistakes), but now I pretty much have the keys to the city. Its worth it, and it will make you a better person. My story isn't that exciting but I tried doing account management because i felt they were getting alot more power and the client face to face time. Hated it and came back to Planning :) I don't really have a huge one that comes to mind, but this year in particular has been a little out of my comfort zone. This year I started working at a digital agency for the first time. It took a while to get used to the language and the structure. For a while, I wasn't even sure exactly how to fill my days. Often times I'm the only planner on accounts, and that's really forced me to trust my gut. I worked on a global project with 7 other countries and it definitely made me realize how important it is to take the time to digest things. Making time to take things in and not being afraid to make a decision are two areas that have really grown this year.I spent nearly 4 years travelling around the world, that gave me a lot of cultural baggage that today I use in my carrer.Doing things that require talking to strangers on the streets. I am a Planner who trained in the traditional offline world. After 16 year in the business - and realizing that digital was going to rule our industry in this new decade - I prepared myself to bridge the gap between offline and online, and bring the best principles of consumer discovery to the digital world. Mission accomplished.My inspiration is the internetA 45min presentation to our client's CMO on my first official day as a planner...sink or swim timeCan't think of anything here. All I can say is that I'm in a more long term ""pushing myself"" experience right now as I moved from brand communications to deeply digital strategy. its the deep end and its the learning experience to get what i important and what is common practice and fold that into my experience and point of view. Plus there is a level of autonomy which is new for me as well so the challenge there is to not rest on doing what I do best but actually try to do new stuff in the absence of a rigid system and basically see what works and what doesnt work. Its all a big meta meta experiment right now. that part is comfortable. The area outside of my comfort zone I would guess is where I'll have to apply soe proposed technique I never tried before on a project in order to get it done. Then I'll either fail or succeed and have a story for next time.Once I managed a project in which we had to transform diferents parts of the city into totally diferent countries, we had to create and manage the production os outdoors, labels, signs, and everything so the set would look like, Italy, Japan, China and Germany in record time. We had to translate, search for references of each culture and at the end everything went very well. That was quite a chalenge.learning more about the 'hard data' side of the businessMoving to a digital agency after 9 or 10 years in traditional agencies was purposefully to stretch myself. There have been a million instances I've been outside of my comfort zone and I haven't regretted it for a minute.nothing comes to mindWorking with different areas of client's businesses really stretched me out, sometimes we have to adjust with the client's company culture as wellbuilding a brand from the inside out. as a digital strategist it happen more and more often, that it is our job to consulting our clients to manage the step in the digital age holistic as a whole company. i think this is the most exciting time right know, cause it's the right thing to do brand building and developing from the inside of a company and culture.Doing my first major ad:tech presentation to 100 people with 48hrs notice as a stand-in for my CEO.My parent are ashamed of me and my career choice as they perceive marketing as being vulgar. I ended up doing this mainly as en excuse to date a girl I thought was impressed by this line of work. She was not.I've done changed what I do on numerous occasions. Either because forced on me via redundancy or else out of sheer boredom with the repetitive cycle (and client meetings) in ad agencies. So from traditional ATL planner I been a client, a freelance brand consultant, and now I a digital planner. Each time jumping into it, thinking how the hell am I going to do this. Blagging through interviews that I have the experience or know what I'm talking about. Somehow learning as I go, and finally settling in to be a part of it. Then getting bored again, and wanting a change!Several times I have analysed my own career and reaslised I was in a role or sector without promise. To help change course I did 2 postgrad diplomas in marketing strategy (CIM), and digital strategy (IDM), spent a good deal of time networking with others - (LinkedIn is great for this), and went out of my way in whichever company I've worked at to give myself the opportunity to work on what I needed to. This has often taken up weekends and nights but is well worth it!When I was brought in to develop a social marketing strategy for a client in Chicago, I was forced to step outside my comfort zone at the time. I had no idea what it takes to develop a social marketing strategy and the client was counting on me to have all the answers. It required a lot of research on the industry, best practices, what would work/would not work for my client, to come up with an effective strategy. In the end, I was successful and I am glad I took on the project as it exposed me to a whole new world. Being in a smaller agency, you end up having to wear a lot of hats. When I was first hired here, I was functioning as a hybrid AE and Account Planner; and although I'm not out of the woods yet, it's definitely improving. Last fall we decided we were going to enter a new business pitch up again 20 other agencies for a very substantial piece of business. I was, and remain, the youngest planner on our team and assigned to the task. Round 1: the typical RFI submission and we moved forward to the Top 10. Round 2: A creative and capabilities presentation on-site at the client headquarters where we continued to advance to the Top 3. Round 3: Clients come to our offices for a day to see more capabilities presentations, get a feel for our culture and how we would work together. Now, outside of my general planning responsibilities, you know: research, identifying the consumer, brief, prepping creative, brainstorming, ensuring creative is on-brand, presenting, etc. I also assumed the role of planning the day that the client was coming on-site, and this was no easy task. At the time, we were operating in three different offices in the same town because we had grown so rapidly. We had a total of five conference rooms, that at max could seat 12 people (and not comfortably). The client was bringing down ten people from their team and we had at least 8 different people on our team needing to deliver presentations and interact with them. The entire day had to be meticulously planned; we gathered employees for practices and walked them through the offices - seeing what would work and what wouldn't. We had to account for transportation between offices in a way that didn't feel cumbersome. We knew how important it was for the day to be streamlined, on schedule, engaging and demonstrative of our culture and abilities as an agency. I couldn't have been more nervous. We had two weeks to prepare and I can't even count how many hours I worked during those 14 days. In the end, the day could not have went smoother. I was impressed with myself and my team and I think everyone shared similar sentiments. In the end, we didn't win the business, and yet, somehow no one really seemed to mind. We all knew that we had done our absolute best and that was enough: no hard feelings, no disappointment. I've never experienced anything like it. Oh, but wait, that's not the real end. The real end came when the client came back to us three months later telling us that ""the honeymoon period"" with the agency they had chosen ""was over."" And you know what was great? Instead of jumping at the opportunity, we laid out some ground rules. We told them that unless they could provide us with X, then we weren't going to take on their business. And that's how it ended. We're not working with them today, but we're still in close contact. I have no doubt that we will probably work with them in the future. But when I think back to that time and the chaos and pressure and immeasurable efforts that went into it, I feel a sense of personal and professional pride for what we accomplished. Our dignity, pride, skill and compassion showed all the way through the pitch process and beyond and I'm so proud to have been able to be a part of it.Sent to SXSW with the specific request of bringing back valuable connections or business. As a planner with about 3 years of experience this was a task I didn't feel qualified for. I was comfortable representing the agency in some capacity, but not from a business-generating standpoint. The assignment pushed me to meet more people I wouldn't have sought out for my own interest and forced me to try and understand their business and point of view. I think it gave me a better perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur (since that's the majority of the people I met), and thinking about the future of agencies. Specifically, how various business ideas can be adjusted and tweaked to better each party.Being asked to gather data points on a consumer segment without the aid of any research and/or partner sources. Google monkeying away. Not such a great experience at the time, but in the long-term, gives great perspective to what you can do with less and how precious a wealth of information can be. Usually I feel very comfortable doing new things... a few years back i accepted a planning position in china => to bring P&G brands into tier 3 and 4 cities in china. it was terrifying! here i was, completely illiterate and unable to relate to my target, and i had to find a way to connect with them and glean powerful insights. it was a total challenge and struggle but in the end, i learned so much and grew so much in terms of my own creativity and approach to connecting with people. i learned that really only 7% communications is verbal; the other 93% transcends culture + language barriers, it's there for the taking if you hone in on it.I started my career as a planner freelancing, and throughout the years I can honestly say that practically every project I worked on took me out of my comfort zone to the point that I lost sleep wondering if I could accomplish the task I had been given. I think that if you feel too comfortable with what you are doing, you are probably not challenged enough. One can never feel too comfortable or too confident in this discipline. The less you know about something, the more you will learn about it. My first big presentation to a group of strangers.Much like people holding creative positions within an agency, I am never quite sure where my next idea or insight will come from. Dealing with this uncertainty requires a daily exercise in stretching myself to draw from a wide variety of sources. This task has been less of a ""step outside of my comfort zone"" and more about becoming comfortable with not having all the answers right away. Starting a new job and immediately being given the task to launch a popular brand in the UK across Europe (research, brand strategy, channel strategy and creative)I think I stretch myself everyday. I'm constantly doing things that I (or anyone I know of for that matter) hasn't done before. I think that helps me find new ways of thinking about stuff and new ways of telling stories and finding opportunity for clients within the work we do together.I've recently took the responsibility of managing an entire project for the agency, since we wouldn't be able to take it otherwise. Interfacing with the client, following up on the team's work, managing the schedule, estimating budgets, charging suppliers. I needed a whole lot of help and patience from colleagues, but it was a great opportunity to have a better understanding of how we might improve our internal processes and information flow.The second job you have after school is a giant step. Nobody remembers when you were an intern or just learning the ropes, and they just assume you're qualified once you've proven yourself initially. In my first job, I wasn't used to really owning a project from beginning to end. While I was comfortable with client meetings and leading focus groups, I certainly didn't give one fifth of the number of client presentations that I do in my current, more intermediate role. Getting over my fear of public speaking (in front of my boss and larger groups of senior clients) only happened by doing it over and over again in this new role. Planners are an interesting group. We all have to be good communicators, or we wouldn't be hired, but many of us are more introverted. It would be hard to do as much research and immerse ourselves in projects like we need to if we weren't a little hermit-like. The best, most senior planners I've met have all been excellent public speakers, even if they weren't the most extroverted people each and every day at the office. The rewards that come from stretching yourself and becoming really comfortable (and engaging) as a public speaker far outweigh the immediate comfort of staying in a job that isn't pushing you to do these things.briefing traditional agenciesSometimes I think working for a big company in times of ""digital"" changes does not worth. All because this huge structures, in my opinion, are not efficient anymore. And that's why each time more I try to push entrepreneurship.Creating a social listening and enegagement campaign using Facebook and Twitter for a very conservative global insurance organisationGet out of agency management and do something that I really like doing - strategyI find that presenting is the most difficult thing to ""learn"". One tends to be especially nervous when clients are senior. However, the key to presenting well is simply to stay calm, present with confidence, and to leave room for questions. After many difficult presentation, I've learned to, instead of presenting, to have a 'conversation with slides'. This works well, and is a key skill worth learning - for planning and many other roles.Dealing with numbers. Well, that's a bit dramatic, as I took 3 stats courses in grad school. But, I really didn't enjoy cutting data, etc. However, I've learned that planning is not just a right brained craft. Being able to really understand data has helped me uncover some great insights. I think planners need to make it a point to sharpen their math skills. Playing out of my comfort zone for me involves presenting ideas to a client. You're never sure if you're going to make a fool of yourself or look like a knowledgeable asset. To an extent, I think I've probably done both of these in the past.In a recent team training exercise, there were individuals from different disciplines, but there was no one from Creative. I took on the role of copywriter on the team and was recognized for my ""creative"" writing. So often, as planners, we write in business terms and it was phenomenal to be recognized for being able to also write ""the other way.""Finding your voice and your persona as a planner is a difficult challenge. It took me a while to be confident without being arrogant (at least I think I'm not). Self-reflection and self-honesty is our most powerful tool.I always wanted to work exclusively with Branding, so one and a half year ago I quit the advertising agency where I was Head of Digital Planning to join a Branding Office. The experience was very frustrating. I found out very early that Branding Offices in Brazil are focused on Brand Identity and very distant from deep investigations, unique insights and brand building - exactly the opposite that I used to believe. I became very frustrated, because I joined the company to learn more and deeply about Branding and to do so took a step back in my career (financially and my position). At the same time, I believe the company became frustrated also, because my strategic skills weren't focused on graphic design references. After 6 months I quit the job to join a Digital agency as Planning Director, but the period that I worked at the Branding Agency was very important to help me to decide what I really want to do for living.I often say that you can't be an expert in something you've never done before but you can become very good at processes that help to make it easier and run more smoothly. I feel that most new projects are about innovation and doing something new - I've had to get very comfortable with working without a net.Our unit operates on a trial by fire system. Because we are growing and learning in the area of digital planning, we are often thrown into situations that we have not previously experienced. I try to approach each new challenge positively and form new ideas based on past errors. I try not to be afraid of thinking AND doing. Sometimes you just have to do it and apologize (or accept praise) later. In the digital world, there's no time to second guess or theorize; you must DO things to learn things. In the winter of 2010 i was over weight and felt bad for my self all the time. Destructive living in short. At that time a major change in my life made me want to lose weight and get healthy. Now 22 kgs lighter I live by the fact that I can do anything, if I set my mind to it. I'm a great public speaker, but teaching makes me incredibly anxious. This spring our director signed the whole department up to teach a class on digital strategy at Academy of Art University. I was responsible for the two classes on writing the creative brief, and I stressed about my two classes for months. I produced a 14 minute video of interviews with creatives, I gathered brief formats from 9 other agencies, and I constantly rewrote my curriculum. The day after the class, the students' advisor wrote to tell me that the kids couldn't stop talking about how much they got out of my class. What a fantastic thing to hear.I'm a people-person, which means I'm always looking for ways to connect with people. A few years ago, I was doing research for a drug company and had some pretty intimate conversations with consumers. Maintaining boundaries was really challenging and I left feeling pretty upset about the exchange. There are lot of times we just left one work and joined new place just to know there is same shit which we try ruining away. Lot of Descion were hurriedHaving the courage to tell my MD the current Planning Tool we had (from our global partners) was not very relevant for buidling the planning but was more useful for presenting to the Client. When we attended an EMEA Planning conference some 6 months later, other Planners from the head office said same - in fact only one used it in his presentation!assume strong parti pris about a brand and go to present it to a marketing director. it seems simple, when you're a planner but it's beyoond what you usually do : taking risk by affirming something the guy in front of you don't want to hear.on the first day for this job, i was set out to win a pitching for a client all alone. it means, the strategic plan and the communication plan was done all by myself. after a month, we won the pitch, it was great, but there's no time to think much. Just like a marine being sent to the middle of a war zone. For planners, that was something definitely out of the comfort zoneI have had pay all the staff 2 developers 2 graphic artists, a 2 junior marketers and do staff drinks , being all cheery but knowing I couldnt tell anyone I had no money to take home of my own and that I had to do a night SEM contract job to keep up payments it nearly broke not being able to talk about it.See above. Trying to change the culture of a firm and rebrand said firm is not easy and it may have been too much to attempt all in one go without strong enough support form senior leadershipevery brief!I left traditional advertising in 2007 because I was tired of TV spots, radio, and print executions--my agency wasn't involved in anything digital at that point. I had a feeling the ""world wide webernet"" might just be around to stay and there was more interesting work to be found in that space. So I left the comfortable job I had for 7 years and took a job as one of the first planners at a large digital agency. The only one in the Atlanta office. I had to 1. figure out the digital space, 2. figure out how I could add value to what was going on at the company at the time and 3. figure out how to explain to the other departments what I could do for them (some were open to it, others were definitely not--like UX--they thought they were were owners of consumer insight and so I was totally stepping on their toes). It was hard and scary, and honestly we still struggle in some areas to get the 'digital natives' to understand what a planner from a 'traditional agency' can do for them, and we still have creatives who think they know it all and don't need any help, but I've proven my value many times over the past 4 years--especially in new business pitches--and now it's very clear when/how/where I come in and add value. I've got a great team and I'm happy & challenged b/c I'm still always figuring out new ways to add value, new ways to gather insight, engage consumers, inspire creatives, etc. the digital space changes so often, that we're always learning something new and that's really important to me in my career.Leaving my past job in Los Angeles for an uncertain (now really good) opportunity in New York. Uprooting oneself where you are comfortable to a place where you know few people can be risky.I think all my career is outside the comfort zone!! The digital world is always changing and evolving!I learned the trapeze at age 45it was almost a year ago i was in charge of a presentation. it was the first time i had so much responsabilities so i was really enrvous about it. i kept working on and on, and little by little i achieve my first recommandation. it was when the boos approove it without criticise that i was proud. but the hardest part was to present it to the client. it was not the best presentation but i managed to do it without panicking!I began my job experience in a very big agency to learn all the basics but I wasn't really at ease (to big, to political, not very human). It was an unforgivable experience and I think I'm better now. After this experience, I wanted to go back to an agency in with which I shared some values. I'm in it right now !the desire the build brands from A to Z. (entrepreneur is a solution)""Digital"" planning is exactly this. Utilizing your ""traditional"" planning self in other arenas... We're comms planners, content strategists, stand in ux people... Everyday in digital is trying something new and stepping outside what traditional planning is billed to beI'd love to put something inspiring but my brain has died. Put that down to 8 weeks of stressful strategising on the project from hell that just got canned by the client.understanding the whole tech limitations/possibilities bit when planning for a digital channel + going too deep in digital media planning.I lean a lot on my personal background of account management a lot. It really helps when you have to articulate a direction to a client, to be able to understand their needs and where they are coming from, to the craft a discussion and story that enables the direction and intended solution to come across as one that is right for their needs. I am trained as a planner but at my current job, I'm ""in charge"" of social media strategy. This has greatly expanded my knowledge of the digital realm, in addition to giving me experience that I felt my last planning job did not require.Increasingly doing more writing that is appearing as website copy and producing long-form video contentNot a story, so much as an anecdote. I used to always looking around and see who the expert is when I was younger. Now, I realize an expert doesn't always exist, and you sometime have to pretend that you're it. Most of the stretching I do has more to do with shrinking. I'm very used to working with big budgets and lots of time. More recently most everything I work on is quick and cheap and dirty and not what I call true planning. Stretching myself to not be a pain-in-the-ass planner has been hard.I walked into this job on a Wednesday thinking it was a meet & greet. By Wednesday afternoon I was meeting with planners, account people, creatives to pull together the kernels of a creative brief. On Friday, we briefed the creative leadership. 10 days later, I was in a foreign country, pitching the work to the clients for a lead agency role. The campaign was undeniably mine - my insight into mobile culture, my strategy for the consumer experience, even my line (not a great line, but the clients and creatives really connected with it). Two weeks later we found out we won. Everyone was incredibly proud of the work and effort and collaboration that brought this together so quickly; our sister agencies were excited about working with us to execute the campaign; our clients were inspired by an opportunity to do something really different. It was awesome.i took a tactically-thinking creative team and tried to teach them what it meant think big branding. it took some push back with some very strong voices, but this little planner could!Put $$ aside to travel, see what's on the other side of the world. I sold my car to spend a 7 months in America (west coast and NYC). I tried looking for jobs, but the market was much better in Singapore and Asia. It turned out to be an enriching experience nonetheless. I came back to Singapore more inspired than I have been for the past few years and a lot wiser.I dabbled in the CRM world and survived just barely.I once did stakeholder interviews with high-ranking managers across all departments of huge corporation in a category and a country I never worked before. I didn't really know what I was talking about. It was not just culturally a great experience but also to see, that improvisation is probably the planner's most important skill that can never be learned enough. I think I came across quite well.I have a traditional agency background... and now I work at a digital shop... My entire perspective has changed about marketing. Opening up to new things and new approaches is AMAZING. Being involved in your first app or piece of software is much more rewarding than getting an ad on TV. Creating something that people want to engage with, or a utility that improves everyday life has a certain staying power that ads don't. I'm now obsessed with pushing things further and further and couldn't be more excited about the future, and the lack of boundaries.I always prided myself on being a ""creative"" type, not being responsible, leaving many tasks and organizational skills to the producers and account folks. The higher I got the more those things came to haunt me and I sucked my first 6 months as a Director. I was disorganized, my teams were unhappy, people were lost (process) clients were all over the place. It took a small miracle to get more focused, organized, start using checklists, getting buttoned up but in the end those skills are 50% I think, doing good thinking can't be done if the clients, folks you work with and all the other details aren't aligned to help it through. Taking my first planner job with no strict 'planning' experience except reading Jon Steele etc (I'd previously worked in other agency and consultancy roles) put me completely out of my comfort zone. I didn't really know what a digital / content / social strategy 'should look like' ie processes, frameworks, deliverables etc. This was a bit scary as suits, designers, management etc would look to you for all the answers, reinforcing the idea that strategy is a dark art that's only understood by seasoned professionals. You get there with the frameworks etc, but the important thing is not to get paralysed by not knowing 'how the document will look' or 'what the process is' right away - there's no such thing as the right way to present a strategy and getting there is rarely a linear process. Immerse yourself in finding stuff out about how people think about the category, or why they don't think about the category at all - but don't wait for the killer insight before proceeding. Get other people involved - suits, creatives, whatever. Share some insights and work with them to generate a list of lots of different ways to tackle the problem and generate some initial ideas. Sometimes doing a 'day in the life' exercise can be a good way to stimulate thinking - make sure you don't limit your scenario to their relationship with the product in question. This will help you figure out what's important and once you've got a feel for how you might motivate people, your strategy will start flowing. Recently i have had to wear two hats - as a strategic planner and content strategist including having to audit 800 pages of website content! Not for the faint hearted! This also involved confronting one of my major weak spots - attention to detail. Whilst it would have been much easier to not to it, doing it gave me access to the complete picture - in this case all their existing website content and therefore a better understanding of what needed to be done - in the context of being the digital strategic lead, this knowledge has been hugely empowering - both in front of the client and in being able to lead my internal team.Design work and development, gave me a lot of experience to work with the creative team and understand the limitations.I founded an internet startup, that was sort of successful (Biz Stone used it), but lost interest before it made any money.For me every great brief starts with not knowing what the solution is. One has to be comfortable with that uncertainty in order to suspend opinion. That's usually when something great is happening. Every time. Currently trying to start a series of ongoing innovation sessions, where the whole team gets together to jam on interesting problems outside of our normal work. It's something I'm really passionate about, but getting buy-in from others and keeping the momentum going will be tough. forget the consequences, step by step, walk into the scariest of unknowns and before you know it, you're adapting to it and thriving.had to take over the ownership of a huge project and become its ""face"" after the key acct people on it left the agency...while at the same time juggling my day-to-day and ""big-picture"" planning responsibilities.Well, media planning. As noted our shop is small and our media lead left. So I've been running that, which has been uncomfortable, but oddly enough current campaign performance is much improved.My first day on the job several years ago, the company pitched (and subsequently won) a piece of business that included a social media listening component. At that time there were no real models of how to approach it, not even best practices. We were all a little (ok, a lot) intimidated but got to work and developed an approach that has now evolved into a global practice through trial and error and a commitment to getting the job done. The important thing was just to start trying and learning from that process until we found models and practices that worked for us and met our clients needs - fear of failure would have been the one thing that sunk us.I ran an actionplan recently having no idea about the client or how to do actionplans. I made it up. I literally made it all up as I went along. I do not recommend making stuff up as a sound working method, I'll be honest, but it did give me confidence. Much of advertising is about how you say something, not what you say it. Once you realise that, it's liberating. The people I admire most and largely who I think have the most effective approach are people who don't take this industry too seriously. A lot of it is confidence and panache. We aren't rocket scientists. Nobody dies if a campaign goes wrong.I feel like I stretch myself almost every day at work. We are a small agency, but do a huge volume of work. As a junior planner I'm not always as experienced as I'd like to be at some things and am often pushed to take on more and more responsibility in my job. I love the challenge. I used to report to and support a senior planner all of the time, but now I work on my own projects for the most part and just do feedback sessions with senior planners. That's all happened in the last 5/6 months since getting hired full-time. Every new challenge - writing for new publications, public speaking, large consulting engagements - are intimidating. No matter how much I do, I still get ""stage fright"" from these kinds of things, which I assume is a healthy connection to the possibility of failure and/or my own inadequacy or shortcomings. I wouldn't want to lose that.becoming a planner is that stepTaking the lead and then knowing it was my fault when it failed. Maybe it wasn't my idea that was bad, but my other planner responsibilities weren't fulfilled to the best they could be.Every day at work I still hold true to the idea of ""fake it til you make it"" but shhhh....Always try to live outside my comfort zone.I like to' do copywritingBlowing up the brief into a full story book and taking the 20+ team offsite for a ""reading"". Was scared beyond belief that it would come over as lame. Ultimately loved by all, won internal award, loved by creative etc. Coolio.My first client-facing meeting as a junior planner was intended to be watching the account-retained Planning Director present ideas to the client. He didn't make it so I had to step in cold. It was intimidating but all turned out fine. Taught me that it's often scarier thinking of what might happen than actually doing it.The shift from my 5 years as a creative into digital strategy took a big leap of faith from my employer -- as well as trusting my own instincts and how they could translate in a new environment and a new role.I have never had a comfort zone. I am constantly redefining what I do and how I do it. We are like detectives, and this forensic approach to strategy requires the avoidance of well-worn paths. I depend on nothing and take an entrepreneurial and speculative approach to all of my work and activities. I try to work every opportunity, every activity to professionally map to my goals when possible. I left my last job in a great place - I had a good team, great boss, and big-name clients. When I was approached with the new opportunity, which was to come over and start a planning team/discipline from scratch I found it to be extremely exciting and challenging at the same time. I loved the idea of being able to build a team exactly the way I'd like to, and to be able to focus on planning as a way to improve the output of an agency. But it has also been a big challenge, as I spend quite a bit of time helping the agency understand the value my team brings, and why planning should be a core part of the agency's offering. In addition to growing and mentoring the team, it leaves less time than I'd like for hands-on work - but my hope is to fix that soon.Being assertive and learning to say no.Changing to digital was already a big change of mindset. I got asked one morning to present for our Head of Mobile at a conference that afternoon. I didn't know the subject matter and was only going to get the presentation an hour before getting on stage. Despite this I agreed to do it for the experience and after inital fear of standing on a massive stage in front of 200 people, I had loads of fun taking people through the thinking and work. It wasn't the best presentation anyone's ever done but no one left the room while I was talking...Haha. Running 11 focus groups in azerbaijan. SittIng next to a hairy smelly man screaming broken English translations into my right ear as I watched a room full of people discuss Azeri mobile phone companies. If you can do that you can do anything :)Most of the stretching at our agency is because of our quick growth. We spend a ton of time filling the gaps where others don't have time to. It's not glamorous to hand-hold a PM or write emails for our account executives, but the head of our company says ""our planners are the smartest people in our agency, it's nice when they can guide our other departments""Being very new, it often feels like I am stretching myself beyond what I can do. Working on my first brief was very difficult - it requires certain patterns of thinking that need to be practised.Running a business and product development workshop with 35 clients over 4 weeks. I then had to present our recommendations (with the head of marketing) to the Board - many of whom were non-marketing people. It was great to raise my profile, but also made me realise I could probably tackle anything.When I was still a junior I worked on a pitch which the subject was boring and difficult and related to the government and a few other suppliers and associations. Specially beacuse the subject was so different and the target was not B2C, it would never work on traditional or digital media. I had absolutely no knowledge about B2B whatsoever. I decided to go as I could. Built the project as if it was another of the big campaigns I could work on, developed a concept and so on. And then, asked for help specially with the mediums and points of contact. I was th one who presented it (with no supervision), and I only had like 1 year and a half of experience. We won the pitch.Trying to apply the ever-changing world of digital channels and social is always a challenge Well, that's the only problem I have with my current job. In the last year, I haven't been as challenged as I would like. Things have been way too comfortable. Time to shake things up. Moving from a well-known and respected agency to one that is in re-birth mode was a big deal for me this brand presence of competitors, iconic brands, inspirational digital executions, and formulation of the digital brand strategyThe past year, I've pushed back and challenged the clients in ways that I was always very nervous to do in an account driven agency. In the interval between keeping internal client relationship holders happy and delivering great work by pushing completely back on clients..... there was anxiety and internal tension, that was accompanied by amazed clients at our strategic capabilities. Worth it. Put together a full-scale strategy recommendation with no guidancesad but can't think of anythingRecently, I had a query from a client "" Can you help me understand Barcodes , my boss wants a POV next week?"" As I said earlier, I am fairly new to the digital and direct world. But here was my new client, looking to me for help and I could not let her down. I spent a weekend reading, learning and finding out everything I could about the barcode technology. I put together a quick primer on QR codes and sent it to her, so she could have an informed discussion with her Marketing head. Needless to say, the brand manager was extremely grateful and appreciative of the agency 's pro-activeness in making her look good.Well, I live by myself in Sao Paulo, which is actually a pretty good daily challenge, and I've been doing so for over 5 years now. I plan on traveling and taking a course abroad in the near future, maybe London or the US.The change of marketing planning was an example out of comfort zone. After five years working in the area decided to risk planning and had to roll up our sleeves and go deeper to understand the complex world of consumers. Then I realized that before you see them as consumers or clients, I need to see them and understand them as people first.Managing a research group.I'm not that comfortable with the notion of self promotion and would rather let my work do the talking rather than put myself forward as a keynote speaker. However, I'm at the stage in my career where I need to raise my profile in the industry and play the game a bit better. So when I was invited to join the IAB social media council I embraced the opportunity with both hands. This has opened up many public speaking opportunities including presenting at big events, joining discussion panels, getting involved in training courses and producing white papers. In fact one of my whitepapers now has 15k views on slideshare which still never ceases to amaze me! I also started writing an industry blog on interactive marketing and social media which has had 27k visitors since its inception a year ago. I'm not a quant -- my background is in journalism and communications. Yet I've had to learn the languages of analytics and statistics in order to interact with the analysts who mine data on my behalf. And I've learned along the way that I really love it -- I hated it in school, but that's because I didn't see anything I could do with it. I think that my carrer challenge so far was the change from a big agency in my city to a smaller one, focused in direct marketing. This change made me grow, because my responsibilities in this job are really bigger than in the old one. If I were worried about the size or name of the companies, I would have lost a great opportunity in my live. Every day takes me out of my comfort zone on somethingWell that's tricky. The only thing that I can think of is: after just 4 months working at my agency I was asked to pitch for new business with the CEO, Director of Planning, the Creative Director and the Client Service Director. It was full on.Sure there is something but doesn't come to mind. I got made redundant last Summer, so I went freelance. Best. Thing. I Ever. Did. Better (and more challenging) work, better clients, less stress and more money.Successfully organizing a conference in a country I had never been to, with co-organizers I had never met in person before, was a bit of a stretch. Worth the experience as it led to new opportunities and contacts..Not really, maybe I should do this!There was a client, that had contracted a consultant team and I was at this team. Then, during the job we realize that one of the biggest problems of the client was at his logistics. And then I needed to re-organize his logistics, what I havent did before. Maybe my calculations was wrong, but we presented the client a new logistic-plan about 60% less expensive and not a plan to increase sales that was what the client ask. The client liked the result and agreed that the logistics was to expensive and he didnt notice before, and agreed too about he didnt need the sales increase, because with increased sales would increase logistic and possibly dont give the result he thinked about.The biggest stretch I have ever done in my professional life was to become a planner, while I still lived in Brazil. I used to be a graphic designer in one of the largest agencies in the region I am from (Belo Horizonte, Brazil). After my masters in Brand Management, I was hired by one of the best design shops in the region to start and head the Brand Strategy department. I completely stepped out of my comfort zone and I was constantly challenged , but I never learnt so much!There are times in many individual careers where we have to step outside of our comfort zone and do something we aren't completely sure we can do. I have a feeling these stories will inspire other planners. Perhaps you enjoyed the experience or perhaps you didn't succeed at what you set out to accomplish, but if you have a story of personally stretching yourself beyond what you were certain you could do, would you please share it here? *I'm definitely an introvert by nature - I'd much prefer to sit back and observe behavior rather than get in front of people and ask them questions. I recently did a freelance project where I was dropped into a local market, all my planned meetings were canceled, and I had to improvise a lot of research. I found that people are way more willing to talk to you about their feelings about a brand than you may think. For every rude person there are multiple people who have plenty to say and are very nice about it. And sometimes the places that you least expect to find great research and insights will lead you to the best research and insights. I never wanted to focus myself on pure communication planning, so I went to college to be more focused on the business side, which is something that our market lacks a lot (most planners do not understand how clients work). If you're not feeling uncomfortable or stretched at least once a week you're not developing as much as you could be! taking the leap from being full-time employee for over 10 years to self-employment. The most liberating thing I have ever done.In my career, after 16 years, I realized that the world of advertising agencies is limited (at least in Venezuela) I decided to try out on my own business. It has been a complex experience, full of risks and frustrating moments. however, I think it is a necessary experience if you want to grow up Account planning from outside ad agencies is a higher levelquitting my job to go freelance. it was scary but it's the best career move i've ever made. I'm learning more than I ever thought possible, I'm more fulfilled, growing as a planner, doing some great work, with fantastic people - it's scary doing work outside my comfort zone but a wonderful challenge. that and I have a terrific work/life balance and I'm earning more money than I did in a permanent agency role. a big leap of faith but one I'm so glad i did!Quit a job and go freelance - even if it feld completely scary at first. Learning I can do it - struggle through tougher economic climate not giving up but using this phase to experiment e.g. with blogs and writing, expanding network. Going out and teaching planning classes even though I truly hate to speak to bigger groups - great chance to reflect on what makes up my job and how I actually go about doing it. Learning new skills all the time, step by step - exploring new territory one day at a time - e.g. with going freelance I knew I want to set up a company in the long run - taking this up very slowly with finding a business partner, making a plan, coming up with a concept etc - finding the right pace for me and us to do it - as there is no consistent plan that works for everyone. Coaching kidsQuitting my nice comfortable job to go sail the open seas of freelancing. Reading poetry out loud to others. We all present, but this is very intimate act, because it really is all you.Develop a start up company, in progress but as hard as I'd ever thought it would be and still oppressive.took over an ""internal branding workshop"" from a collegue, which included elements of communication training & team building - never did that before. surprisingly during the workshop some long-sleeping ideas from my university studies emerged and I skipped the program from team-building to organization diagnosis. very well perceived by participant. inspired by this experience, I decided to broaden my portfolio into change management etc. and wrote in for a professional advanced trainingAt very young age, I was called to work in the marketing team of a presidential election. First, I was surrounded by very experienced people in this field. I decided to learn with them as much as I could with them. It was very intense and unique.Quitting a job that wasn't right for me without anything else lined up was one of the most courageous and scary things I've done. Then deciding to take on my own side projects in that time - who knew if I could satisfy my clients or where to even start, but I accomplished my first project and got repeat business, as well as referrals. It felt great.The first time I moderated a focus group was pretty daunting. It was for a high tech client so the group was mainly comprised of male software engineers. I was a 26 year old female and I was intimidated. I went in with my moderator guide and I think they must have felt sorry for me because within five minutes they were all trying to make me feel at ease. After those first few minutes, the conversation was interesting and flowed and no one seemed to care about my sex or age. Most importantly, we ended up with some great insights.I am a Community First Responder in the UK. If someone local to me needs an ambulance and there isn't one nearby then they send me ahead. We are primarily there for time-critical, life-threatening emergencies: cardiac arrests, heart attacks, breathing problems. I have had to learn completely new skills and have faced situations I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. It's nothing to do with Planning - it's to do with real life and real priorities, to do with what's really important to people. It makes me a better person and indirectly a better planner.sing show tunesWhen the economy tanked in 2000/01, the agency where I work closed its doors. I co-founded my own agency with two colleagues. I've since left it - it's still open and doing well - but the first year was all high and lows as I learned about IT systems, finding office space, accountants and learning the ins and outs of incorporating. Figuring out what you want your own agency to stand for is very heady and empowering. Winning your first client is fantastic. Your first check is beautiful.No inspiration here. I hate running client meetings (love running focus groups) and every time I try, I walk away reminded of why this is just not my strength. But I do it when asked and do my best each time.Freelancing itself is difficult because you have to jump in and just pick up and go. It's stressful but exciting.I never thought I could succeed as a freelancer, but these last couple of years I've actually done that. I've networked my ass off, raised my hand to do all sorts of projects (including straight-up research projects and heavy-duty financial / quant stuff) and kept the lights on at home as a result. 2008-9 was kind of rough, but 2010-2011 has been a different story. People are calling ME, and I'm actually turning work down. Scary, eh? I'm currently working with an inventor and entrepreneur as well as some friends in a design agency to launch a completely new product in a new market.Moving to a new country, knowing nobody and having to start all over again is daunting.. But I will get there :)Last year I had the opportunity to work on a US piece of business while being based in Toronto, Canada. What made the project so interesting was that it would be looking at North American as a market and allow me to work with a VP at BBDO on the project as we try to street a client who wanted to head online. The client has primally been in print, radio and the odd TV spot in it's 30 years. They did do some SEO but beyond that they weren't online that much. The challenge was figuring out where the client should be online and how to focus their time along with a new website that was being taken into account. One of the biggest projects I've worked on and a strong focus on social media. As a freelancer, I try to deliberately take on clients & projects where there's a significant element i've never done before (eg. target market, product category, media channels, etc)Sometimes I need to learn procedures on the job or write survey guides in less than optimal time for me. (It's due asap because the client waited so long to start the project.) This can be stressful if the stakes are high. So far so good. It pays to know how to stay calm in a crisis!i left an amazing job at an agency to go out on my own with no clients lined up and only the seed of an idea for how i would create a business. I spent some time finding my differentiating skill set and crafting my own brand. i take risks every day. and sometimes i'm stressed out about my income. but it's the best decision i ever made.I changed my job (originally a teacher) looking for a wider professional horizon in the advertising industry. It worked, at least for the last fifteen years.The most important thing in any profession is the human being. Be accurate to understand its ways and you will succeed. Sometimes I was very successful in doing that. Some other ones I completely failure. The important thing is to always remember that you can learn from your failures. I like to think that I do.I tried to work as a part-time teaching assistant at a local university's faculty of media and communications systems. The course I taught was a simplified version of comparative Cultural Studies on ""trends and lifestyles in contemporary society"".I was an account manager and i gave up my good and comfortable jog to try planning, which is what i love to do. You have to believe in yourself. You cannot hold THE solution, you will build it on the way you go WITH your client.Quit. Don't take the next job on the next rung of the ladder. Follow your dream. Think of the way you would want to run a company or a way to work. Then go find someone to partner with and make it real. It will scare the shit out of you. Then you'll get your first assignment, and your next and next and pretty soon you'll have more people asking for your time than you have time to give. It will work if you believe in yourself and your abilities. And you'll learn more this way than at any company or agency you'll ever work at.Ever heard of the Ugly duckling turn into a beautiful swan princess for real? Well my story is on those lines except there was no crowning involved. I was on a course in england- a foreign land for me, with a different accent & I had to deliver on brands that were very british and for the british too! So automatically being alien to that culture,I was never expected to have the answers nor the understanding of that market. But I worked hard, overcoming every barrier in my head and out and concentrated on applying myself to my ultimate best. I won some projects and also lost some crucial ones. I concentrated on the lessons learnt and still didn’t show my fear of working out of the comfort zone and soon it became a habbit, which very rewardingly earned me my distinction in my MA. And now I seek appropriately challenging and fulfilling employment.Programming an event in which we asked 50+ creatives and entrepreneurs within the creative industries to share their experiences and knowledge. Right now I'm writing on a book. Taking over account management of an account for a couple of months that taught me to respect suits more and learn more about the end to end process. Moderate workshops with clients. Its easy to present and preach but to facilitate and make people DO is a lot harder especially dealing with people who are foreign to the creative approach to problem solving.After spending a year planning on a client's business, my work was done and the agency hired an account person to take over. 3 weeks later the client requested I become the account person instead because she simply liked the way I ran meetings and got things done. Although I was not qualified, she insisted I be given the support I needed to succeed. It was a brutal year but the experience was invaluable. I would have kept going but November 2008 happened and the company pulled all budgets for advertising. I guess my decision of giving up a well-paid job at an ad agency for the sake of professional and personal freedom as a self employed professional was my last risky leap. Although times are rough it was well worth doing. Never felt so much alive before: it's both a kick in the ass and a rush of blood at the same time.For me, this would be choosing to pursue a freelance career. At the onset, I can't say that I was completely sure that I was the right move and there are times when I still question that move, but it's been very fulfilling for me. I can work when I want, where and want and with who I want and am completely accountable for all the decisions made.Eight months ago I left my steady job as a Head of Planning and started my own agency with a colleague as part of a joint venture with another business. It was terrifying and exciting simultaneously. Although I had experienced redundancy in the past, this was voluntary unemployment rather than imposed. Planners have a reputation of being a little bit flaky when it comes to being organised and having a 'commercial brain' - that is, we're paid to be smart lateral thinkers but not necessarily run businesses. All that detail, invoicing, being organised and commercially attuned doesn't always come naturally. So perhaps I wondered whether I was capable of running a business at all. In the end that venture didn't work out - but not because we lacked clients. Instead we were let down by the other business owner. The lesson was not trusting instincts about people which ironically, planners tend to be good at! Now, I have my own small company, I'm offering freelance planning resource and I also have the freedom to work as a professional actor. It's a very different working life, it's undeniably difficult at first to get established but the freedom is addictive. It's still early days with this new company but I think I made the right decision. Planners are generally creative, resourceful and intuitive - great attributes in any kind of business. However many might surprise themselves at their other abilities that perhaps don't get tested in agency life. My first bit of advice is do something that really scares you at least once a year - you'll benefit from the experience. The second is don't stay in a planning job that you're comfortable with, doesn't challenge you or makes you miserable. You'll be amazed at what else is waiting for you out there.Taking the leap to become self-employeed. I could never work at a company again, but it was scary as hell making the leap. Seeing a gap and an opportunity I created the Connecticut Social Media Breakfast. While it serves a mix of small businesses, corporate Social Media types and agency folks it helped get me and others involved in thinking about how much we wanted to learn and needed to know about what was going on in social media. That has led and is leading to additional opportunities and ideasModerating both in-depth interviews and focus groups with seasoned, degreed, credentialed clients watching via remote video link. That's never easy.Every time I step in front of a class of grad students and know I need to command their attention for 3 hours I'm challenged to think bigger and inspire. I am finishing a children's book which has been completely different for me. Getting back to those storytelling genes that I may have lost amongst too many new business pitches and client meetings.I was offered with a job outside my country. I took it and directed a brand new planning area. Everything was new, from the country, to new consumers, habits, brands. It was a great experience to get out of the box and change perspectives. I interned for 6 months, without pay, and after completing my master's degree in Advertising Planning from the academy of art univ. but I really liked the place, the methodology, and most importantly the people. I am now a freelance consultant and love the people i work with and love what i do, how i do it and am happy about it everyday i do it- oh yeah and i get paid for something i would die to do anyway. worth the wait.My comfort zone is taking on anything that's thrown my way and making it work -so the hardest thing I've done is to refuse to work on a particular account for political reasons. It created a lot tension at the time but I held my ground and have no regrets. I'm writing a book - non fiction. Would have never thought I could pull it off. But it's getting there now.I think the first time, years ago, when I had to own the development of a brand's strategy. I was nervous that I was missing something that would be obvious to everyone else. At the end of the day I was really proud of what was developed... but it took me letting myself feel vulnerable before that could happen. Researching and analyzing ecommerce vendors for a potential clientThe first time I led ethnographies I thought, what the hell am I doing here? I knew I was the right person in the agency to be leading it, but there is no practice. You just jump in. I felt like a fraud the first time but it didn't take long to get used to it.No one really has cracked ""how to work' in this day and age. I'm trying like hell to figure that out and pitching that to everyone. Some of the biggest companies in the world have listened and it is cool to think somewhere in the world a group of people are working better because of my work. That feels good. I'm not certain I've cracked anything but I've asked smart people to try my way. They have. And it helps.Although I don't think this is what you're asking for. moving around N. America for different positions has been both interesting and stressful. Travel has always been a stimulator for me. Before getting into advertising, I wandered around the Far East for a year with a backpack.Working with industrial designersI was the official photographer for my last ethnographic project. It felt exhilarating, to say I'm a photographer, when someone asked at the hotel why I'm carrying tripods and other gear!I personally like to step outside of my comfort zone, it gives me motivation and I feel more courageous to move to a new step. The feeling is: ""since I could do that high jump, I can deal with this little thing too..."". For me it happened when I worked outside my country. First, I had to work in English, with people who only spoke English...Everyday it was a battle to win, everyday were new things to do and current project: create a consultancy firm. UX'ing!I guess my last book probably qualifies, here. It wasn't a business book, didn't conform to the write/speak/consult model that drives a lot of marketing writing. It was written for consumers, it shared a lot about how branding really works, and it proposed a difficult and possibly unpopular solution to what's wrong with consumerism today. It was challenging to write, more personal than I expected, and came with some risk to my professional franchise. None of the things I feared has materialized yet, though, and it was a thrill to be able to say out loud that this work matters and encounter almost no resistance in reply. My first freelance job I was hired as a Planning Coordinator but also ended up being given a project-managing assignment for a major client. I was balancing many different things, and thought I could take it all on without help from anyone. I was trying to prove myself, and I failed miserably. This might be a backwards lesson from one of stepping out of your comfort zone and succeeding, but lesson learned for me: don't be afraid to know your limits - and to ask for help when you need it. I accepted to direct a quantitative research study, and put together a group of outsources who were also freelancers. Working with committed, specialized freelancers makes life easier, and gets out of the way the barriers posed by salaried bureocrats who get paid whether things get done or not.I wake up every day thinking I want to find something cool on the internet. Internet is something that you find out in surprising and motivates me.Going freelance and being completely responsible for planning for various clients and agencies. I was scared. So I stuck to what I knew and learned to talk with confidence about what I did. Turns out that's all they needed -- along with backing it up and doing what I said I could do. Acting confident was the key for me, even tho I wasn't. Got great advice from another planner and followed it. She said stop putting down your ideas. No one else has the answer either. You have great suggestions, great ideas, but if you don't present them with confidence, no one will hear them and that will hurt the business. This is probably not a problem most planners have, though! But for the few who do, know that you can overcome it and do great work.I don't remember a good history for now. But I can tell you that the biggest challenge is when you want to go trough a path and realize lot's of troubles, since bureaucracy, government etc.. How do you surpass that?My story goes back some years - to the start of the HIV epidemic in the UK. I worked on the very first advertising campaign designed to promote safe sex amongst the gay population. As a young planner I was charged with traveling to the North of England [my boss chose London] to conduct interviews in gay clubs. Armed with a letter from the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation I needed to spot gay couples, ask them if they would mind being interviewed separately, probe their sexual activities [oral, anal,active, passive etc] and then give them a bottle of champaign as a thank-you. If you have ever been in a gay leather bar in Huddersfield you would know that disappearing with chapped lorry drivers behind the stage [the only place quiet enough to conduct the interview] and having them reappear smiling with a bottle of champaign put one in a rather invidious situation. It was a long night. There are many stories of planning courage, this one was mine. inspiration sessions (always tricky if its inspirational enough) This year I have had to think more about ""business issues"" than I would like - like the bottom line as opposed to touchier-feelier planner-y things.Planners should never consider other planners stories as examples. They should really make up their own opinion by themselves all the time. So it's not a question of what your story is, but what your standpoint is. If you are inspired by conformism, even among planners (yes, it exists more than you can imagine), don't become a planner. Otherwise, you will destroy our value. Don't become a parrot.I always worked in what I desired.This happens regularly for me. I am often asked to do/thing about things that are new and I love it. I know I will learn something and that I never have to do it alone.I was asked to work with a client who didn't know what planning was about, and when he asked the Account Director she simply said ""I don't know, I'll ask the planner to explain"". He then decided that planning was a waste of time and money and I spent the next six months secretly helping doubling his business by contributing insights and running all communications development anonymously.It was the teaching of a class on advertising to undergraduates that really stretched my limits. when it comes to putting what we do everyday at the agency in academic terms and trying to build a school book about it, you come to realize how little structure and lack of fundamental model/theories we actually go by.Managing to complete a brief and come to a satisfying proposition on a project that caused many difficulties along the wayI was a 2 year old planner, given responsibility for the strategic relaunch of a massively loved but troubled brand. It was sink or swim. With the help of an amazing mentor, a brilliant account man and an absolutely genius creative director, I swam. It was the best way to learn (I went from junior to senior planner in three months) and probably still the bit of strategic thinking that I'm most proud of. (As we get older, we don't necessarily get 'better', but we do get faster).I am not happy unless I am on a learning curve - would get board & leave if had to do the same thing over & over again...One year ago, I made a counter-intuitive career decision in choosing to move to a traditional agency instead of choosing a cooler digital boutique. After one year I'm happy with my decision: it's harder to change a traditional mindset but it's more challenging and rewarding (and people better notice your added value even in small things). I recently launched a social marketing second hand smoke campaign with a client in the North West just before the government crack down on spending in the public sector. As a result we needed to prepare a paper for the Cabinet Office to prove the importance of the campaign and the potential financial savings to the state in order to prove it's worth in a business context and to exactly quantify the task. We spent a week writing a rationale and although stressful it was an amazing experience to really interogate clinical data to understand the nitty gritty of a social marketing campaign. I am encouraged to put myself outside of my comfort zone - and even if I hate it at the time, I guarantee there will be a point where I am faced with a situation where that horrid moment, makes me better than I'd otherwise of been.I moved to Israel a year ago, my Hebrew was only mediocre. Having to present in front of a room full of clients in a language that is not my mother tongue was incredibly difficult. In the end, everyone is understanding. It is important to remain confident.I left my career as a copywriter to begin as a planner and I'm so happy of having doing so!I'm in the middle of writing a novel. I usually express my creativity through a presentation, but I wanted to write a book and express myself through words - watch this space!When I was very junior I was at a very senior client's HQ abroad with my boss to present a strategy I'd written. At the last minute he was called to see the CEO and left me alone to meet the client and do the presentation. I was terrified but it went smoothly. In the car afterwards he told me that he'd been feeling exactly the same way as he went off to meet the CEO, and it made me realise that this is what makes us learn - throughout my career I've embraced those moments knowing that it happens to people of all levels and you just have to be prepared and do your best. I was in account management and I knew I love understanding consumer culture, and finding ways to help people see things in the right perspective. But I wasn't sure if I was ""Fit"" to be a planner. In Malaysia, planners are supposed to be the smart guys, the really smart guys in the agency. I wasn't sure I was that smart, but i liked the nature of my job and requested to move from account management. I'm glad I made the right choice, even though i still dont think im smarter than the suits in my office.I think I probably do this every day in a small way, but can't think of any specific examples. What I do know is having a good team and a wealth of wise heads to ask helps immensely. I moved across the world (literally a 26 hour flight) on a Saturday and started work on the Monday and by Wednesday was presenting a global positioning strategy to one of the largest companies in the world. I was exhausted and shitting myself but I kept telling myself that this is what I came here to do. So I just had to do it. I had to be an account manager for 3 weeks with a new client in the agency. It was terrible for me because I understood that I am not fit for client/corporate/business/financial matters or anything that doesn't start and end with the consumer's benefit. Some other time, I had to go and teach literature to highscool students for 2 months (keep the place of another colleague) and although I was super-scared in the beggining I realized I probably made the biggest difference to the world at that time.Creating artwork boards on very short deadline. Far more artistic than I expect to be!Getting thrown into a de-facto Head of Planning position (as the most senior person on the team at the time) and managing to do it reasonably well - certainly beyond my own expectaions; we managed to win many new businesses and Effies but most importantly, there was 100% department retention.I used to be a singer and a journalist before I became a planner. The moment I got to the company I currently work for, back in 2009, I was singing at their company party when started talking to the employees and found out that planning was exactly the kind of job I had been dreaming of. That same day, I gave them a few ideas and was lucky enough to be pretty smart in my insights. Two weeks after that, I was working for them. Once in front of a notebook with lots of jobs do work with, I felt really, really scared. Today, I invite that very same fear into my daily routine to keep myself conected do that ingenuous and inspired girl that had strong insights, to make me question any absolute certainty that shows up along the way, to keep the fresh mind that got me into planning. Being very junior and having to present a research debrief that I didn't write, of research I didn't do to a room full of senior clients... Normally a confident speaker I kinda thought I'd be ok... when push came to shove sort of panicked and just ended up reading all the slides off the screen while going increasingly red and sweaty.... Not very inspirational I'm afraid!I was not sure that I could work as a planner, I was not sure about my capabilities. But people trusted me, and I decided to try.I left a cushy job running a planning department of seven people in one of the largest agency networks to join a small agency with a fierce reputation largely in the digital space, finding its feet in the big bad and tightfisted Asia. It is a startup with airbags. I know enough about digital to hold my own, but not with this bunch. The first week i was wondering whether to call up my ex-boss and return like a prodigal son. The second week we had a creative review and I realized I still have skill sets. It is a hard climb. Trying to keep with colleagues who know so much more than you, trying to keep abreast of the tech sector and working with clients who are clueless about most things. Am surviving (& thriving, relatively speaking) because have stayed close to what I know (understand what makes people tick and focusing on behaviour) and not parroting the latest Mashable article. Winning a couple of pitches has helped and i am lucky to be in a position to shape how our agency evolves. So help me God. Two of my clients are based in the Latin America region. However, they didn't want to pay for us to do first-hand research on digital behaviors so we had to use all secondary sources. We also worked with a company in Argentina to do social media monitoring which was a struggle since they evaluated information on a much more surface level. This allowed me to stretch myself by forcing me to think outside of the box to examine the audience and garner insights from the social conversation audits.I think we are tasked with these challenges more often than we think- whether it's speaking up when you're the minority or trying to accomplish something in a way that hasn't been tried before. In my internship after college I was tasked with a project that wasn't challenging me. After bringing it up to my manager and being ignored, I had to approach the issue head on with his boss. When I did this, I risked my relationship with my immediate manager, but in the end, I followed my instinct and I was rewarded. Out of my request, I was able to prove myself and I was offered a job. The job they gave me was an entirely new role that they carved out just for me. I learned that speaking up when you're unhappy is the best thing to do, but in order for it to work out you need to be proactive and you've got to have more solutions ready than you do complaints. I continue to be open about my opinions and ask for what I need to grow. So far, it's worked out really well. I passed from Creative, to Strategic planning and now I am also involved in media planning tasks. Now, i think I am doing all together, because you never forget what you have learnt.I did organized my city’s TEDx event. Curate the speakers was easy, train them too. But the more operational things made me learn lots. I'm trying to be an entrepreneur. I worked different projects at the weekends with one of my close friend. We receive a government support for our last project. I was working at a planning boutique where I had a very good quality life. They had a cooker, a big house with a garden, I had flexible time schedule. But I was unhappy, because I wasn't learning and growing anymore. It was comfort but not worthless. So I decided to go to interviews and I got an opportunity to go to a big advertising agency. Now I see that the quality of our life is in how much we are growing and learning. Now I work much more, I have much more responsibility but I am really happy and I feel that I am becoming each day a better planner. I don't know exactly what to say here. I think my biggest challenge is proving to the ""consulting guy of the client"" that we don't need to put the price in every ad. He doesn't know yet what planning is. I hope we have nice stories here to help me! =)Well, I'm used to work on international accounts but usually the ones run by french or swiss people. Once I started to work on a global account run from the UK... Well that was the worst experience in my life as I suddenly felt the language was a barrier... I never dreamed to do seminars to mechanicals and once I did (because the speaker was absent).I was brought into an agency that has never had planning (and doesn't really understand the difference between a brand and logo) I had to create a level of trust both with my account team and creative team by teaching them about marketing and where the consumer fits within it - its a work in progress and I am still trying to figure out the best way to get the learning across - but hopefully it pays off I guess the most stretching thing I've done was when I was working as a planner and accepted the invitation to work as a media strategist. It was very difficult because I had to learn a lot in a short period of time, managing research tools like TGI and so on. I conducted very deep and specific works, and I was really proud of it. But the endless nights I spent at the office and that driven me into a depression diagnostic taught me that we must balance personal and professional life. But, until today, when I look in perspective I cannot tell that it was a bad phase. And that's the absolute prove that i really love working in advertising. I think that I’m in a momment of my career that I need to change of work. I need to give the next step to get out of this comfort zone and prove for myself, first of all, that I really can be a real planner. So, I’m pursuing my dream, I really want to be planner and make my own decision in a project, even if this decision is not the better one.Standing up in front of a group of college students and talking to them about what we do as planners.I had to learn to do a function that our agency doesn't have because I was the only one who could figure out how to do it. Now we're outsourcing it, but I picked it up and did it for a year because it needed to be done.Every 3-4 years I've changed the role and type of work I do. Evolving into planning, then shifting the type of planning I do. Keeps me on the balance of comfortable/uncomfortable.Everyday is a new challenge. To be out of the comfort zone is common when we are beginning the career. The story I can tell it is about the day I needed to direct/coordinate a filmed research, and I've never done it before till this day. The thing that helped me ""to calm down and do what it was needed to be done"" was to remember that I was talking to people, and that is a thing we do all the time. That's why is so important to practice talking, communicating, but really listening what is being told (and not restricting to the voice speech but the reactions). I had to learn how to be a digital planner without a coach when I started working on the Microsoft business. I taught myself to use Radian 6 and do social listening decks, and I taught myself to learn the basics of user experience on the web. I used common sense and intuition to learn as I went, and realized that there's not a huge divide between digital planners and regular planners-- we're applying the same logic and reason and creativity, just using slightly different tools. I then started to be put on several projects that were web-only or digital-based, and earned my digital stripes by just doing it. I succeeded by doing what I do offline with the lens of online, and although scary initially-- it was just a matter of trying.Nothing immediately comes to mind except for moderating. I am a very quantitative planner. I have always believed that moderating is a true skill and that too many planners do it without regard for the complexity. I got thrown into a moderating situation in front of a client with male professional contractors with chips on their shoulder. I held my own and survived. It definitely wasn't the best moderating, but I made it through and got great information for a subsequently hugely successful campaign.My planning group really knows women around the world; they are engaged and engaging with women all of the time, but generally only within regions. I had a dream of pulling all of this tacit knowledge together, with shared stories, information, data collected and housed in a common place and had hired an accomplished writer to help pull this together. After 3 months I realized was surprised to find myself holding only the narcissistic musings of writer on the verge of a breakdown to show for our global efforts (imagine: ""All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"" from The Shining). To start over would have represented a huge break in momentum, a potential loss of confidence from the planners in the regions for having done the initial work to see it disappear into a black hole, so I wrote what amounted to five 60 page magazines over a period of 4-5 months, had them designed, deployed and now being used around the world to great reviews. However, for three months it was grueling, as I had maternity leaves, office switches, account group rotations and partner agency squirmishes to quell during the same time frame. Alas!A night trek without any guide.Asking for a major raise. And getting it. every challenge is good for our careerThere was a time in my career of copywriter that I was very fad up of what I was doing. So I decided to give me a break and live abroad, get to know other people, culture, job (anything apart advertising). I really want to expecience another way of life. It was, for sure, one of the best decision i¬¥ve taken :) I went to London and I lived there for 1 year. When I got back home, I decided that I didn¬¥t want to be a copywriter anymore, but I still wanted to use my creative skill in some other area. So I did a MBA in Marketing and started to work as a planner :)Nominated to speak by CEO, President and other executives in front of the entire agency.We are launching a new product that the agency owns but it was taking forever for the digital team to get a website up. I stepped in and built a website in 45 minutes and it's been live 6 months. In that time the website has allowed us to gather 6000 emails of people who want the product once we launch it. Sometimes you have to jump in and do it yourself. Within my first 6months of the company i was asked to conduct a brand audit on one of our clients. There wasn't a good example of this in the company so i had to research and devise a methodology myself. I was worried that it wouldn't be up to scratch, but you'd be surprised what you can achieve when you're up against it. It was a long 2months but it proved to be a hit with the agency and the client alike. My brand audit is now the model employed by the agency for all projects of this nature.a few years ago i was asked to live the planning sector of the agency i was working in to take care of an entire account. the client was the largest client of th e agency and i would have to run the entire businnes, form finances to final art. It was quite a challenge, considering the size of the client, one of the biggest mobile operators in the country. we ended up turning our work model a national referece inside the client an the most productive area of the agency. it was very exciting, and im glad i took the job.We were doing a project on personal protection, and I suggested we talk to convicted criminals. No one had any idea how we would do it (thank you Craigslist!), or if it would be even safe, but sure enough they were goldmine of insightsOnce I had to take charge of both planner and account executive roles. It`s way to hard to do both things at the same time, being an executive demands a lot of your time but also really let you understand a lot about the client`s business. I think every planner should rotate between different roles in order to understand what each one of them requires and how you as planner can help them to do a better job.I once had to moderate focus groups, having never done it before, with only a few hours notice. My boss had fallen ill and couldn't travel with us to the groups, and I was the one left to moderate. I had not choice but to suck it up and take this opportunity head on. I was of course petrified that I was going to suck so bad at moderating, the groups were going to be a complete disaster. But, as I started my first group, I quickly learned that moderating wasn't so bad. In fact, it was really fun and interesting. Since then, I've been moderating groups for other clients and challenging myself to try out different forms of qual research. Now, because of that one fateful day where I was forced to step up, I now have the confidence and trust from my client, my peers and in myself as a planner... I would encourage everyone to take every opportunity you can, know what you're capable of and try to be the best you can be at that moment. Even if you fail, you at least tried - most people don't even make it that far. I had to take a 4-day road trip and document my conversations with guests at a restaurant we were pitching. It was a HUGE responsibility. The video I ended up taking was used in the final pitch and really captured the essence of the brand and why people love it. I was really proud that something of that nature came from a few days of hard work and no sleep, but also a passion for the job. jumping into a team and building it from scratch by learning tools and developing the process as I gowould like to have more influence on picking start-ups that are funded and shaping the business model early on.Invest time in DOING things rather than TALKING about them. Don't talk about technologies but try/play/build them. (Facts, no Words)Being put in a position to do account service jobs makes me uncomfortable because that is not what i signed up for and not what i want to be doing.I feel like we do this all the time. Sometimes we are understaffed and I have to write conference reports instead of the account person. We relocated the office this year and people pitched in all kids of ways - including putting our own desks together. That's the stuff of small agencies I imagine. on a personal basis, I feel like digital has stretched us more than anything - having to be credible as a digital planner in pitches when I am really not one takes a lot of research and thinking differently about the planning product in order to get it right - even then, I know there are parts of this job that I don't know.I made the most extensive and innovative presentation at the event ""Petrobras Innovation"". When my boss gave me that task I wasn't sure I could cope with it. But the day before the presentation, when I finished it, I knew it was going to be impressive. You can check it out here: a digital change agent for 2 years: developing and implementing new tools (e.g. briefs) and processes which work for traditional and digital and then integrating digital people into the agency workflow.Few months ago, we joined a pitch for a big account. We were up against the big agencies in town. One of the contenders is the agency of the year, an agency where I did internship for three months before joining my current agency. It was a strategic driven pitch. I was nervous because I knew my ex-boss in that agency was one of the best planners in my country. At that time, the executive strat planning director who spearheaded the pitch was not in town until one day before the presentation. We gathered information, did dipstick research to find insights, recorded the video of the consumers. We had everything there but no clear strat direction yet. We (or I) were stuck in the analysis paralysis, worrying if this direction was strong enough to 'beat' the other agencies, especially my ex boss' agency. Then when the executive planning director arrived in our office, I didn't know what to expect since I haven't met this person before. In my mind, there's a little pessimistic thought that there's no way we could match my ex boss' strategy. And after we did a brainstorm, I found that this person was also brilliant. We became more confident, then we discovered that the answer was right there in front of our face. We had thought about it but our nerves got in the way, thinking that it might not be strong enough. In short, we didn't win the pitch because we didn't meet the requirement of the number of team members. However, the client found our strategy was as strong as my ex boss' agency's. And the client was generous enough to also let the other agency knew that they won only by a thin line. The moral of the story, I guess is... to be more confident and never think yourself as a junior. There's a reason why you're the new generation. You bring in new thought and perspective that the previous generation may not have, and it might inspire a great work.My first experience stepping outside my comfort zone was my first entry into planning - attending and completing the Miami Ad School's Account Planner's Bootcamp. I worked in PR prior to the bootcamp, so it was my first time actually enacting the discipline of planning. It was a bit overwhelming at times being thrown into planning without much outside guidance and figuring out for yourself how to best work with creatives, define a strategy, and convey a strong strategic story. The experience definitely taught me a lot about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, and what my specific point of view is on planning.I don't like being pigeonholed into anything. When I was hired I was supposed to be the technology expert, but then I was put onto financial services brands. And then we won a furniture retailer. And then a fashion brand. I am not a very smart or knowledgeable person, really, so it is a matter of daily stretch.As much as we want to think there is a planning handbook the reality is there is not. While there are best practice approaches to everything, I feel like I am constantly confronted with experiences that test my limits. The first time I had to organize qual research I had never done it before--moderation, facility, comp. All that fell on my shoulders and no one internally was super forthcoming with helpful hints. You work through it and do the best you can. Greatest groups ever? No. But that one experience unearthed so many good lessons learned that now I feel like I can confidently handle any research request.One of our clients is a woman's clothing store that at some point was looking to hire a celebrity. I was giving the task of looking at the acting world to find our person while others looked at what the music industry had to offer. Being really distant from the soap-opera stars that participated on woman's dreams every night, I thought this would be a tough job. However, I found that being distant could be a great benefit: I was able to analyze the situation as a whole and came up with the ""Alfa-male index"". We haven't selected out celebrity yet, but remembering the whispers and grasps from woman during our research and business meetings as I mentioned the names and their backgrounds made me feel like I could step into any world, as much distant as it can be, and be able to comprehend what moves people there.I'm changing job in the next months, for a small digital agency were I'm one of the partners. The day I decided to take this step was the same day the IMF (international monetary fund) arrived at our country in order to grant a loan that, hopefully will prevent us from bankruptcy Learnt how to use an animated presentation program in under 12 hours and distill a 300 page 12 month campaign presentation into animated form for a meeting with a global CEO level client. I've only recently been given the opportunity to do so, and that would be participating in our current new business pitch. I'm taking on responsibilities my day-to-day manager never gives me (she's quite a micromanager at times).I'm pretty sure planners are expected to step out of their comfort zones. It doesn't surprise me that I had to sit in the back of a van with headphones on, watching a tiny monitor display a woman in the doublewide 20 yards away. That's just the stuff planning is made of.Left my home country two years ago searching for an European experience. Once I was invited to lead a planning department in a new agency. I was only 25 but I believed I could do that. I was succesful during my 3 month experience but I didn't feel I was learning. So I decided to leave it to learn more from the planners I admired and went to an agency with a strong planning team. This changed my carrer. I really lerned a lot and became a better planner, what I don't think I would be if I stayed in that place.I've always been very interested in brands and branding, but never thought I would make a career of it one day. Being quite a shy individual, I was also not really much good at stepping up in front of a crowd of people and present to them. Being a planner, it was inevitable that I had to learn to relax and get my ideas across in a succinct and confident way. The first couple of years was quite daunting, but it certainly got a lot easier as time went on, to the point where I actually enjoy it now. Another interesting point is that I find it so much easier presenting to a large forum, rather than a more intimate one. Perhaps it's because it's easier to block everyone out at the same time, rather than having faces and individuals and their responses fed back to you directly as you would find in a smaller setting.Presenting a pitch presentation to a high level potential client. Doesn't sounds unusual but it was a pitch that a far more senior Planner should really have been doing. I frequently shock my colleagues by taking on client assignments outside our expertise. No task exists that can't be learned (and that's the fun) although we do usually lose money the first time we try something but it adds an arrow to our quiver and expands the types of projects we can undertake.Sorry, don't want to elaborate, but 6 months+ of continual pitching and working 70-80 hour weeks for many of those exceeded my limitsfor a 1,5 year i was the only person responsible for planning. there was no stratgy acitvity before me. no data no model sno planning culture. i had discover everything by myself and my juniors. it was very hard and i was working for long hours because there were 30 clients. but i succeded. we began to charge our client just for our strategy presantitions. our creative became much more insightful and we proved our success with market data. it was a hard achievement.When I had to conduct my first team. It's not an easy task because involves people lives and dreams. I'm still learning and I'll learn forever.A unexpected promotion means I find myself in a position of authority that I constantly feel I must justify. Looking five years younger than my already tender age means every senior client I meet is already pre-disposed to think I am too young to offer them advice on their business or fun the coms strategy of their brand. Proving people wrong, swimming when other expect you to drown. It's a constant challenge, but that's what gets me up and out of bed every morning.I would like to try myself in creative departmentOnce I was asked to turn around an insight deck in less than 24 hours then present it to a client. I learned that confidence is everything. If you engage the client in a conversation, make them feel like their ideas and opinions are relevant and insightful, you can woo them with whatever work you present. Its all theater, the audience only knows what you show them. I`m trying to do this at this moment. So far so good, but nothing solid to share yet. : )Well... The thing about teaching is a challenge. It is kind of easy to deal with clients day by day. Dealing with regular people with different interests is quite different. New Business puts anyone outside one comfort zone and inside another. It's outside what I normally know and do from a segment/industry perspective but inside what I love to do - think differently, challenge conventions, etc. Step out from Western Europe to Russia 5 years ago was a kind of adventure I can recommend to anybody, who wants to grow: personally and financially. I wrote a pitch presentation for a new business project that landed in my lap when I was about 5 month into planning. I didn't think I could do it, and completely stressed out about it to begin with, but in the end I was able to pull it together and was extremely proud of my work.I don't remember but I was so nervous when I went to my first meeting for a new businessI thought that I wanted to be a brand manager for some time and ended up going back to get my MBA then going to work for a couple of CPG companies only to realize that it was not at all the right fit. Following that experience it was very difficult for me to break back into planning because for the most part any hiring manager would look at my resume and say ""what have you been doing this does look/feel like planning to me?"" So, ultimately the agency I ended up at had to take a 'chance' on me, which is something I don't think enough agencies do given how many claim that they want diverse thinking in their planning discipline. Developing a social observatory, including a scanning of digital conversation that involves completely new unfamiliar toolsI have always played it safe as a more academic-leaning planner. By which I mean, I've typically done a lot more reporting than influencing of culture. This worked quite well until recently when I found myself heading up a pitch that I REALLY wanted to win, and decided I was willing to take a risk. I went to a fundraiser event with bands and major comedians all doing their thing to raise money for a great cause. When the headline comedian came on, I snuck up to the stage and planted my client-to-be's product on the edge where he'd be sure to see it. A few minutes later, he did ... picked it up and did a hilarious 10-minute improv bit about the product which was the best part of his show. Everyone loved it. I cell-phone-recorded the whole thing and it was PIVOTAL in setting up and selling the strategy, and in recommending work that has proven potential to go viral as a cultural meme. We're not done with the pitch yet but if we don't win, it won't be because of lack of inspiration or lack of guts. Big issue is the tradition of a company - client and agency. It often feels like Don Quixote fighting against Wind mills if you try to change traditions and attitudes. Especially in time of changing business models, media and advertising (shift from print to online to mobile).Getting a job in planning was the hardest part of the whole shabang.When I started as a planner, I had no experience. I grew up in the agency business so I had a rough idea of what good ads look like but was totally unaware of what my job was supposed to be. I was handed what was basically sole responsibility of a billion dollar CPG brand. And I royally screwed it for the first few months. I let my client tell me what to do, I tried to be nice, I didn't do very much of my own thinking. Every day I was spending hours after work reading blogs and sites about what makes good planning- thank god for those- and that helped shape my identity. I started phasing those ideas into my work. My client hated it. (Why wouldn't he- the planner he had executing his ideas suddenly thinks for himself? The horror!) It took switching away from that client in order to actually be respected. I left a job where I started as a planner and stayed for three years. At that agency I was very well treated, they gave me a lot of chances of doing the projects on my own and I had the certainty of a long career and had conquered respect from de directors. Leaving was the best thing I ever did for my career.Hmmm....not sure I've got a good tale of that yet. I'm so low on the rung that my work hasn't been able to take big risks or deviations.Planning is a stretch for me! Insighting is the hardest part.My boss had a family emergency and had to leave for a week. It just so happened to be the week that my account team wanted me to kick off the creatives on a huge campaign brief that wasn't fully written yet. The account team wouldn't cancel the kickoff - I told a very high up person at my agency that I wasn't comfortable kicking off my creatives for fear of confusing them - there were too many cooks in the kitchen on the brief. I needed a more senior planners brain to bounce my insight off of. I believed in my insight and myself but I refused to present without my bosses approval. It earned me so much respect from both sides - sometimes saying no is the hardest thing you can learn to job i have to be part time planner part time creative because of how we manage the business, i have really like that but would not want to be a creative because of all the stress and pressure Being irrationally rejected by a client for a reason that has nothing to do with the work is indeed a sobering experienceMy first big client presentation happened to be to the entire team of clients -- 17 of them. This was 5 months into my career as a planner, and although I had a pretty good handle on the subject matter, I had no business leading that day on my own. I remember my supervisor introducing me and totally fluffing up how much experience I had as a planner as to give me a little more street cred, all the while making me feel like shitting myself and being exposed as a total hack. The meeting went fantastically and I've had a great relationship with the entire client team ever since, but that was definitely one of the scarier work days I've had.A little over a year ago I asked the planning director at my University if he thought that I should stay another semester. He answered no, because he thought that I was ready to start working after 1,5 years of planning studies in the U.S. But, oh boy, I still felt unsure of my skills as a professional and wondered if anyone (but my director/teacher) would trust my abilities and actually employ me. Following the advice I left the University and the States to return to my country and get a job. I took an internship at a small agency, but felt that that wasn't the right place for me. At that time I was wondering if the planning occupation even was right for me. I ended the internship and worked in a musical instrument shop during December. Wow that was fun. I organized the shop, managed the display areas and tried to be of service to my coworkers and the customers. One day a man who I know briefly walked in to the store and after a conversation with him I had a name and the number to the person that later would employ me at the agency where I work now. After some time at this agency I remembered why I want to work as a planner. Working felt fun and I was motivated. In short I had learnt: - that being humble is good but that one shouldn't underestimate oneself - to turn to people I really trust for advice - that trying a completely different direction might be the answer - that the important thing about working is to feel motivated.I often try to step out of my comfort zone trying to create new comfort zones, feeding my interest about things i didn't know existed ... after years of working at traditional agencies, learning the ins and outs of shopper marketing and seeing how that, too, can be a creative and a definitely a place where Planning can play an important role.I had to get engaged in a project that had been lead by traditional planners out of another office and the requirements were highly digital - CRM, metrics, etc. No one wanted to give up ANY space on the account and I was the interloper. It took a solid week to get the team to realize I did something valuable and different. In essence I had to play visionary account lead. It was VERY hard.I had to present in a new business pitch several years ago and at the time it was my first one. There was a lot riding on that pitch and I was very nervous but I felt the work was very smart and creative, so I just went in thinking that no matter what happened, I did the best that I could. We won that pitch and I was very proud to be part of that. In those types of moments, I think the key is to keep believing in yourself and try not to let all the outside influences cause you to doubt what you've done. we recently sold in a strategic project to a client with a bunch of workshops. I was away when the proposal was approved and came back to see that i was the 'expert' for a number of sessions. It was in an area / sector that i had no experience whatsoever. So i had to spend a good couple of weeks reading, calling favours from other planning friends and trying to be an expert having had no practical experience. i think we pulled it off, but it was nerve-wracking as the workshop was to 30 senior marketing people from a number of different countries. you're never too old to learn more, but i felt like a bit of a charlatan knowing we were taking money for my 'expertise'. I am planning of undertaking a PHD degree. I'll have to quit my current job but I'll have the opportunity to either come back after or teach brand strategy at university.Proactively broke up with my girlfriend after 6 years without having another girl waiting, but just because I fell out of love. Great emotional leap forward.Oh, I feel like I'm doing that almost everyday!As a student I was part of a group that shared a brand analysis project to a board of directors at a fortune 500 company. With the namesake of the brand in the room too. As intimidating as it was it was a lesson in the notion that the biggest asset you have is embracing your unique perspective and making that relevant to your client. They needed to hear what a bunch of grad students thought of their brand to see what they do differently. And that's a lesson that keeps serving me well today as a professional. Don't become your client - you're of no value to them then.Being able to get home in time to see my son go to bed.I worked on a large healthcare pitch and I already felt out of my comfort zone since healthcare can get pretty scientific. This was also a HCP pitch, which made things more difficult. However, once I let go of my reservations and just did the work, I found that it was very interesting and inspiring to become part of a world I knew nothing about. I embraced this ""high-science"" and found an interesting insights story that led us to a win. All this from a kid that got a C in high school Biology.wrote and directed TVCsDid my master in Social Anthropology in London (1,5 year-off), without having strong background in Social Sciences.Building a computer model of a marketing problem to assist in decision making.I've moved pretty recently to planning from account management, so no great stories just yet.- visit & travel the world - go fast with the motorcyle - visit exhibitions - do interesting stuff others don't doI think the closest I've come to stretching like that would be when I gratuated from college (in architecture, believe it or not) and got recruited by Procter & Gamble to work in marketing. I had ZERO idea of what I was supposed to be doing, which explains why those 2.3 years were so hard and frustrating. I felt out of place as I saw my peers advancing on their careers while I was rated as a ho-hum assistant brand manager who couldn't get her act together. I had very senior people yell at me to wake up and become a leader, but somehow I hanged on and survived longer than more experienced guys. That experience left me with a very thick skin and a don't-you-mess-with-me attitude, which explains why I now (try to) show no fear when dealing with tough clients and peers. I learned that working/studying extra hard and having the confidence to take a position and speak up my mind do make a difference. But I also learned that I belong to an agency, not to the client side! :PI was born in a medium size city in Colombia, Medell√≠n by culture we use to think thats the best place in the world to live. Once I finish my bachelor degree was a very hard time for the industrie back there so start applying to different jobs and make leave my country and star my carreer as a planner trainnee in Argentina it was the wost rewarding experience, and i learned that cities aren't important once you are doing what you love from that day on I've worked in 3 more different cities from latinamerica and I know this wont be the last one so go and chase your dream, is waiting for yo somewhere around the world.Almost everyone has these experiences with what doesn't come about so easy for them to do. In my case, it's presenting and entertaining an audience.In my past life as a client, the most enjoyable part of my job was working on brand strategy, advertising, etc. Writing briefs and working on them with the agency was always something I looked forward to (and even spent nights doing, regardless of it being my birthday). When I first made the move from client side, my net planning experience was nil --scary moment for someone walking into an agency.When I had my first pitch and had to present as I was a very experienced planner with only 23 years... I dressed to look older and trained like hell... At the end of the presentation, the Head of Creative and Head of Client Services personally thanked me because they were really proud of the result of my presentation and the we won the account and the Client had said it was mainly because of the strategic proposal.When I was with a design firm/branding firm and we had a large hospital system for a client. As well as helping them develop revised mission, vision and values, I had to create their naming architecture. That scared me, but in the end they agree the naming had to be consumer driven, but match their strategic direction in the present and for their future. As a Connections planner i successfully wrote a brand brief alongside a connections brief and this resulted in an award winning campaign,On a global pitch the pitch leader was ill so I had to fly to Beijing and present the schematic, production timing and process for the global workflow and digital content management system. None of which are anything close to what i do. with a thorough briefing and a lot of rehearsal I managed to sound like a buttoned-down project leader. We got the client and the system build.took a 2 week road trip from nyc down to new orleans visiting as many fast food restaurants as possible - doing research along the way. i hate fast food - and am even against it - but it was a truly amazing experience - meeting burger bloggers along the way....I did have to fill in for an account executive for a year WHILE being the planner for the same account at the same time. It was very stressful, although since I did have to put my self in an account executive's shoes it made me understand very clearly what are the struggles they find in their own dayly expeerience.Semi-related. Not a story...but advice, perhaps. When you are questioning yourself, remember that not everyone can think like a planner. Not everyone can see ""big picture"" or translate a piece of information into something meaningful and actionable ---so if you have that ability, even in times when you doubt yourself, remember that you are still providing a point of view that most people cannot. Being a mum and freelance planner is quite stretching!Well actually my confort zone was mkt and account departments, for me planning is the ""new and out of the box"" space.. Sorry i do not have anything interesting to tell youI wish I did, but my mentor keeps everything so tight-lipped that I am not often given the opportunity to do soI've had 3 different bosses in the past year, so I've been charged with tasks beyond my level of experience at times to keep my list of clients happy as director-level personnel has been constantly changing. I've grown a ton, learned a lot in the process, and shown my worth to the agency (I hope).I was working at an agency that closed its LA office, and found myself without a job - and pregnant and the new owner of a condo. A bit desperate, I took a job at a highly regarded research company, in their quant division. It was a painful year and a half, and made me realize how much a do love being at an agency, and being part of the creative process. BUT it also taught me a lot about quant research, and how to find the story in data -- and gave me the confidence in research to be able to work on big, global, metric-oriented brands. It made me a better planner.Mainly working with difficult personalities although this is changing as I become more confident about my abilities I get a bit stuck with data sometimes as well because I am not such a great detail personYes! I moved to New York away from a very happy and comfortable life in London just to see if I 'got' planning away from my home country and in the global centre of my agency. Tough decision and hard work at times but totally worth it and something not many careers afford you the opportunity of doing.Retail is difficult and often requires a business background or understanding, so everyday can present new challenges in which I'm faced with interpreting data I've never before worked with.Before taking this current job I shifted to a media agency for 4 years (despite knowing little about the technical aspects of media planning and buying); the experience turbo-charged my ability to think beyond the ad-execution. When you have to solve marketing problems without being involved with the brand positioning or message strategy, you quickly become scrappy/savvy with partnerships/promotions/platforms. This amounts to an advantage now that I'm back at a big full-service agency.In India you get told a lot that clients aren't interested in ""stuff like culture / brands / big thinking / building stuff"" -- and I've gotten that a lot from very senior people in the industry. It's tough working against a collective mindset that's often accepted defeat and constrains itself to working in the narrow definitions of ""tv"" or ""digital"" rather than holistic solutions. But I've managed to work on and create platforms with most of the brands I've worked on, way beyond the 30s TV and print. And that's something I'm happy (if continuously tense about the next such engagement) about!as a junior planner I was tasked with holding down the fort as our senior planner resigned and our group planning director was on vacation. i rocked everything and gained much respect and confidence among both account and creative teams (and soon thereafter a promotion).Taking on thought leadership topics outside my field, suh as POVs on globalisation, education, or sustainability.I want to take 4 months off and go to Thailand to spend - 1 week at the Sanctuary and 3 weeks training at a Muay Thai school. lived in the wind river range in wyoming for six weeksThere's a lot of stories but one simple rule: it's better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permissionAs part of a brand audit, telling a CEO that his executive team and managers below him did not feel they knew the direction the company and brand was heading in. Having that CEO turn to my client and say ""do I have to listen to this"", to which my client said ""yes absolutely"". I then continued to point our all the strengths and weaknesses of the company based on the feedback of the CEO's employees, while he was visibly annoyed. Sometimes you just have to tell the emperor he's not wearing any clothes.In the last year, I left a great job that I was very loyal to in order to make myself uncomfortable and expose myself to a new way of thinking. It's been a rocky year work-wise, but it's the best thing I could have done for myself.i often commit to give presentation on a subject i find cool but really don't know much about (like ""the new state of the music industry"" or ""an anthropologic perspective on technology""). when the presentation is on people's calendar, then you know you can't back up and you must just deep dive, learn and immerse yourself on something new. usually it works quite well, especially if you end up relating what you just learn to what you knew already from different worlds. I think that's a good way to stretch yourself. For some reasons, I'm also leading an account/being a suit- which is not normally my job - i find it really hard but i learnt a lot (the hard way) about clients' management and plenty of boring, but useful, things.Each day is an attempt to do something outside of my comfort zone. I was the head of planning at an agency of 40 people for a year after only being in the field for two years. It happened by accident. I learned more everyday than I had in two years of graduate school. It was extremely beneficial both in how I viewed my capability and long term potential. Not everyone works like this, but if you thrive when put up against the wall, I'd throw yourself in front of as much responsability as possible.always looking for perfection, that makes me out of the comfort zoneWe recently wrapped up a very hairy competitive audit for a technology client, that ended up far more in-the-weeds and product-oriented than we had expected. We had to learn far more about the category than we really expected, and did some heavy-duty harvesting from websites and sales calls. It ended up being 300-plus slides, and went over very well with the client, but it was a kodiak bear to make happen. Anytime I do public speaking I get nervous. Sometimes it goes great, sometimes it's meh. But I know that the only way to get better at it is to keep doing it.I've always worked on integrated marketing campaigns, like brand activation, promotions and digital. Last year I decided to do events. It's really difficult and sometimes frustrating, because it's usually very messy, with to many people involved and we work for months doing something that ends in one day.Getting turned down for pitching concepts to clients that we haven't necessarily been tasked with. A lot of time we put a lot of effort into said pitches are passionate about the need for our clients to put the concepts into practice.I used to be a client and after 10 years move to the ""agency-side"" as a planner.Like I said before, I left a stable career to improve the English language. Also let family and friends. For three months I'm living the culture of another country. I'm sure, more than talk a good language, this experience will make me a better person!My story is when i moved from a creative to a planner. I had no background and had to prove myself that i could do it and i knew the work. So i put my portfolio together as a strategic case study to prove my thinking Since starting my career, my story would have to be making the switch from Account Service to Planning. I got the sense early on that AS just wasn't for me. After a prolonged period of unhappiness in my job I finally went about taking the necessary steps to make a change. Despite knowing little about planning and still being quite junior in my role, I stepped out of my comfort zone when the timing was right and mustered up the courage to ask for a change. My role today is entirely different from my old one, using a lot of new tools I had never heard of before but I am enjoying the new challenge and slightly more courageous. well, we're toying with merging our brand planning and media planning functions. on the surface, there seem to be plenty of interesting and potentially beneficial reasons to experiment. But then there's the reality of getting others to step outside THEIR comfort zones.....oy vey.All my fondest memories and learning experiences come from stepping out of my comfort zone. I was supposed to be a bio major and fell into the ad industry when I started the AAF at UC Irvine, it was the best accidental career choice of my life. I wanted to get out California so moved to Chicago, no job lined up and only one friend in the area. It was a tough road in which i ended up at a job a hated in Market Research (which i wanted more experience in to build my skills for Strategic Planning) and quite at the worst time possible leading me to contract and freelance for 2 years. It forced me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, constantly look for a new gig, meet new people, learn about different cultures and different work environments. In the end, i finally broke back into planning after interning for RPA back in 2004, staying on top of all the planners i've met, including my current director for 6 years. It was always very clear to me, since I was a sophomore in college and knew I wanted to be a planner, that it is a difficult area to get into. I spent years, time, sweat, sacrifice, and took a huge pay cut to finally get into an assistant position in Planning. It was worth it.Working directly with creative teams was a new role for me. In doing this, I've seen how great creative can be when there's a good partnership between planning and creative. Left a comfortable but static, stopgap, admin/marketing job at a magazine. Moved abroad by myself with no job, no house, no plans just a backpack and an optimistic outlook. Spent time travelling, found work, made some great friends, had some great times. Broadened my horizons and gave me the confidence and interest to apply for planning roles and develop my career when I got a junior: holding a presentation in front of a hall full of clients at a digital training about mobile marketing that I just dug into a week before.Once time i went to my city for to study Branding, because i perceived that was a very important for me. I had to go out to my job, to live in other city and live together with other kind of people. WIth other cultures and behavior. So pursuit for your goals.Leaving the small pond of SF to play with the big cats in NYC. Success? We will have to see. Working in planning is a very challeging job, because you have to know about everythingHave not managed through the crisis with my own agency in my home country - hopefully still one of best agencies there in a last decade. As a junior planner I was asked by a friend of a friend to make a trends presentation to a huge client. Having never done something like this before it was pretty daunting. I went way over on time but it was fun. i had to handle my work for some months during a period without a boss. i took part in some pitches and won all of them. i wasnt supposed to deliver a whole chain of work, and also be able to manage the work between other departments, but i did. it was a big, traumatic learning... but i believe i could take some good from it.I'm living in this country about a year ago, my decision was influenced in first place for the situation in my natal country, but also because I really want to learn about developed market. So, I was planner already but I gave two back steps... I'm happy because I'm learning a lot, but I don't feel like living in a market so complex I work on a global account and I've never studied english. Very early in my career, I was invited to participate in a fairly large pitch. The work and input I gave was so helpful that I was also invited to participate in the pitch meeting even though I wasn't a particularly experienced presenter. In the end we won the business and the client liked seeing some of the people he would work with day-to-day in such an important meeting. I worked in the favelas of Brazil recently, helping a charity with their communications. It was 100% in a language I didn't speak when I got there, and the client, upon leaving, said that he couldn't express in words how much he'd got from working with a good planner. Phew.I constantly have to create things that satisfy needs that my clients have but can't quite articulate. As planners, we deal with thoughts and concepts, and it can be very abstract and ethereal. You have to have good antennae and be able to infer what your clients are grasping for, and you have to be able to handle these abstract ideas, but then you also have to have a passion for crystallizing them into something simple. Planning is really design, I think; designing thought structures that help people grapple with ideas. Sorry, that isn't really a personal story... I grew up planning more on the direct side and wasn't sure I had the chops for brand level work. Being thrust into an account and left to flex my creative muscle helped me learn more about my craft, and gave me new confidence that I could do it well.Moderating focus groups with cancer patients on the same day I had just survived an accident that could have killed me. I was badly shaken and worried that it would hurt my focus. Instead they sensed that I knew what it was like to stare at my own mortality and that empathic connection made them the most powerful groups I've done.Can't think of a good example.mmm, not in my role as planner. but when I was junior planner (in other agency) I had to be ""account director"" for 2 months!! (it was for a new client who has not the account team yet and it was very necessary). I though I couldn't but I could and these time was very positive for my professional career.Don't know if it is actually what you are looking for, but I once had the opportunity to work with a brand that given its category, it was facing some great challenges ahead. I had no knowledge what so ever about that specific market and its restrictions, I think I have taken this as an opportunity to challenge myself as well as ti get to know a different market. Spent 3 years away from Rio, decided to go and live in Buenos Aires then London. Managed to get a job in each city in ad agencies and meet a lot of interesting a relatively young planner on an account i had been on for a matter of days in an industry i knew little to nothing about, i was invited to a brainstorm to put together a list of principles for how our brand should act in this marketplace. there were very senior people invited - our planning director, a managing director, etc. and it turns out my outsider point of view was one of the most useful and productive ones in the roomPitching Google. Even though we didn't win it was a good experience for the agency and myself to approach the assignment in a fresh way and push ourselves to come up with stuff we truly hadn't seen before.I was most recently asked to lead concept testing for a new product launch for one of the most well known brands in the world. I wasn't sure if I could bring to life the product in a way that would make it resonant and compelling for consumers. I was also intimidated by the client and their expectations for the testing. In the end, I trusted my instincts and through time and a lot of effort developed concepts that were appealing across a wide cross-section of consumers. I try to do everything my working life is a challenge everyday. I work in a multinational.Taking the role as 'conscience of the agency' seriously in not taking substandard work to client. Being honest with that client, no matter how painful/scary and being rewarded with their respect. Working on new business, helping on other accountsThe worst day/project in my work life as digital planner and partly project leader was when in very little time a huge project needed to be developed and suddenly people (creatives, programmers, freelancers, colleagues from other companies of the group who were involved in the project) stopped talking to each other and I found myself in the middle of all this mess needing to re-connect everyone. It was like working in a huge kindergarten but with lots of pressure of getting things done. The worst of all wasn't that people got mad, but seeing the unwillingness of them to talk to each other just because they didn't want to talk to each other of having different point of views. This was so disappointing as the project was a great creative concept and it almost looked like as everything would fail because of this childish behaviour. Luckily, step by step I could make them move back to a less emotional level but still not back to a 100% normality of communication and everything worked out and we even won several international prizes for this campaign. Please, guys, never stop communicating! The more you have to hurry, the more you have to keep calm to ensure the success of your work. Do more amazing! Transitioning from a more analytical role to a position that brought me close to the creative process was rocky at first. But with an open mind and self-confidence bolstered by supportive teammates, I was able to unearth the inherent creativity present in all of us.Oh boy. Every day I feel like there's something I'm too young to be doing, which is gratifying and terrifying at the same time. I am currently developing a skunkworks operation to help transform a sleepy, but big, traditional agency into a nimble, agile agency-of-the-futureI don't have a great story here. The best example I can provide of stretching myself beyond what I thought was possible would involve working with difficult personalities. I don't care where you work - every agency employs people who are hard to work with. Either they hate planning, they hate their job or they hate their clients, etc. They're always going to be around and for me, not letting those people get me down or keep me from doing my best is difficult but a great thing to overcome.Everyday. Taking on the roles of multiple departments. Be an Account manager! I am relatively new at my job, so I was shocked when I realised the responsibility heaped on me in my very first day as a junior. I have persevered and now feel more confident.I havent had that feelling for a long time. The last time I felt that was when I had to present a job to a partner here, famous for being very critic and unpatient. Be prepared to 'think' globally - multiple languages, multiple people. Over the past 6+ years, I have had the opportunity to work with clients from over 20 different countries - and each time I am expected to know something about their culture and be smart to have an engaging conversation. I don't feel like I've ever been put in a position to reach beyond my abilities here at my agency. While I think it's, um, courteous that they're trying not to overwhelm me, I think I would benefit more by being left on a limb. Consequently, I have found myself disappointingly under-prepared for situations that were within my capacity to handle. The biggest barrier is always fear: fear that a powerful person in the agency or at the client will reject an idea or a strategy. There are so many times that I have personally felt this fear, and there have been many times when this fear overtakes a whole team at an agency. So the best stories I have are when I (or the group) acknowledged the fear and found a way to take the risk anyway ‚ backed by shaky confidence, data or passion. The results vary, but the deep, clean satisfaction of knowing I (or we) sincerely tried our best is empowering.It's not entirely planning-centric, but I left a job without having another job lined up -- I went backpacking by myself, thinking I'd come up with an alternative career to advertising/planning... yet I ended up right back in it! So who knows. Took time off, then I took a step back in my career - when back to being a planner, instead of planning director of a dept, was so relieved to find out that I was still good at and am very, very happyi was in a project looking for an idea... but it didn’t come... my girlfriend invited me to watch a cult artist documentary... nothing I really wanted to do with my head full! But gone anyway... the doc was ALL about the insight I needed!Many new projects start with that daunting feeling - wow, I need to learn a new company, a new industry, a new audience and solve some really complex challenge. But the process works. Immerse yourself in the work, and there is a point where everything clicks and starts to make sense - and then great things happen. It's amazing the lack of understanding by some agency and client personnel about digital and particularly social media so even though I felt I didn't know much/was way out of my comfort zone, I quickly learned I could still add value. So it's worth being brave as you usually get away with it.We have a survey that required in-depth segmentation by age, income, race, and life stage. We worked with the clients for over a month to develop the survey questions and define the customer segments. In the end, it will reveal attitudes towards our brand by almost every customer life stage.Yes. We immerse ourselves in less understood markets to identify a guiding idea or new channel of business for our clients. Working collaboratively helps establish a partnership and allows the client to course correct if required.Organising large scale pitches is terrifying. A blank page of a brand is by far the scariest thing I have had to do recently.Talking in front of large groupsNot sure if you are only looking for positive stories. Mine is a negative one, as I went out of my comfort zone when accepting an opportunity in Pharma and I am struggling considerably. I love planning and this experience is not going to change that, but I would not recommend this category to any planner who likes creativity, innovation and passion for a work well done. Besides this, I came from Spain to NY (talking about getting out of our comfort zone) and it is the best thing I could have ever done in my life. It simply changed my life. I was in Account Management back in Spain and here I discovered planning, fell in love with it, NYC gave me access to the best planners, conferences and agencies in the world. It's a city full of creativity, energy, inspiration.... I just say: travel, travel, travel! Not only to NY, to any other country you feel curious about. Travel to understand the world, to open your mind. Learn a different language. Read about everything, try to be able to talk about any subject, at least a little bit. Oh, deeply understanding SOCIAL MEDIA. That is completely out of my comfort zone but a challenge I am enjoying to get into, slowly but surely... Stay young-minded. I've been managing someone now for a few months and, at first, I was very nervous about making sure I'm striking that delicate balance of guiding her without micromanaging. I'm definitely getting more comfortable in this role but there is a learning curve I've had to navigate, for sure.I'm currently doing the job of 3 people. It's not fun, and trying to get stuff done and still feel good about yourself and your work output is a challenge. Not sure I know how to answer. I think my job is to always stretch myself out of my comfort zone. And I fail on a daily basis, but I fail fast, recover and press on.Once I had a client that was the state governor. And the first mission the agency gave to me was to tell him that his image was compared to something that was not human. And in other to change that, we had to start ""humanizing"" it. I did succeed in making him accept a more humanized posture. But I never told him the other part...Giving a presentation my 3rd day on the job was pretty nerve wracking. Overall it went well and set the tone and expectation of my level of involvement with the executive team.nothing coming to mind, bit cynical at the moment, so my answer is that really, planning isn't that hard.I taught Account Planning to undergraduate and graduate students for a year and a half as a side project. I had no idea if I would be a good teacher or what right I had, with MY experience, to teach others how to be a good planner. There were challenges along the way and certainly things that I would have done differently, but the gratitude I received from my students, their positive reviews and most of all, identifying one to two students out of each class who would make rock star planners and encouraging them to do it, was such a rewarding, fulfilling experience that I will never regret.I remember pushing for a really weird ad for a bank. I had no planning director at the time. He started just as the ad was made and when he saw it, he thought it was terrible. I was terrified as I had really put myself on the line with this crazy ad. The ad went on to be one of the more successful ads for the client of all time and that planning director now takes credit for it! Also, I remember much earlier on, I really connected with the digital department, My direct reports who were in in the more traditional departments used to tease me about it and suggest it was a waste of time. Through that connection - the digital department and I together won some really big accounts and this was later recognised. THis is obvious in hindsight, but I am always asking about the space in between process and departments. I want to put together academics and professional knowlegde to work and function side by side, something not properly appreciated in my country. A 95 hour work week.I wish I had a real good story to share. Best I can think of is staying up all night working on a client presentation and then having to give it in the morning. I thought I would be so delirious. Well, I was. Somehow I focused and channeled that feeling into adrenaline and caffeine fueled excitement. That fact that I was exhausted kept me from worrying about getting the presentation right. It came off pretty right on! And then I crashed. heheled a full blown, full monty strategy dayChaos during pitchEvery week I feel like that. But if you say something with enough confidence then people tend to believe you...As new planner, almost everything I do for the first time is outside of my comfort zone. I left the independent world to come back to the employed world. It wasn't an easy decision but in the end I decided I liked working with great people every day and building relationships with them more than I liked making great amounts of money working by myself.Presenting in my first new business pitch was unexpectedly nerve-wracking but a huge growth opportunity. Perhaps the first time I moderated a workshop of VERY senior clients flown in from a number of countries several years back. I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I think I rose to the occasion and did a pretty good job. Presenting to clients that felt they couldn't be taught anything from a young, American woman. I showed them otherwiseIt's in progress now....Going beyond communications and into pure business consultancy is stretching the current role as planner. But with a background in marketing, it is a capability I have. Pretty much the work a KPMG would be doing, but with a consumer insight focus.So many times I have relied on my own intuition as well customer insight in planning. Which is really what planning is all about. Recently we pitched for a global wine brand which features an Eagle as its emblem. Our pitch positioning was all around leveraging the equity in this visual device - the Eagle, and letting it 'fly'. Concept testing proved this resonated with the audience but the client we knew to be reticent. Anyway I managed to convince my CEO to allow me to bring a wedge-tailed Eagle to the pitch. It was going to go one of two ways and we fully expected a viral video of 'Eagle attacking client' to appear on youtube. Client loved it, the eagle was as majestic and composed as you'd expect and the pitch was great!Its funny, because I feel like all the time. The digital space is so new, so we are constantly developing deliverables that haven't been done before. Although, sometimes it can be crazy trying to figure out what the GM sold the client on. Sometimes the other JRs sit back and ask ""OK, so what the hell does that look like?""Sometimes we have to work like a marketing department of a sales oriented company. This involves a lot of people skills and operational efficiency - much more than just planning skillsTurned retrenchment into a business opportunity during the recession of the late 80s. Got laid off, and created a freelance business by targeting smaller agencies who didn't have full-time planners on staff. Grew it successfully for three years, and then made the mistake of getting hired by a big agency!I've become more in touch with my inner asshole. When I first started I would get steamrolled by creatives and account people who saw planning as a roadblock rather than a road map. The better I understand the value and planning the better I am at defending the importance of strategy and sending our creative work off with bang. I was and still am forced to behave a lot more senior than my title and my role, about 6-7 years more senior. Knowing that I don't have the experience that is demanded of me was a barrier that I somehow overcame by just believing that it's not that complicated and at the end of the day, I just need to trust my instinct and use common sense. I try not to second guess my decisions and just confidently march forward and see what happens. I failed a couple of times, but it's advertising, no one is going to die. You just need to believe that what you are doing is the right thing and then do it. Our new business person was tasked with going ""out of category"". So she'd tell clients we had ""research"" that they'd want to know. If she got the meeting, I'd have to come up with a ""research presentation"" that we'd cobble together from public information. Sometimes we'd stumble upon great insights that'd get their attention. Other times we wouldn't, and you'd just wait for them to call you out...Signing up for presentations before I know what I'm going to speak on is always a challenge. But the commitment motivates the learning and the doing.I do this everyday as a planner - be it providing advice on categories I don't normally work in or involvement in business areas I don't have experience in, such as customer service commitments. It's always interesting and we get by because you have an understanding of human behavour, marketing conventions and an ability to ask the right questions. As a planner, I feel this happens on a regular basis and it's part of why I love my work. I enjoy change and the challenges it brings, so I am frequently needing to step outside what I know and learn knew things or even make up new things. The best part is when my work/thinking delights my client. I love this moments!I did the channel planning for a soon-to-be launch brand in the 'luxury' segment. The client felt that the media agency won't understand the category and the brand.I have little experience in interactive campaigns, although I do read many blogs and I think I know roughly what can work and not. In Per√∫ digital culture is low. I come from Spain and, although not as London, the penetration in society/campaigns is greater. I'm trying to position myself as a digital expert in the country and change the culture of my agency into the new era digital brings: from interrupting to attracting. A new division of interactive is planned to be created, and I'm trying to convince everyone to create integrated teams instead of separated. Especially in research & creativity. Sometimes, our mind tricked us to believe that we are only good at doing certain things. But when we look back at these things that we think we are good at, they all started from trying, doing, failing, doing it again and again. The only person that restrict us from being a better person is actually our very self. Instead of circling oneself in the so-called ""comfort zone"", we should learn to oversee or forget the boundaries. Explore will only make us stronger.Coming from account mgmt background, all I learnt was processes and reporting. Planning is a completely different arena. In fact, i have no freaking idea what planning is all about. Taking the leap into it was a BIG deal for me because lets face it, the industry is very small and people talk. If you fail in one thing, the impression will just linger on even if it is something that you are good at. But it is a blessing in disguise. Planning helps me, or rather make me think, I read up alot and helps me improve lots of soft skills. I was given the opportunity to work on everything that my boss does which gives me a bigger picture, attended a few workshop and given the opportunity to present to client (something that I used to fear) - in a shorted form : It makes me see things and do things more differently. It's almost more diverse in that senseI wasn't sure I could make a good coffee this morning, and I succeeded. I was proud of myself. Beyond that, I'm sometimes roped into having digital media conversations that I'm not always 100% confident about.I was 30 with a successful career ahead of me. I had a great job with a small agency. But I was not happy. I did not know why. So I left my job, took my savings and decided to go and learn how to DJ. I bought a bar in Thailand and messed around learning my skills in the bar. I then started palying at the Full Moon parties and after that I played in Ibiza, Paris and London. I am now back in the marketing industry, as I was not making enough money to live as a DJ, but I still run a radio show and DJ out when I can.I came into my agency more or less by force from another office. People at my new office were not really sure who I was and I was quite young. So I really had to prove myself. It took a lot of hard work but once I had proven myself I recieved more support and appreciation than I had ever experienced.The hardest and best thing I've done was moving halfway across the world, to a new culture, new languages, and new people. It opened my eyes and made me see the world and myself differently.I try to step out of my comfort zone every dayBrainstorming meeting are each unique and exciting, to leave your strategic shoes and go all out as a creative thinker and aid creative copies and designers think of ideas.The communication strategy for the band i am part of is really exciting. Everything you do and come up with is immediately out in the open and picked up by all sorts of media, including television, radio, websites, blogs, youtube and events. It's like having your own product, brand, media agency and advertising agency all in one place.As a strategic planner asistant I have that feeling all the time, especially facing the client. The hardest part for me is performing analysis. The first big one I performed made my cry over the results but it gets better over timeThe British Army want young, fit men and women, so it might be expected they would demand similar qualities in their planners. When I was proposed to them I was twice their maximum age limit for recruits and far from fit. But they gave me a go, and proved to be the best client I have ever worked with, for one simple reason. They listen to expert advice. As one Brigadier noted, ""you may outrank the chap who's just cleared the minefield but you aren't going to overrule him on where to put your feet"". I did my career best work because of that, despite feeling distinctly uncomfortable at the outset. It reminded me that as planners we have to be able and prepared to empathise with people very unlike us in age, gender, social standing or attitude.From my point of view it's very useful to trust your instincts. Because unlike your brain it's hard to fool them. This was very helpful for me in the past. And I try to keep an eye on this in the future aswell.Stamina and tenacity. No one told me doing my MBA and having a 2 year old kid and moving countries and running a global and regional planning gig across 5 clients would be tough! hee hee. Every day I'm shocked at my own energy. Thank god I love what I do!i like to write short poems and songs. Renovating an old house. - In my 8th month of being a Planner, the Planning Partner on my account set me the challenge of going to Australia (with an Account Director) to lead a Planning workshop with our senior clients there. Before then I was terrified of public speaking, but I really worked hard before hand to prep and when the day came (after 2 days flying from London and insane jet lag), I led the whole day without a hitch. It was an extremely gratifying moment of which I'm proud, as I had never run a workshop before and did my first one under quite challenging circumstances!Putting myself in my consumers environments which aren't necessarily comfortable, like going into shack dwellings in slum areas etcGoing to a swingers club and watching my wife get fucked by two strangers.Every day is a challenge to sharpen my skillsI have been inside HIV wards in hospitals to understand what people go through, mentally and physically. I have ridden dirt bikes on routes that human traffickers take. business strategytravelAm fairly and rarely pleased at being asked to speak at the client's Marketing week - 400 people, only person from agency to be invited. Although I am a communicator and love to give my opinion on various subjects regarding advertising and communication world and sociology I still find rather challenging to appear before the media particularly on camera. I usually get very nervous, confuse and don’t really feel I accomplish my goal on delivering exactly what I intend to communicate.Actually, I believe every step of my career as a planner has been marked by an on-going effort to try different things. I tend to look at every problem as a different, specific situation, and think of how I can approach that problem in a way that's no simply the way I have done it before. I think that as planner, if you start to think on models and patterns to resolving problems, you're going to be frustrated very soon. Because every situation can be faced as you've faced previously situations, but that's certainly not the more challenging way to do it. And if your job doesn't challenge you, in an inspiring and even fun way, you'll be only fooling yourself to keep doing it. Problem-solving (aka planning) is a constant effort to break assumptions. In other words, I don't believe in comfort-zones: there's only laziness or lack of ambition.whatever it is once you're doing it do it with confidence and enjoy it, and people will have the feeling you know exactly what you're doing, even if you yourself are not sure!I am not a media planner, but I stretch into this role often because we don't currently have media in house. I feel like I'm successful when clients feel comfortable letting me direct the media agency on strategy. Most days I feel comfortable and confident; then there are days that I am not and those days become representative of ""scary"" days as a planner. I tend to try to take baby steps and small moves forward to make the challenges digestible, and go to people that can help me, as surrounding myself with good people is the most important thing that I have found works for me during those ""scary"" planning daysnot really a story, but lately there's a lot more work about tactics than I used to have in previous jobs... there's this client that insists that we can plan the launch of a new CAR without defining the positioning first... the tactics/activation can be thought without that, they claim. Presenting.My first project as a junior planner involved being thrown in the deep end in a number of ways: working on a new client in a sector I had pretty much zero understanding of; reading financial forecasts when I come from a literary background; and data analysis in terms that I barely understood. It was the best possible introduction to planning, though. My initial research has now ballooned to a much bigger project which is still underway. It may have cost me more hours of my evenings and weekends than somebody else may have needed to spend on it but it's fascinating, challenging and inspiring to work on. At my new shop, my CCO asked that I work on a project as a ""digital creative""--take a brief from planner types and go. It was an awesome and daunting task, but one that I think ultimately got us to a great place. I also am involved in UX/ID process which I love and have taken a keen interest in agile prototyping projectsLast year, I was working on a global B2B campaign to market a country to foreign investors. The problem required a solution that wasn't advertising-led. Instead, we needed to create interesting content featuring the country that capture the interest and imagination of potential investors. Instead of writing briefs or strategy presentations per se, what was needed was inspiration for content. Closer to something that a magazine editor or tv show producer would do. It was highly uncomfortable at first but I soon discoved that it was liberating. I didn't have to think of ads. It also forced me to find and curate the most interesting material that could be turned into stories. And because no planners had done it before, I was forced to make it up as I went along. After doing this, what I used to think planning could do or influence in the work has changed massively. Planners in the future will need to play a stronger role in fueling content and curating the most interesting stimulus for brands to use.leading a business project for a financial client that was about redefining the types of products and services they offer, not their marketing. ive worked on many financial clients in my career, but still doesnt mean i can talk about retirement planning in the same manner as the people who do it day in and day out. i lead a series of work sessions with bankers across business segments, many of whom probably werent sure whether they should take me seriously at first. but i was able to establish credibility with them, and the project is now nearing completion. if all goes as planned, it could be an incredibly successful business initiative, not just marketing ideaI am currently working on content strategy, which is a lot different than developing comms strategies or writing advertising briefs.I love planning and I love art, so in every agency¬¥s projects I use to apply my passion into my work. I feel like a communication curator, more than a planner, because I feel that is a a good way in order to emphatize with creatives in a different way. Actually right now I have to start the investigation so I can do a strategy of a new magazine in Ecuador; I have no idea how to do it or I don't even know how to start or where to start looking but is a cool challenge. In a general sense, planning has helped bring me out of my shell. I can be a straightforward-thinking, type A kind of person, but planning has encouraged me to think differently. I'm still not as natural as other creative thinkers I know, but I try to get myself actively thinking rather than just lazily approaching day-to-day work.When I asume the planning director position I wasn't sure if I was going to full fill the expectations. So that make me work harder, read more and follow my gut feeling, but reaserching data to support it, It¬¥s all about being truly curious, putting your self in your target shoes and know everything about it. Don¬¥t be a google planner, get out there where your target is, hang out this them, dirty your hands and support it with some data. Funny not all the communicator do that. Setting up my own business which finally allowed me to genuinely understand what ""being brave"" really meant in a business context. To have to think beyond just strategy but about fees and contracts and my very own brand. It was both a scary and great learning experience.Finally getting my client to understand the idea of transparency in social media was the biggest win of the year for meMy favorite story of late is having the experience of pulling work off of the table and saying ""no"" to a client. I've heard of folks doing this. I've seen Don Draper do it. But it takes more nerve than you realize because we're an industry that is often afraid to push back or upset somebody. The gist of the story is this: A client came to us asking for a nontraditional idea. They cited some of the work we'd done in the past for other clients and said they'd love something with that kind of impact. They gave us a week. We presented to them one big idea. I mean big. Super smart. Supported it with tons of thinking - both logical and intuitive/emotional. Really good presentation. The work looked phenomenal. Presentation couldn't have gone better. The client saw that it was a bigger idea than she'd asked for, thought it had legs to impact not just her product, but the company overall. Said she wanted to tweak it a little, but was ready to roll. Between that moment and our next check-in, something odd happened. Our direct client had spoken to her supervisor, who wasn't sold on the idea and that somehow took the power out of the concept for her. Not sure why. But when we went back in with the slight creative revisions, something was odd. Before we even got through the strategic setup (which was a review), the client group assembled questioned the whole strategy. Why did we think this would work? ""I'm not buying it"" they said. We got into a big debate which ended when the creative director and i tag-teamed an approximation of the following speech: ""This is the same strategy you were all excited about last time we were here. I'm not sure what changed, but it seems there's no reason to waste everybody's time walking through the creative work at this point. If you're not buying the idea behind the idea, then unfortunately, I think we're done. It's a shame really. You asked us for a big idea and this IS our big idea. We believe in it and have no interest going back to the drawing board to give you something we don't believe in."" In the moment, we left the room feeling angry. But with perspective, I realize that having the conviction in your work to pull it off the table is something I wish for everyone to experience. The moment was really respectful and civil, but also absolute and firm. It's was extraordinarily empowering. And uncomfortable. But I'm proud to have done it.Helped a friend launch a party planning and catering business years ago. Didn't work out - found out that lay people tend to be very wishy washy and don't like to pay their bills.Being a planner, in general, is a step outside of my box, because I'm much better at communicating in writing rather than speaking. But I'm slowly learning how much you have to sell things in my job. It scares the hell out of me but I love it because I want to be a better verbal communicator. The job I am at now, I was to step into a Sr role under a director and vp director - found out when I got here they were both leaving. I was left as the lead planner on a $600MM account. It was an intimidating task to say the least. My solution was to take it in stride, the moto ""fake it till you make it"" came in handy. But I also asked for help from other depts and planner friends from other agencies when I knew I was in over my head. In the end I helped keep the business moving and I got a seat at the table where I might not normally have gotten to otherwise. I believe every day should be about stretching yourself personally. As soon as you get comfortable it's a sign you've conquered it and need to move on to a new challenge.Um.. Well I'm very outgoing so putting myself into weird situations isn't out of the norm for me. More number oriented statistic stuff isn't my strong suit, and I don't claim it to be. That would make me the most uncomfortable... I guess something else that was uncomfortable was calling off a list for a low budget piece of research we were doing for screener purposes. But this quickly became fun, almost like a game as you met all kinds of different people, talked about different things, that sort of thing. I put that off for almost a week in dread of it... But when I did it it actually was alot of fun.Early in my career I found myself working in an agency where my ""product"" was quickly considered fluffy and at odds with the more business-like strategy being created around me. Being young and naive I tried to adopt the straighter-strat-style. But, being unconvinced I fell back to my more creative ideas-led style and continued to be dismissed. I pushed on determined to demonstrate the bigger difference creative ideas (vs clever presentations) could make to clients business. Over time this difference slowly started to become clearer. But the agency's strategic product remained largely more consultative than creative. Then, a new leadership came in. Who, in turn, assigned a new global Chief Creative Officer. The new CCO immediately went looking round the agency for the types of planners his team could best work with. My name was on that list and my career took off from there.Since we work in a small shop, we are often tasked with working beyond our role. This comes in the fact of acting as an account person, producer on shoots, PR for the agency, etc. Something that I never did coming from big shops. Walking into a 150 year old insurance company and selling them on a creative strategy that forces them to look in the mirror and realize that the biggest path to success in their industry is treating people like people, not numbers.I would like to work in the same agency but in another country. This would be very good for me!planning is an adventure every day, just make sure you enjoy the ride, even if it gets bumpy I was tasked with creating some fun videos for the department, and discovered my parody songwriting talent.At the pick of my career in Brasil (I'm a young planner who has grow very fast, being a planner manager with 25 years old) I leave everything behind and went to live in london. Arrived there without speaking english. During two years I had many different jobs, did cocktails for prince charles and traveled the whole europe. Became a spiritualist, ayahuasca drinker in shamanic rituals, and after all, accept the position of trainee to start my career again in a country that is in crisis, but the one I want to live. Start with planning.Confidence came so slowly. I never really felt I knew what I was doing, until it crept up on me slowly, and all of a sudden, my thinking was clear, my strategies were seamless and people were listening. I had to interview college kids about HIV/AIDS.Trying to do innovative forms of research somehow always receive push-back, but usually not from the client but the same agency (Account Management). The best way to get a yes is by including AM and letting them feel like they have some sort of ownership on the insight and research approach, though in reality they might not. Changed careers to become a planner at age 33I recently had to moderate a few focus groups for some creative we had done for a new business pitch. It has been years since I moderated groups and I was intimidated to do it because I knew a lot of senior level people would be involved. It was also incredibly stressful because we pulled it off all at the last minute and I literally got the creative minutes before I had to ask my focus group attendees about their opinion on it. But it turned out completely fine and reassured me that I can handle whatever is thrown at me.Last year, we were involved in a pitch that proved to be more demanding that we could all imagine. Even though, there were many internal issues regarding the handling of the two-month period before presenting, I decided not to highlight those issues to the management team in order to avoid putting more stress on the team. Therefore, there were times that I had to fill in the gaps created and occupy myself with things that I shouldn't. At the end of the day, the pitch went pretty well and finally we won. But the psychological pressure that I went through, is untold. After that experience, I realized that ""making the hero"" in fields that are out of my responsibility, is much worse for my job objective, since it does not allow me to focus. A good lesson to learn for times to come!Recently I went to China to moderate a strategy workshop. It was my first time to Asia and I traveled their without knowing neither the client nor my colleagues. I faced a totally different culture, unfamiliar market conditions and strange group dynamics. At the end everything went out right, I was lucky I guess...On every brief we get i make it a point for the creatives to cross over and see things from a female friendly point of view. Once we had received a pitch brief for rice, took the bag home, cooked some myself and fed it to our mates over lunch, this also inpired the ethnography study which we designed and executed with housewives at home. The pitch client was very impressed with how we brought the target to lifenever led an internal branding project, always been a strategy / brand planner... so more of a focus on positioning, comms etc. Now I am, and it seems to be going really well. My theory is that it's all about business common sense, and keeping everything brutally simple. Working so far!I left my country, my work, my family and traveled half across the world to attend a school for account planners. It felt great!I think the most interesting thing about being a planner is to get into all different kinds of products and audiences. For a new business call I had to find out about the shopping experience for surgical stockings which was a bit awkward asking as a young male person for surgical stockings telling from the look of the eyes from the shop teller. But I think these situations are the most interesting in our jobs.i'd love to write something but unfortunately i have a presentation i need to finish. sorry, but deadlines take precedence. i guess that becoming a planner and learning the job was my first stretching, because originally i am a food engineer and i had no conection to the advertising world. the second stretching would be working in one of the leading planning department in my country (for a year and a half now), which was not easy at all, after many many nights at workExplain what is planning to local clientsAfter only 2 weeks at Ogilvy I was sent to London to participate in a global pitch for Boehringer-Ingelheim diabetes franchise. 9 countries working together, being me the only one with no previous experience in the healthcare field. We won the pitch and it was very, very good to start this way.Took a presentation skills course where I videotaped and (humbly) watched myself.Getting deeper into statistical analysis than I had beforeI'm a true believer in working with a mission and having support from the company you work for. It's not about the money but about feeling good of going to work everyday. So, when this wasn't happening for me anymore I quit my job without having anything lined up. Yes, while it was a risk I not only had the chance to take a step back to truly analyze what I wanted to do with my career but I also spoke to some great people along the way in and out of the industry that had some great advice to share. Business consulting, outside the realm of just brands and communication. Stepping into the role of strategic lead for our mobile communications client without a mentor/boss on the same coast. Managing the relationship with clients and learning how to make decisions based on gut and input from intelligent colleagues. After a 13+ year career as an award-winning copywriter, I switched over into Planning. Getting great feedback, having great success. I keep telling people, ""Planning is the new creative.""For the first time, I took charge of a new business pitch. It was scary to direct others on what they should do and take responsibility for the content and strategy of the pitch. We pushed it, took a potentially dangerous position, but it paid off and we won the business.Went bungee jumping to overcome my fear of heights! Wasn't sure I could do it but I believe if you're going to do something, go all the way and there's no better way to overcome fear of heights than to plummet through the ether. I was terrified but then overjoyed and now I feel I can do anything I set my mind to doing!I went to the TED conference a couple of years ago. I was nervous about being an ad person there, among people doing much more meaningful work. I was sure they'd see me as pretty superficial. But I was surprised at how that wasn't really the case, and how those people were actually really interested in the cases where we'd pursued really interesting strategies or creative ideas - moved our industry forward a little or done stuff of more value than simply 'selling'. My work kind of held its own which I was surprised about. I guess I learned that when we try to do stuff of value in advertising, it has the capacity to transcend the shitty stereotypes of our industry. So yeah - keep aiming high and you won't get lynched at TED.Stretching myself to be a 'social media' and media planner, even though that is not my background but the principles are the same. When the client required someone to show up under that title and give input I had to and hopefully pulled it off.I used to be panic stricken at the idea of presenting -- I forced myself to present as much as possible in many different types of situations (phone, in front of 200 people, in small groups) and now I actually love it. Even if it still gives me anxiety at times, it's always great. Presenting in front of an intimidating CEO when I had roughly 3 years of experience. It was as part of a new business team. To prepare, I devoured presentation zen and slide:ology, plus a lot of advice I could find from google. At that point I hadn't had formal presentation training. I'm sure it wasn't flawless, but it ended up going ok. Lesson learned... be fearless, you're much better than you give yourself credit for! Speaking on TVAny piece of new technology you use, you are making it up as you go along a bit. Picked up sticks and moved halfway around the world to take over a global account when I previously had only handled national accounts from the comfort of my hometown. Far from daunting though, the transition was extremely rewarding -- until the requirements of the account changed and the role became extremely executional rather than strategic.I feel stretched quite often at work. That is the fun bit!Digital planning, big multi-platform channel strategiesI take up/volunteer for activities I would normally avoid or leave to others (organising a bachelors party, speaking at a funeral, improvise in a client workshop, speaking your mind to strangers). I have experienced that forcing yourself into a situation you find difficult or embarrasing allows you to grow enormously (even though it turns you suck at it). As Yoda said; do or do not, there is no try.Meeting people and understanding the psychology behind their behavior is what really helps!I took a job as a Senior Planner after spending 5 years with the majority of my responsibilities in digital media- it was a huge and sharp change, that has been very rewarding (mentally)I worked on a pitch as a very Junior Planner. I thought I could do a better presentation than the one which was written, but it was 11pm the night before. Rather than arguing my case and tinkering with each slide, I just did it all again and said 'it's there if you want it'. In the end they used my version...I went on my first business trip and got to interview people in a state where the population was completely foreign to meI'm relatively new to planning but have recently been assigned to what most would consider less than desirable accounts (bad client relationship, boring industries, etc). I think every experience is a stepping stone and an opportunity to learn. It always strikes me as odd when people complain about what work they're assigned in planning. If you're bored, it's probably your fault.I stepped into the media side of the ad business for a few years. Not sure if they were ready for account planning, and it was challenging at times, but it was certainly interesting and I left with bigger respect for my media colleagues.Teaching lead me out of my comfortable zone. I didn't know if I could handle all the pressure of teaching people, but, after the first class, I can already say that I am able. Teaching puts you in a different place we are used to. At a classroom, the teacher is always right. At the client, people are always discussing what you say, you have to be really sure of what you're saying.I think I do it every week. Every new project is a new challenge I'm not quite sure I'll be able to get the best work for.Working on a digital strategy project. Wouldn't consider myself a digital/technological person, so this is definitely stretching me.When I decide to became a planner, I didn't know anyone who could help me finding a job in the area. So I had a LOT of work doing research about the agencies I would like to work and the people who worked there. I sent a lot of emails, mostly were never answered, but fortunately, a really nice planning manager talked to me and after a few weeks gave me my first job in the area.Product developmentThe last company I worked is a digital agency, and these hotshops are the apple of one's eye everywhere now, and I was in a really good position there. But, I think soon these online/offline barriers will go down and I got out there to start a new journey in a more traditional and bigger agency with some challenges to make everybody here more ""integrated"". it's been a little tough, but with quite good resultsAfter graduating from Macalester College with an Economics degree, I got in touch with every single planner in the Minneapolis area. It was great to meet with them in person, but every other conversation ended up with the same answer. Most told me they are not hiring at the moment and added that they would probably prefer different backgrounds. I moved to DC and continued my job search in PR/communications field. I had interviews with The World Band and IFC's external communications departments, Weber Shandwick, and Fleishman-Hillard. I wasn't 100% certain that I would get what I want, but I never gave up on brand planning. It was a dream, but still I thought it could come true. Why not? I was applying to every single agency in NY, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco..etc. At one point, I had 8 interviews with Google Dublin for an Advertising Associate position. I got rejected in my last interview in Chicago, but then again I was not upset that I got rejected. I knew that I wanted to become a planner, and suddenly there it was: a 3 month Brand Planning internship offer at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis. I have been investing all my time and energy in building an agency. This has taken me from daily planning activities and given me the opportunity to participate in decisions that go beyond Brand Strategy. In a way, as a partner, I managed to make strategic planning an important part of the core of the agency's delivery.It’s not about my career, but it’s about my life. I used to live with a friend. And someday she said that she will be back to live with her brother and sister. That was a changing time in my life. I didn’t have a home and I started at my new job. Them I saw my twitter and I saw: ""We are looking for a girl to live with 4 friend in a big house"". And I met them at the same day and I moved to there in 10 days. I live there today, they are my family. I didn’t know those guys, and they didn’t know me. I'm gonna spend some time at an international agency/ To be free is my main goal. Take my child to school in the moorning, then go surfing, explore new presentations in my restaurant, travell and explore new frontiers of, in all is extensionI have worked a lot of time at agencies and companies as marketing manager until I have discover that planning could be a work, a pleasureful work. It has changed my life 3 years ago.Recently I was asked to create a personas presentation for an athletic client on 5 personas with an extremely tight timeline and limited data, I definitely pushed myself and created an extremely successful presentation.I already had to deal with a lot of issues and tasks that have nothing to do with planning technically. Sometimes you have to be a shrink and listen to everyone inside the agency and maybe the client, to help them find a solution that fits everyone¬¥s point of view. This is not planning, this is negotiation and psychology, but if you don¬¥t do that, your planning work may never see the light of day.There are so many niches in planning. I've found that it's best to identify my weaknesses and partner with those who are experts in the matter. That way, I learn, and the client gets the benefit of expertise.I feel like i am personal stretching myself everyday at work. i'm getting more responsibility every day (despite my level) and find myself constantly amazed at what I can piece together in little time. I moved to a state where the market in general is smaller then in my original city. And I still hope it can grow, but it hasnt happened yet.We have gone beyond the brief when we create a space where mothers could show love for his son, creating a competition in which the child most votes would be the poster child for child textile brand.I started to speak my limited English in a few time. Just in a year! I¬¥ve never thinked that I could do that!Every pitch is an exercice to step outside our confort zone. It's the moment we have to impress our ""future"" client. It is stressful and scary but for sure it is the part of the job I enjoy the mosti was working on a pich and my boss was out of town, so a managed the entire pich by myself, from the investigation to the brand idea and the strategy, thank god the creative love my perspective and actually felt we were on the right trackLots of stories could go here. So many times I've been unsure of myself but having that ""yes"" mentality has made things I never would have done before possible. This is my first year as a planner. Before that, I had an experience of 15 years as art director. At first everything was fun, but over time I realized that besides tiring, the way customers were related to society and the world as a whole bothered me. This feeling grew every day. About ten years I have been telling colleagues that the future of companies lies in the causes, that this is the true way to get loyal customers. They said I was crazy for thinking so. Today this is a reality! I feel fulfilled as a professional, because today I have the opportunity to drive business to a more sustainable line of reasoning. I was lucky to leave the comfort zone by turning planning.Moving to a new country to work in a foreign language was a dramatic challenge for happens every day. great chances to interact, react and proactively invent new ways of doing things and communicatingI never leave this country; this home country has been my comfort zone since I was born. I know the culture; the people; the language. So last year, I went to other country where people don't speak my language. Yes I do learn many new things from traveling, but importantly; I learn new things about myself. I got lost but that's when I really found myself.In order to get a grip on this profession you have to stretch yourself all the time... I find earning the inner consent of the creative... on-board the strategic direction to be the most challenging but absolutely essential to the success of any planning activity.Every day, constantly pushing yourself to talk to people, find out whats going on, speak up when you have ideas - even if you think they are shit. Get outside your comfort zone. This is awful at the time but is how we learn and grow.Nothing, really. I guess I don't step out of my comfort zone often enough.Taking on my current role with no experience as a planner!I am doing my best to set planning as a discipline that matters and that can contribute to the work - in short to change the perception of it inside the company. My colleague and I fought hard to make a small ideas room and after a year or so succeded. And yes, people use the room. so there.last time I ""personally stretched myself"" there was a webcam, a sex toy and tokens involved - it may be inspiring to some, I'll spare you the link to videoFor reasons of confidentiality, I have nothing to say on this one. I just took the leap - and have opted to go client side. It's a bit frightening, but it feels like a good time to test the waters, and learn more about ""the other side"" of the creative process.Im newer sure what i do makes any sense.Left my job in the middle of recession and moved to another side of the world to a different country, different culture, without no language skills and no job offer. It worked :)I have over 21 years of experience on the client side of the desk where I am used to working with agencies and getting them to do my bidding. Now I am on the agency side as the planner - helping our team convience our clients what they need to do. I am loving it because it is a real challenge and really have to be deep in research and insights to backup why the client should do something. And I am really good at that.-Since college, I've always been sure of the Planning area, and each year my certainty grows. Since a simple brand equity ou SWOT analysis to even a cultural-changing branded project, all aspects make me love what I do.Starting to work as a planner was one of these moments. I had an extensive experience in communication strategy but I wasn't sure I was taylored for the ""creative"" aspects of strategic planning. Writing my first creative brief was a hard, tough and painfull experience (and it was probably worst for the poor creative who had to work on it). I progressively learned that, if you can't ""train to be creative"", you can learn to unleash the creativity you have somewhere in you by keeping open eyes, ears and mind. When the entire top ranks of my planning department at the time quit, I had to suddenly take on a lot more responsibility than I was prepared to as a junior planner. I have a particularly difficult client that I am still struggling to deal with. They are honestly worse than trying to herd business is always challening in different ways. its hard but its rewarding.This is what I am looking to do in my next job!I never thought I could work on a particular clients business because of their negative impact on society. I sucked it up and took the assignment. And then ended up helping them to transform their business to more positively impact society.I quit my first agency job (the one I joined right out of college), moved to NYC with only a little over a year experience and got a job all on my own. I learned that when you put yourself in uncomfortable and challenging situations you tend to surprise yourself.Open an ad agency in the opposite direction of the business model adopted by most agencies in Brazil.Ha. My entire career has been spent outside of my comfort zone. I've never been sure I can do my job and never let anyone know it. It's planning: half of it is the idea, the other half is conviction. Doing things, you know you are not really supposed to do, and stumbling when doing them, makes you realize how hard the jobs of your colleagues actually is. You will appreciate them my previous agency, on the first day I ""presented"" a pitch presentation to a senior client. I had worked on it for a week in my overlap period, but nevertheless joining a company in the client boardroom presenting a pitch is a unique experienceNone that I can quickly think of.had to do a very quantitative business case and brand drivers research for a brand idea. needed to first learn how to do it and then quickly learn some tricks on excel. but great to align quant with qual - we don't do enough of that in agencies.I am always trying to push hard on my personal capacity. I'm not prepared to have the job I have neither the responsability I have. And this way of growing for me is a unique way to grow.I feel like Planning is one of those great disciplines because there is no routine to it. Everyday could be a new request or experience to embark on. You get to be clever with your approach or borrow one you heard about or discovered. But I would say the scariest thing about planning is that there are no wrong answers, so essentially you have to have conviction and validation in why you chose the strategic direction you did and why that is the bst for the business and the creative. I heard this once and loved it. Planning is like Yoga - you never do planning, you practice it. There is no formulation like accounting or engineering. There is your research and your gut and the output that makes magic when you combine them properly. Doing anthropological field research, for real, (not the fake one - one day in consumer shoes).Every day is a stretch. I am the youngest member of the executive team, in charge of a quarter of the staff here at my agency. Every day is a lesson. A chance for success or failure. And we are constantly asked to invent new ways to solve old problems. We learn as much if not more from our failures, and I have personally grown quickly because of the failures I have had. This job is entirely about perseverance, personally and professionally, for yourself and clients.I guess taking time out for what we call ""Hero"" Projects and ""Thought Leadership"" projects was a big challenge for me. It requires persistence, discipline but most importantly a driver that pushes you towards the end. In my two big thought leadership achievements there was a global level leader nudging me towards the finish line. I decided to take the plunge in both cases not knowing what I was doing but the leadership of those individuals was key in helping me finish. I wish I could have said otherwise, so if you dont have someone driving you towards the end then it's tough luck! Day-to-Day work can be all-consuming and it's hard to do big things like publish a paper, or create a new model of thinking on your own!Well, this week i had accepted a pitch (competition) from our agency in rio. They ask for senior people, but an assistant and two interns do a pretty good job. Rio still think that we are senior planners. =)Once I had to develop a presentation in a week on 'green/eco' for an global client who didn't really have a clue. Through 72 caffeine fueled hours I became a bit of a green expert and managed to put together a presentation that was more than a bit coherent and formed the basis for the clients first foray into the world of greenWe are aiming to work with clients higher and higher up the strategy food chain, including wrapping our heads around business strategy (as completely separate from marketing or comms strategy). This is tricky, and not something we're all trained to do...was a stressful, collaborative process for me, that yielded good results in terms of getting early alignmentFor me a big challenge is balancing my personal life and dreams with my carreer. But In the last 2 years I was able to graduate Chef and Beer Sommelier... something I was not sure I could do... :)Once I decided to leave my job in a very famous advertising agency in Brazil to start a new project in the area of sustainability. I felt this attitude was inspiring for myself and for my friends.I don't have any story like this yetOur client relies on us for way more than advertising. Everything from new store concepts, to new products, to partnership ideas... It's all strategy.Last year our agency made a specific push to get more involved in engagement planning (call it context planning, connection planning, etc.) and assigned me to spearhead our explorations, even though I'd barely conducted any myself. It was overwhelming yet invigorating at the same time. I learned at an amazing rate - probably because I was learning through experimentation. And I managed to lead an integrated team through the experience even though I didn't know what I was doing myself.My background is in engagement planning - more specifically social media and propagation planning. When I arrived at my current agency I made it clear I wanted to learn much more about brand planning. On my very first day I was given a brand positioning brief. It was totally unlike anything I'd ever tackled before and completely paralyzed me with fear - however within two weeks I was presenting back my first brand positioning to client. Collaboration was the key to success - that and determination to succeed (and not look completely incompetent in front of my peers and the client). Working with the suits that knew the client inside and out - as well as tapping into the planning dir. Wholly terrifying and satisfying experience. I had to go to a casting the other day for an ad, to make a few extra bucks. It was way out of my comfort zone, but it helped me get over myself quickly. It made me realise that work is work, and that it comes in different forms. So one can never judge someone for doing a certain job and think they aren't as ambitious, or as focused, or as intelligent as you just because they're pretending that small pieces of white paper is water, and that they're having a water fight with it.I've recently been to Holland where I completely disconnected to the world (no smartphone and no pc). I had only an agenda where to put all my thoughts and observations: my brain. Perhaps, memory doesn't last so much. But if something catches your heart, you'll probably remember it on the right time.I step outside my comfort zone almost every day. Will it be with a ""small"" thing like handling administrative work or getting a bigger role at a new business project, I feel its important to do something every day that will motivate you and push yourself ahead. I believe I can motivate myself this way the best If I don't let myself get lazy. I find a challenge to overcome every day. Today my challenge is to finish 4 different projects and still get to go to the gym :)Coming from the third world, with little to no planning experience trying to make a career in the U.S. My English is not that good but I still manage to present to CMO's and such. At the end it doesn't matter. conducting random man-on-the-street interviews are always tough! especially when you have no incentive and people think you are ""Save the Children"" (no offense) and dont want to talk to you. It's hard listen to the ""No, I don't have time"" drive-by responses but at the end of the day, I've got a job to do and will get it done by any (legal) means necessary.change the categories that you work on, it really does shake things up and helps you get to do different types of thinking.I was at a company and had become very complacent so I found a new job, picked up and moved across the country to a place I had never been and where I didnt know anyone to work at an agency that had a completely different focus from the one I was at. I've experiences A LOT of growing pains but at the end of the day I think I'm a much better planner for the experienceI encouraged my agency to start offering many services like direct, interactive, social media, since all of them I felt we needed to really engage with our target. It has been difficult sometimes (I had to learn by myself) but it has been very successful.Some strategies or ideas that people don't believe and you can make sure that is gonna work. I just follow my feelings, i know that this is gonna be right, so i believed and make the others convinced that it's gonna work. and it did. Working in China without speaking local language-learnt the basics and got a translator Developing digital strategies- it's all about learning as you workIn my company, New Business often becomes a lonely job. Unlike most places or lectures on New business, this company leaves you fairly alone as a Planning team to manage it. I came back to the office after my father's passing away to find we had a pitch in three days (deferred repeatedly so I could be got to do it). Luckily my Head of Creative and I had spoken an idea before I had left and he had had the foresight to develop it. I dictated an entire presentation in 1.5 hours from the clarity residing in my head. We almost won it.The client decided not to work with agency partners at their stage in the market - so not like anyone else won either. I'll save that answer for next year! (In the process of doing it now...)Any time I find myself in heavy media planning meetings with client and media agency. Upfront negotiations, financials, media metrics all complex and I am out of my zone and formal training. But I just hang on for the ride--even understanding 10% is useful in having big picture of client activity.Trust your gut, not your supervisor.walking to santiago (well, the first 750 km, have to complete the last 700.. ;))I picked a really tight audience to go after for a launch. It was risky. Still not sure it will work. In the midst of all the anxiety of the proposal and the acceptance of it, I did two things: kept checking to see what the numbers were telling me about the pros and cons of this decision. Then I put that aside and asked myself: down deep in my stomach, do I feel this will work.I was asked to develop a marketing story for an up and coming cigarette manufacturer. The task wasn't easy for a variety of reasons. First, the psychological factors behind smoking are as complex as they are contradictory. Second, there are strong restrictions on tobacco advertisement in my home country. Third, there was a moral conflict involved advertising for a product as harmful as cigarettes. Having smoked cigarettes myself before I fortunately could relate to the topic and put myself in the shoes of the targetted audience. Still I withdrew from the project as quickly as possible. Fortunately my boss was very understanding and supportive.3 years ago i'm started my career on my actual agency, and historically the agency doesn't have planning dept. And in some directors word the agency doesn't want to change this. The most strategic dept was the information center and i arrive there. After 3 years we don't have the planning dept, and i really don't want these, but now we do ""planning"" jobs. In the same way i start as a assistant and now i am a dept coordinator, and this growing in always motivated from the comfort zone. When i feel that the comfort zone is coming i start to search other stepI don’t have a story yet. The only work I had to do, that really stretch me beyond my imaginary, was a 2 week long brand review that seemed never to end. But it eventually did end and I slept better than ever before. Everyday!Try to build an econometric model to understand ROI of a certain category. was a completely mess for menot particularly but now aspire to. i left working for unilever which is in my county one of the few clients with experience in mkt which are challenging and appreciate our work as planners (they require our presence in every step of the process and even force agencies to have lots of planners to look after their brands) to leader a cool indie agency with most local clients with very little experience in mkt and communications. the experience is hard and is challenging but very enriching because made me left my confort zone and obligued my to keep fresh and simple. For me, it's doing presentations to a large group of people, conference style. I can hold my own very well in a presentation, but I'm talking about the kind that would be a keynote at a conference, where the point is to take them through a narrative and inspire them at the end. A TED type presentation. I can put together a presentation and present them for people about a specific topic, but doing a TED style one is outside of my scope right now. I will get there, baby steps. I wrote a book on maternity in a month time.I'm currently preparing myself to experiment outside of my country, with or without a safety net. So' I'll get back to you on that.I have a digital background, but the area where I feel like I am working on strategic direction that does not have a clear precedent set from previous planning work is in the social media space. I have a good handle on how brands should position themselves and operate in social spaces, but since there is not a lot of examples (since it is still so new) it is harder to justify the recommendations. That being said, this (social strategy) is an area that I am the most passionate about and enjoy working on it more than other planning work.winning an account in san francisco on my own (from a friend/ex client ceo) and moving their to open and run an agency for 7 yearsI stretched myself beyond what I was certain I could do as a newbie planner through being assigned to design/manage esearch simultaneously on four different projects. Having never done this before and minimal supervision, I was completely taken out of my comfort zone. There was no doubt it was trial by fire, but the experience forced me to manage my expectations and know I don't have to be 100% confident to still get the job done right. i tried to give planning a stucture in my office (beyond the accounts I work for) since it is a creative agency, sometimes I feel very alone, I have recognition from my clients and from global senior team, but getting the local business to recognize what we can bring to table soemtimes is hardYes I moved countries and started over when I reached the topmost planning position at my country because I knew if I don't I wouldn't grow as much as I wanted to.I was asked to interview some senior members at various retailers. This was nerve-racking but I found that these individuals like to talk about themselves and can be very forth-coming when asked questions about their workAs a starting planner I developed an idea for two large global brands to do a collaboration. My Head of Strategy ( of a network agency) hated it, plus second he felt that I could not approach companies on my own while for for ""his"" agency. I went ahead an contacted both Marketing Directors of both brands anyway. I was struck with amazement and disbelieve when both parties seem interested. So, I set up two meeting, one for each company and presented my ideas. I had been a planner for 2 months and came from a completely different industry before my planning career. Anyway, the both loved the idea and how I presented it. However, being a dwarf among International giants. I was eaten up and spat out. One of them went ahead and used my idea and collaborated with a different but similar brand compared to the counter part I had selected. Anyway, until this day. For me those meetings where epic because of the learning. Passion, energy and a rock solid belief in ones own ideas and powers will always cause an enormous impact. People literally feel that energy! In ad-land this is often forgotten.being sent to china at a very junior level in order to fulfill the role of a senior planner. The end result was a success i usually have to step outside of my comfort zone, making some technical task on social networks or coordinating the work of the account teamNothing comes to my mind ! Maybe that in fact, I don't feel challenged enough, and I'm too often in my comfort zone. Another reason why I decided to quit. workshops with clients to find new fields at their businessstarted working as a planner 9 years ago, with zero experience in advertising or planning whatsoever. impossible as everybody around me said, possible it seemedMoving to different cities every 3 years helpsI always try to seek advice from others who may have succeeded in a similar task.Thrown into the middle of a pitch or something I guess. Not a great answer!Three years ago I joined the start up of a new local 360 communication agency that was really starting from scratch. I was in charge of the strategic assets of the agency, building our own models, strategic vison and approach. It was exciting and inspiring. But I was missing the international approach, so, last year, I decided to switch to a big company again. But sometimes I really miss all that fresh energy and enthusiasm... I had to give an intitiation keynote speech for a clients brand day. My job was to analyse and elaborate the effects of the economic crisis in different European countries and how to use them for their brand. What was challenging to me was this job needing very broad and at the same time indepth insights to be instantly applicable to various aspects of marketing. This is something I hadn't done before, neither had I been in the position of being a key inspirational speaker.Doing a massive workshop on a client I didn't even work on to help a missing planning friend! It was a disaster!I think I try to embrace everything as a new exciting thing I can learn from. Last year I was involved in a pitch (I didn’t have much experience) but I tried to give my best...When I was in the process of interviewing for this job, I was told it would be necessary for me to freelance for 3 months as a trial before they could actually hire me. As it was my first job in an advertising agency, I said I could do it for up to 6 months without a problem. It's now been already 10 months and no real prospect of things to change anytime soon. Full-time job and being paid under minimum wage since day 1.Actually I pretend to tell next year. My next personal project is to start playing sax! Wish me luck.One year into my career, working on a major project for our largest client, I found myself having to oversee, provide feedback on and approve the work of numerous others in the agency, al of whom were older/more experienced than I (including a couple of account directors). I also needed to make sure that all of the work was done in time for a very large (and expensive) client meeting. It was quite stressful, but I was able to pull it off after about 2.5 years at my first job (was lucky enough to get right into planning), i transferred from our chicago office to our mexico city office. i knew spanish, but had never been to this city before. so it was very much a leap of faith - moving to somewhere new where i knew not a single soul. it's been a month and so far, no complaints (which is much more positive than it sounds). the most difficult thing (and i had a feeling this would be a great challenge) is adapting to the work environment/politics/efficiencies. i should have a better idea of whether i've succeeded or failed by month 6.The first time I moderated a group I was very nervous. This is small potatoes, but I was terrified. It ended up going really well. Managed to help create a group filled with great energy and an atmosphere that excavated entirely useful insights.During a new biz pitch, i was the ""on deck"" planner, the planner that helped out on the day-to-day buisness while some of the more senior planners where working on the pitch. Everyday I was jumping onto different clients with different problems. With very little information I had to be the voice of planning. I loved it. It gave me a real sense that I at least kind of knew what i was doing!There are countless times when I see a strategy or bit of work and think, 'Wow, if only I could do something like that.' But the truth is I can, and so can you - if we put our minds to it. There are some terrifyingly brilliant planners out there, but more often than not you see their finished products, not their workings. Remember that behind that stunning and divinely simple strategy lies reams of scribbles, scratchings and scrunched up paper. Planning's not about plucking out of thin air. Don't worry if at first you're not sure how you're going to get there. It's about taking lots of little steps until you realise you've leapt someone totally unexpected. I feel like every new job is a stretch for a planner because every agency and client needs something different from a planner and its likely something you've never done before. I helped draft a plan to push a piece of legislation through Congress. Never done anything like that before, and it was fascinating.I was asked for a helping hand on a research proposal, yet soon found myself going beyond the proposal and into the actual research -- all of the methodology was totally new (and never done before), so I had no idea what I was doing . . . but neither did anyone else. I just did whatever made sense to me, and was able to sort of reinvent the way the internal team perceived what research could do. From awkward to awesome in record time.I will do it now!!! Hahahahahahaha - I don’t have a clear plan already, but I will step outside my comfort zone. Ask me next year!I facilitated a workshop involving some new potential clients, our CEO, CFO, and a few other intimidating agency characters. It was nerve racking at first and the day didn't go according to plan (do they ever?), but once I found the flow, the rest of the day was totally grooving. A great experience. In the end, I learned that no matter what situation your agency puts you in there's always someone who wants to see you succeed and sometimes its the most unlikely of people who end up supporting you when you need it most.My whole carrer has been a constant stretching-up. I am an integrated communications enthusiast and because of it I have always pushed myself through different types of agencies and disciplines. I started as a client and always felt out-of-place, s√≥ I decided to get into the ad business. After some job-hunting a friend recommended me on a a promotion-only agency to build the planning department. After some time I wanted more, so I moved to a brand experience agency with a strong planning director. God knows how I suffered and thought I couldn't do it. When I gained renowm on the agency (the director left us and once again I became the leader of the dept), I jumped to a content+digital agency that, after 6 months, became a full-service agency with content+digital+promotion+advertising where I started working as a brand planner. Once again it was hard, but I am consolidating myself now among agency colleagues and clients. Today I am closer to what I see as a complete planner with diverse background. I think my next step is to join a larger ad group so I can consolidate all these learnings using planning and research tools to bigger communication budgets. :)I take things on all the time without a specific plan for how to get it done or even a knowledge base to do it. Here's the truth - planners make shit up all the time. We have a set of tools we fall back on, but we use our intuition and our instincts to push a project forward and make things happen in a way no one else imagined it could. If you only take on things you know how to do, you're unlikely to ever do anything truly amazing.Every pitch, presentation, even briefing can be a little nerve-wracking. I'm always tempted to work solo and ""reveal"" but these seem to go a lot better when I collaborate early on and have an invested audience.interviewing consumers when never have before, setting a company strategic vision and positioningMy original purpose for becoming a planner was to inspire creatives in coming up with meaningful world changing ideas. I've now begun to consider a detour outside of advertising to explore other means of how i can use my skills as a planner in a place with greater social impact, and less process; where I can witness the change that i'm creating and the lives that i'm changing.I started to write about decoration/ indoor architecture but it didn't last :(Presenting in front of large audiences still makes my stomach turn. I have a love/hate relationship with the feeling because it means I truly care about content, I will be concerned about presenting in front of large audiences the day I stop getting butterflies. The creative leadership on my account basically imploded in the middle of developing an entirely new campaign - one of the most critical moments in years. I had to basically step in and act as creative director helping lead us to the creative presentation. It was scary to have to give creative feedback in such a definitive way, but in the end it led to a great result.To pursue what you believe in planning, strategy, branding or advertising. Sometimes we are working for a soap client and it has a nice brand phylosophy protecting the natural resources and its projects are to make people in the world better. To believe in some brands growth and goals is to work better, to earn money better and to make the day better.Being the first female to work on a male dominated client and agency team. I was sent to Kiev (at age 23) by myself to facilitate a workshop. Besides being nervous about the traveling aspect, I had to learn how to interact professionally with a client and agency group and got real-time training in being a strong presence in the room! It was this ""throw me in the ring"" mentality that allowed me to succeed on that trip!I was told for years I needed to speak up more and have a point of view. I was sure I couldn't do it, but I did and realized it was what everyone was starving for - not always my thoughts, just anyone with a developed opinion and not just data-dumping.In a perfect world, great creative work should always originate from stellar planning work. Planners have to always get outside their comfort zone every moment in order to be able to do that.Much of what I do in my current role is, in my opinion, out of the realm of my qualifications and experience to perform. But I have the digital knowledge that senior & management folks lack (everyone who is under 27 has this knowledge), and I can learn to manage as I go. It's working. You learn faster in situ - instead of having to wait your turn in a hierarchical line.motherhood. I had no idea going into it how much work it is--the mental, physical and emotional stamina an resources you need to give it--but knowing I can help (with my husband) raise two kids and work 50+ hours a week for myself/our livelihoods, well, that's been a huge stretch and amazing thing to learn.we constantly stretch ourselves. nature of job to be cerative and innovativeI recently attended an international client-agency conference as the sole US agency representative on a particular target. Initially I questioned whether I'd be the best choice to represent, but I find that I always know more than I give myself credit for (as well as the fact that I still have a lot to learn!). It was an amazing experience and I'm so glad I was brave enough to ""own"" it.I've done improv before, it's really hard and I was awful, but it was a great experienceI'm a carpenter.I'm never afraid to pitch ideas. You never know where they may lead.Six months into my job I asked my CEO if the agency could start a new department. He said yes, we need to do that, and then asked me to lead it. I was like, uh..... Ok. The hardest thing about sharing a good idea is picking the right moment to share it. The next hardest thing is finishing it. Don't say you'll start something unless you know that you want to finish it. Don't get caught up in theory. Do some shit and get it done.I thought I would suck at teaching. It turned out to not so hard but incredibly fulfilling and even inspiring. I had to give a lecture to a bunch of Marketing Directors on branding in the digital world. It was difficult but worth it as I believe I learnt more than they did.We have started shooting videos and the agency purchased an HD camera, I was trained for three days to learn how to use the camera and edit the footage. The experience was fun and the results were amazing. From now on, we will be using videos a lot more and we will use the footage to create short themed documentaries that truly convey customers' insights.Every failure, of which I have many, are not a chink in my armor, but rather another layer of confidence because I and my career lived through it. asked to present ""what's next"" in technology and media to senior clients with two days notice.Just making the switch to planning so late in life, but I love it, it's perfect for me, and my agency has let me do all sorts of crazy things, no one ever treated me like a junior when I was a junior - they just let me at it. Strangely, nothing comes to mind at the moment. Maybe this is a problem.this is a good question! I feel silly that I cannot think of anything right now that would count for this!Looking forward to reading this section in your report because it's something I have to do more of. Play it safe too often.Moved from a full-service to an agency with strong shopper marketing practice, so i've hard to adjust. the fundamentals are the same, but the filters are slightly different. you have to realize that the consumer and the shopper may be different people...When I had to prepare a detailed pitch presentation overnight for a major was rough....I want to be a professional musician (yes, one of many admen ha!). So I will tell you later on if it worked or not! :) Be a one man researcher who traveled to several cities across the country with my camera interviewing folks.I was able to move from a marketing career (comfort zone) into advertising! It looks pretty easy but it's not! It took me a huge effort to understand this new path, meet a lot of people, study hard and plan my career for it.I decided to dive head-long into quant analysis. I had always hated it - but guess what? It's one place where you can really make the numbers confess true behavior. Now I'm loving it.3 days of no sleep (and i mean no) in preparation for a pitch.This job is one of these experiences since it is my first time working in an agency environment and as a planner. I have always been a client so stretching to be on the other side of the fence!Presenting in front of large groups of people, is a necessary, yet less comfortable experience that I've had to do on occasion. I find that if I mentally psych myself up and try and picture people laughing at my jokes/being enthralled with what I have to say, I am less likely to bomb - than when I imagine the worst possible outcome. It's a head game, and I often have people come up and tell me what a great presenter I was, when I go in pumped up and ready to rock! I'm living it right now. New role = new responsibilities and challenges. I want to be a planner, but I have to spend half my time (at least) learning how to manage and administrate. Developed the business plan for launching a new kind of whiskey - an in-house project. Some of the most valuable lessons I've learnt have been on pitches we've lost - about how we approached the brief but also about reading what the client really wants and working with senior staff internally. ha. I hate branding in general. I tend to focus my energy on relationship management, social and digital...things with measurable results. I was horrified when my client asked me to conduct a brainstorm on branding. I was lost, out of my element and in apanic. I consulted with a more senior memebr of the team, got pointers and plowed through the exercise. In the end the client was happy...not thrilled, but happyI've always tried to bite off more than i could chew. when i hear someone say that they can't get the great assignments or don't seem to be progressing internally as quickly as they'd like it seems to always come down to the fact that they aren't reaching out for the opportunities. I've gotten to where i am by always making sure that i am continually pushing myself to take on projects or assignments that give me an opportunity to shine. sounds really simple but the truth is, no one is going to manage your career for you. you need to take the opportunities you want. they won't be handed to you.Analytics planning and cross channel planningI had to edit 8 hours of interview videos in to a 5 minutes movie. I didn't know how to edit movies. I tuck 2 days to do it, but the point of view of the editing of the video made all of the difference in the planning strategy and final presentation to the client. I had to edit 8 hours of interview videos in to a 5 minutes movie. I didn't know how to edit movies. I tuck 2 days to do it, but the point of view of the editing of the video made all of the difference in the planning strategy and final presentation to the client.When we began making Branding projects in the agency we decided to go deep into most difficult business issues of our clients. The problem was when we got the first B2B repositioning to do. It was far more difficult than we expected and we had to ask for external help to clean everythingup.Getting a social monitoring system up and running has been a challenge and a constant feeling of not knowing that I'm ""doing it right"". The biggest stretch up til now would be my 2 kids, who enrich both my professional and personal life to no end. But some careerwise stretching will have to be done at some point as well. Started in Agency, worked on Client side for 10 year +, owned my own small business, returned to Agency. Challenge - to go back where it started but with a huge change in culture and way of working - to be able to adapt to different business scenarios - all agencies people should have a work experience outside taking on this job has removed me from my comfort zone fairly spectacularly. i recommend you to live the consumer experience, from the beginning to the end. The value proposition and segmentation strategy project was one that an agency wouldn't typically do. I've been an account person with strong strategic muscles for almost 15 years now, focusing on developing planning skills over the past five. Communications planning as I know it doesn't typically embrace value prop/segmentation work. Marketing departments will often lead in this territory (to my knowledge). It has challenged my comfort zone, encouraged me to tap into minds all around me, has caused me to take risks that have led to some mistakes/some real wins. In the end there has been tremendous learning that has grown my skill set immeasurably. If I were to do it again, I would definitely do a few things differently - but again, all positive learnings.Under my current global planning director, I havent had the chance. Previously I was working with a really inspirational planner, who had me leading product positioning workshops with our global automotive client, designing key global research, and just keeping me on a loose, supportive, informative set of reignsI've always had the good luck of having bosses who've just let me loose and allowed me to punch beyond my weight, at every stage of my career. Right now, I'm my own boss. And I find it difficult to figure out what weight class I'm in and how much above it I should be aiming to punch.Well, I was a scout girl once, and it does help me a lot with planning. We learn a lot of things in scouting, including think different to solve a problem. And it's like what we, planners do. I believe EVERYTHING can contribute to our work because our work can be everything.a) moving into planning b) moving agencies to a different countryWhen I started, I was on a team with 2 strategists. Then 2 years later, I was moved to a team where I was the only strategist and had to start doing everything by myself. I was worried at first, but it taught me so much about my own abilities that I hadn't yet realized.I almost feel like this is something I do every day. I've only been in planning for about 6 months, so it seems like every week I'm asked to do something I've never done before! One specific example though, earlier this year my team decided we needed some quick and dirty qualitative info. We had some hypotheses from the women on our own team, but wanted to make sure these weren't unique to the three of us! Since the planning director on the business (at the time) was male, and our products are distinctly FEMALE, I was left with the responsibility of moderating two small internal focus groups - something I'd only ever watched before. Honestly I was terrified that I was going to ask questions, get blank stares back from the women in the group and get yanked out of the room by my boss's boss. I spent most of the night before having minor freak outs, but in the end both groups went fine. The women were surprisingly willing to talk and the main thing that I had to do as a moderator was let them.Being a ""digital"" strategist some organizations assume that you have a deeper level of technical knowledge. So in party Ive had to act as a producer which has expanded my knowledge of things like front end/back end development, Flash, UX etc. But this has helped me understand what is possible which is even beyond what I thought.Not exactly, but then when I graduated first in next month, was brought to the planning area (formerly the creative industry's) so there was no training or help for me to initiate my activities. Anyway, I already placed two pieces of a big client of the agency. The first activity was to develop an internal marketing and a second intervention. The first were very lucky because I had problems getting the second approval of the budget. The activity aimed endomarketing suggested a competition among company employees. A table showing why Formula 1 has been placed in the sales room where everyone followed the sales and thus felt a competition always wanting to be better than the other.I've worked in another global network agency before this one. After a great six months, because of an intern adjustment, I got a new boss that made my life miserable. She took me out of most jobs and my work became, basically, download pictures and our clients competitor's ads. The little thinking work I did, she would simple ignore it and create her own, even with clients that she didn't know (and her campaign approval was very low also). So I started to get frustrated and, after one year with her, I was depressed. I didn't have the courage at the time to just quit (2008-2009 crisis was still a fresh memory), but after one year getting the courage to do it, I finally said good-bye to that world and decided I would never work at an agency again. Got all the money I had saved and went on a long trip to learn something new, to photograph. After one month and a half jumping from a country to another, I realised my head was spinning, I wanted to learn and work and apply everything again. My parents told me I was crazy to spend all that money while I was unemployed and with no perspectives of what to do in life, but after 4 months (one month I stood at home depressing, one and a half traveling, one and a half absorbing everything I just witnessed) I went to my first interview, in a big global network agency again (in the same international communications group) and was honest: I quit because they made my life miserable, I stopped to learn and because of that I needed to get apart of everything and analyse my life in another perspective, in that case, analyse it with the camera's lenses). The following week I was hired in a higher role than that I applied for, a higher salary, an assistant and a great team, a great boss who valued what I did to understand myself. Sometimes you want to do something, you feel you need to do it and you don't because you are afraid. Try it. It can pay off. And even if it doesn't, a true planners heart seeks no comfort zone, since a comfort zone teaches nothing. So you might still learn something anyway.In fact, my current position needs I do a lot of work as account services director or account services VP, witch I hasn't any experience doing this. I lived many difficulties managing coordination and sometimes I received calls from clients that I have no idea how to solution what they want. Some moments I was very disappointed and has a lot of stress. However I have the best opportunity to learn how important is the job of managing clients expectations, and recognized that many times as a planner I behave quite arrogant and didn't know that the essence to make happen a strategy is to act being focused, but at the same time, flexible. =)Once the entire planning department was ""empty"" the head went to London, the director went to - the supervisor went only me stayed there with a lot of clients and few hours of rest - After that the agency recognize my effort - sometimes you should face the problem breath and go I've recently started presenting to clients which is a new experience for me.We are more and more, delving into the branding/package design/innovations space. Looking at clients' businesses though a holistic lens (rather than a marketing/advertising one) has been a new but inspirational challenge.I do not have many of these stories, but as a junior planner, I feel I am always having to choose and force my way into conversations to express my opinions and point of views and to show the fact that I do good work. Sometimes that can be discomforting and enlightening when many of the people you work with our tenured veterans who have done some big things in the industry.I'm in that process right now. I'm planning to grow my personal business (today catered by my wife) so i can quit and start working on my own company without risking my family stability. The lesson i would say: if you have an idea, Just Start sooner than you thought.I feel stretched out of my comfort zone all the's how I grow, learn, excel. No story pops to mind right now...Permanent resident outside of my comfort zone. Not being afraid of quitting and leaving my work and life in Japan (I can always go back). Being ready for a new start, adventure, phase in my life in Europe. Breaking out of the ordinary and changing sceneries to experience something new. Our digital department was dropping accounts due to a lack of resources. In addition, their scope was limited to design and development, thus our business opportunities were quite limited. I decided to create a social media management model to get more business flowing into the department, and to secure more digital strategy work for the agency. As a young planner with little experience, this was certainly daunting. But I'm happy to say that my model has been adopted and we're doing damn well.establish my role with clients led by creative gut rather than strategic approach who dont understand the importance of strategy-led creative ideas.Joining an agency that's at the top of its game and never accepts simply good is a great start.I find that planners typically are too critical of themselves and whilst this can be good, we do need to give ourselves a freaking break. I recently took on serious challenge. Having 5 years of experience in Planning (medium weight) I got seemingly stupid offer to head up a multinational Financial Services account spanning the entire breadth of Financial offerings (having no previous experience in Fin Services). I was seriously out of my depth and doubted whether I was able to do the job or even meet expectations. I'm 2 months into the job and I've come to the realisation as planners we need to believe in ourselves. NO matter how out of your depth you may be, if one applies the basic principles of planning and just take a step back, putting some daylight between yourself and the daily operational workings of the account (and get close to the creative teams). You'll surprise yourself. Part of our job is to exhaust all the possible scenarios, doubt our thinking, start again, finish and start over again. Confident, assured thinking (whether interacting internal or with Client) is the bedrock of building credibility, don‚Äôt ever doubt yourself. I did. And having applied my mind day and night, I‚Äôve even surprised myself. I feel that discomfort every single day. But it somehow always works itself out.Lead a storytelling project using an overseas supplier for a business to business client. We sold the idea and ended up with some very interesting output but the client in the end was more interested in having spent the budget than what we had foundFive years ago I changed to a job in a Marketing Consultant Company specialized in understand BoP consumer to develop products, communication and innovation.This is not really related with planning... I have a very strong vertigo. to cure it, i've decided four years ago to do climbing ... well, i still have the same vertigo but doing one scary thing for me per day has becoming a philosophy ....I am not very athletic and I climbed Machu Picchu. It was really hard but once I made it I realize that I can, at least temporarily, be any kind of person I want. Just finished up a pretty robust quantitative and qualitative research project for a global client. I did 100% of the research an analysis personally -- no 3rd party research companies. When we won the project, I had no idea how I was going to pull-off any of it. But I worked it through it and ended up with the best research my CSO or I have ever seen. I'm not sure what the lesson is, but it was a pretty satisfying experience. How about this: You can do more than you think you can.currently i dont think i have such story. i have been in the company for 5 years, losing some juniors that i have trained and taught; just 1 week ago, i was thinking about ""am i being too comfortable here, that i don't want to seek another challenge away from here?"" i started my career at my current office, the question of ""what's it like out there"" has always been on my mind for the last 2 years. i think it's a matter of time when i decided to bring my talent and experience to other market away from my country.Being a project managerFor the last 4 years I have been managing an account pretty much both and a planner and an account manager. The account is very much about internal communications so this was highly unusual for me, more like being a strategic consultant. An interesting experience but I found it difficult to be both on the relationship management and the content development.doing what i do everyday is stretching myself beyond what i think i can do. planning is a job you figure out as you go along - sure the training helps along the way - but there is never 1 right answer - how convincing you are goes along wayI am from Europe and have always been a planner for either UK or global brands. This feels relatively easy compared to what I do now. There is a certain level of intuition that you can use when planning for cultures that you inherently know. Now, I am working in asia and the differences across the region from country to country are vast. It's not as easy to make assumptions or develop hypotheses when everything and everyone is brand new. So in summary, as a westerner, developing strategies for how to target a young housewife in rural China takes me outside of my comfort zone every day.Every time I get a new brief I have a moment of ""will I be able to pull this off"" because with every new brief you need to find an insight and if you take for granted that you will be able to do it every time, you're probably missing the true insights and developing mediocre strategies. Pitching new business with very very little agency and planning experience was definitely a stretch, but it turned out brilliantly.I think the best planners are the ones that just make things happen.. no money for research? Let's walk on the street and talk to people... I often do things that are way beyond my knowledge/scope like editing videos and recruiting people for informal interviews, because I think it will help me tell a better story. I'm doing it right now. I started as a planner and was asked to become a digital strategist. Not super comfortable with this but trying it anyway. Took a job at a higher level position than I was probably ready for at the time. Not a fan of upper-level politics. Never have been. I've definitely stumbled internally at times. But, I learned a ton in the process. I don't regret it and feel lucky the opportunity presented itself.One day we had a problem with a client here, he couldn¬¥t understand, besides all of our studies, the real problem of the brand and cannot gives us any direction. So, we started thinking for our own, and developed an idea about what would be the point of view of the brand. When we showed it to him, he liked so much. We offered something that he has never thought before. So, the learning is: Do what you think that would be great, dispite the problems. Sell your idea, show different things . There is no reason for the client to pay you to think just the same way he boss (who at the time was the only planner besides myself) went on maternity leave. that left me, with three months of planning experience, to be the lead planner on an enormous new business pitch. i was working side by side with our agency's most senior people, had to lead a strategy session with the company's CEO (SCARY), and owned 1/3 of the final pitch ) about 25 minutes of speaking time. I was terrified. But I made it through. Now every time I get up to give a presentation or speak in front of a group, I'm just a little less nervous.Any new job/clientTeaching the young planners for tomorrow. Holding it down on the big stages.Being left to be the sole planner in the company (due to maternity leave) after only one year - having to look after three people's worth of clients and all new business - terrifying, but really rewarding once I'd found my feet.I left my comfort zone in advertising agency by taking a client's side job 4 years ago. It was something that I wanted to try, but I found out that it was not for me. So I went back to advertising.Every tme I have to do something with statistics, I feel uncomfortable. But I do it. And generally, afterwards, I remark to myself, ""That wasn't so hard, was it?""Moved from suit to planner with no mentor and sort of made it up as I went along. It has means a long struggle for acceptance and uncomfortable moments when I haven't known some jargon or silly process, but has paid off, largely because when you don't know the rules, you're no contrained by them, which has helped me stand out in later years in ways I wouldn't if I'd been taught normallyHaving to present at a Global meeting about a subject I knew very little about. I decided to make it more entertaining than fact based and used stand-up methodologies to illustrate 2 salient points and was awarded best presentation.presented at a TEDx eventFor the first time in my life I'm one of the chief ""client service"" people on my accounts (when you get senior, everyone is a client service person) and have a lot of face-time with clients. Established clients trot me out to impress important colleagues (met with a Client's Board a few months ago, as well as head of UK office) and this is stressful but rewarding.My biggest stretch was a period in my career where I had to make the jump into product innovation. It has its own vernacular, creative process... and it taught me to never separate the brand from the product experience. It also taught me to be respectful and mindful of my clients' world and objectives.Speaking at conferenceI worked for ten years in the creative media realm and switched careers in my early 30's to planning. was risky but I learned along the way that my previous experience was HUGELY helpful, so i avoided starting at the bottom, and am feel well prepared to kick ass. Write a book about a suburban indie rock band.Not yet. I'm building up the courage... :)I've had to present in front of clients pretty early in my career as a planner, which has been a unique opportunity, but has also forced me to hone my presentation skills. I started as a planner about 6 months ago, from a much more administrative role. I think at first the hardest thing for me was to confidently voice my ideas and opinions--I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder and the ridiculous misconception that my thoughts wouldn't be good enough or valid. I learned, though, that even the most seasoned planners feel this way; they just have more experience than I did and know that you have to take risks and put your stuff out there. We've all had ideas that have fallen flat, but sometimes within a not so great idea you find something that leads you where you need to be. So now, even if I'm nervous and not 100% comfortable, or I have an idea that's not 100% formed, I force myself to SPEAK UP.I am in the process of living that story as I just got promoted...only time will tell how that goes.Prior to my current job, I had a planning heavy residency during graduate school for a well known international company. It was my first foray into a new field, but the research was received well by senior management and I became one of two grad students sent to present to the CEO--a first in the company's history. We have a new method of involving consumers in being part of the creative process. It has been experimental and difficult, but very rewarding. I was unsure of how to go about it and also how it would be judged, ie credible, helpful. It was exhausting mentally and emotionally, but has been a huge success. I had to just dive in and do it and it worked out well. Even if I'm quite young (25) I feel like I want to go back to school to learn industrial design in order to infuse it back into the advertising agency. It feels kind of weird to go back to school only 2 years and a half leaving it but I feel like it can turn me into a better person.Content planning for my employer's own site and other properties.managing client relationships for an old account of the agency after they insisted they change the entire existing team. In my year as a Teach For India Fellow, I moved to another city and taught a class of 53 students coming from under-privileged backgrounds and studying in Grade 3 in an under-resourced Government school. The goal was to help them achieve academic excellence, and though my contribution was merely the first step in a long process with many contributors and stakeholders, my learning curve that year was very steep. My experiences and learnings from that year play a role in the way I work as a planner today.There was once a project where i came up with a challenging idea of segmenting audiences online. It was a project that involved a new concept called 'desire paths'. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of ideating the execution of the concept and bagging the account in a pitch situation with top 10 agencies in the world pitching for the account.Going from communication planning to true hard core problem solving. Performed music at a client offsiteTeaching was definitely scary. Collecting all gut feelings and turning it into structured, sound train of thoughts...I've recently finished a campaign that had a location-based mobile app as the hero execution. Building the infrastructure for that campaign was very different from anything I'd been involved in before - really involved and granular - but extremely rewarding when it worked.I used to be a dancer, classic ballet, but I need to speak and make money, then I chose the marketing, the planning to do this.Change country and work as a planner somewhere else. there is no better way to improve your planning skills. say no to agencies if you don't like to work for them. Don't work with Creative Directors which are mean and tell them how they are. Invite people from different areas in your pitch-brainstorms, they no 100% better the case then you. I became a planner - I started in media, but realized planning needed a push to the connections side of the game. It has been scary and fun...Nailed a pitch doing something different and we still lost. Led a large strategic positioning project from start to finish.I've started public speaking.As a planner, I've very much stayed in the planner specific world. Recently, I've been involving myself with at least paying attention to production - what happens when the idea gets sold. Because actually thats a lot of time when the strategy gets lost and the work starts to falter. Getting involved in that stuff has been a bit intimidating but also really helps to bring the whole story together for me - from inception of idea to production.Shortly after my first full-time planning job, my boss (the planning director) left the agency, and because of staffing and client shifts, I was left to tend to the account pretty much on my own. It was terrifying at first because I wasn't sure I knew what to do, but it really forced me to dig in, not be afraid to ask questions, have conviction about my ideas, and take a lot of risks. As a result, I garnered the trust and respect of my clients and grew very close to my account and creative teams.Partnered up with a major research company to try to validate the value of a total market approach (GM, HIspanics and AA) for a forture 500 company. We had to create a ROI model from scratch with access to very little data that could be compared across segments. I had the opportunity to service a client that was not in the healthcare domain. Initially met with a lot of resistance for two major reasons - why a healthcare person?, and why a planner to service the account? Natural queries. But the agency had a valid justification - The client needed someone who can bring them out of their set category norms and they definitely needed someone from a category that itself was undergoing massive changes. Healthcare was the answer to that? And when you have one servicing person in a team of three who thinks differently and constantly asks endless questions, its always for the better. (I have always believed that as planners, we ought to ask the right questions at the right time. The answers will either follow or be followed ) Over time, they realized the change was afresh and things looked good for almost six months. Beyond that my planning responsibilities had substantially increased and the account had also stabilized, so we parted ways. But one thing that this experience taught me was that Account Management is a very tricky role and I developed a lot of respect for them, although I did not really enjoy all aspects of the job profile. But yes, being in touch with the clients constantly does make you a more involved planner in scheme of business and that experience really helped me grow into one who is conscious about both brands and business!I think its definitely difficult to talk to older people. They aren't as open or trusting and so I've definitely found a challenge when talking to them. Its tricky to make them comfortable and I've been shot down many times. It is something that I am still nurturing.every day at work is a battle, you have to come prepared. Working on a Global scale is what I have been doing for the last three years and the idea was quite daunting initially. I was born and raised in the US where we really aren't exposed to other languages and different cultures since the country is so big. I wasn't sure that I would be able to succeed in learning multiple new cultures, especially considering the hit-and-run style of planning that is typically done, but it is really the same as learning a new brand, new category, new target - all the same techniques and rules apply.Moving countries (to a city where I knew noone). Was quite fun.Senior planning directory was out on vacation, wrote an entire strategic setup to a pitch deckI feel that often when I have to come up with a big new idea (not unlike a creative, I suppose). I've never not come through, but I often employ certain tricks to help me come up with an idea (eat a peanut butter sandwich, do a face mask, etc.).For a new campaign, I briefed differently than we ever have at our agency; initially, the room was very quiet (always worrying), but the creatives came back with really great work. Of course, the clients changed their mind as to what they wanted, but it was exciting to sell in a different approach internally and externally. Public speaking is always a test for me, althogh over the years I've gotten less afraid of it and am actually better than I had thought. the key seemed to be linking whatever I'm presenting to a personal storyI'm a terrible public speaker, and I somehow was wrangled into speaking to a group of 30 high school juniors and seniors about advertising, my role within the agency, and how I got to where I am today. This public speaking thing is very much a work in progress, but it's getting easier the more I do it. I just have to remember confidence is key and everything I do.i was a creative for more than 10 years in many agencies, i became the first oficial brand planner for Ogilvy El Salvador not knowing what the hell i was getting in to. I dont know any other brand planner in El Salvador and have never spoken to one. I hated numbers and graphics, i loved writting tv ads. My boss just told me i had the soul of a planner and he needed one. The only thing i knew was that i loved strategy and consumer insights. I am still the only planner in my agency and i belive in the country, a real one... many account executives say they do planning in other agencies. I belive the planning age is just starting in central america and it has been a huge challenge to be a creative planner. Moving from account service to planning was a huge thing, after 10 successful years as account guy. I thought it would be easy but it wasn't. I was too focused on the client for awhile, not the deep real insight and not the breakaway strategy. That came after 4 years as a planner.A few years ago, I was asked to lead a large strategy summit that would inform the global launch of a new vehicle brand. This was new territory for me: Could I do a decent job managing some of the most senior people from one of the world's largest companies and guiding strategy development (their ideas, not mine) that could meet the needs of all the marketing regions represented? It was a daunting task. In the end, I was successful, partly because I asked for a lot of advice along the way, partly because I prepared like crazy--the key to these things is developing great TOOLS ahead of time, ideally some that are uniquely ownable by the agency and participants--and partly because I put my ego aside and really focused on helping the participants find answers rather than trying to sneak in my own and try to sell them. (I'm very proud of that last part. It was really hard to do!)I proposed to open a consultancy in a JV with another group company and was offered to manage it. It is a very different experience from being a planner of a brand. It allows me to get into more interesting conversations with clients and have more impact beyond ads. But it also forces me to be more business oriented and paying attention to business opportunities all the time, something I realize as a planners we not always do. Every day I feel outside of my comfort zone, but pushing yourself anyway makes it ok. I step out of my comfort zone all the time! In fact, it's so much a part of what I do that it's hard to think of a single story. Probably one of the most important things I've learned over time is that no one has a monopoly on right answers, and that just getting going on things is half the battle. Innovation and good ideas are never build at the desktop. I need to work with people from totally different fields to get inspiration and understanding. Change Location and way of working. So as clients don't test business strategy by creative work, sometimes we create materials in between to project different creative territories.Nothing springs to mind, every time you do a new strategy its a challenge!I have only done it once, but I wrote an ad once. The creatives ran with it & made it where it became a Cannes Finalist.I don't remember the last time I was comfortable. My job/role is constantly changing there never seems to be a formula I can stick to (don't tell my clients) so there is risk in most things I do or suggest and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. First day on the job I had to help with a pitch. I ahd to trawl through a high pile fo research on the Australian insurance sector and learn it in a few days to present the key insights to internal stakeholders.Most weeks I' asked to do something I've not done before or don't know how to approach. But that's the fun. Doing something new, different. If life's an adventure, then given we spend most of our lives at work, it should be the place we learn the mostLeaving my home country to take up a regional position in a country I knew no one has to be the craziest things i have ever done. You may be the most confident planner but u do have doubts, if you have what it takes espcially as you have to prove youself all over again ad unlearn what you think yo know. Its quite a ride:)I used to be a creative and because of this I'm often asked to step in and ad an extra head to the creative department. Writing scripts of working with an art director to solve a problem. While I do love doing this and often the outcome is very successful I'm so time poor the positives of this system are often overshadowed by stress!I started my career in advertising almost 16yrs ago. My domain was account management. For 14yrs I worked in India for different global network agencies - but in account management. I guess I was good at what I as doing, which resulted in a seamless career growth. I could've easily continued with what I was doing for another 10-15yrs. But the urge for doing smething different & more challenging was increasingly nagging me from inside. That's when the oppotunity arrived to head planning for our office in Sri Lanka. Here was a new role which required me to have a deep understanding of consumers socio-culturally in a country which was absolutely alien to me. I thought ""why not?"" and plunged in. 2 yrs later, all I can say is that I made t right choice.I love creative as much as I love planning. I have had times when I have go out of my way in crafting ideas which helped in creative work.I was asked to do a secondment role within a telco client, as head of brand. It opened my eyes (wider) to the issues our clients face, the environments they need to function within and the political hurdles they need to jump. It was an interesting challenge juggling the relationships with the agency and the internal stakeholders. I recently had to write & submit an Apex entry. Besides the drama of writing and submitting and then having client decide to pull out out the entry, the thing that makes me happy is that I completed the entry.Various things come to mind. Running my own business while studying a postgrad degree without any prior business experience, having to learn digital and seo to push a venture to the top of the google rankings. Having to present to a huge meeting of Directors and to CEO of a major telecommunications organization as the youngest planner in the agency Being technically a junior planner, I find it hart to persuade directors and senior collegues about my ideas. But I guess it will get better over timeWork for a portfolio strategy from the marketing perspective to help a client set priorities. It is hard and risky, but very interesting to understand the client's perspective, be a partner and of course develop a clearer communication strategy. I took part in a pitch for a betting company last year and was fortunate enough to be invited by my senior collegue to present a part of the pitch (quite a coup for a junior planner). I worked extensively on the deck, and knew the subject matter to my core, but i was obviously incredibly nervous. When the clients turned up there were about 15 of them, all isreali men, and there were five of us from the agency, again all men except for me. As the only women in the room, keen to impress both my own collegues and the clients, this was very intimidating, and made even worse by the clients habit of strolling around the pitch room as we were talking, leaning against windows and fiddling with phones and their caps (which most were wearing). Although we didn't win the pitch, I managed to deliver my portion with confidence and was congratulated by my senior collegues for getting through what even they described as 'one of the most bizarre and intimidating pitch scenarios' they had ever encountered. This is personal: learning the ability to change my own perceptions/interpretation of something after doing some proper, serious and objective research into a subject most people have very defined opinions about. It's about forcing ourselves to look at both sides of 'the truth'. when we are able to do that, our work is much better and far more meaningful. Creating price plans for mobile network. Advising private equity firm not to acquire hot brand. Presenting to 3000 non-English speakers.pushing myself with presentations, and looking for any opportunities to grow as a presenter/teacher.I used to get nervous in new business pitches. I would have no problem sharing my ideas and enthusiasm in front of a small group, but it would all change in the big pitch. I kept going and doing the pitches...even took drugs for stage fright. And then, something just clicked...I got better at pitches and worked through the nerves and now I love being on stage and sharing my ideas with the world. The bigger the audience the better. I think boiling down the strategy section of the pitch to telling a good story instead of ticking through some dreadful slides really helped. Everyone loves a good story and they are fun to tell. I started a planning freelance network before I joined this position. For two years I was trying to introduce a new way of planning by selling planners to client side of things. My aim was for planners to contribute directly in product and service development. Taking part in running a workshop for some very senior people from a large multinational client. Often I'm the behind-the-scenes guy; here I got to put my head above the parapet, and as a first experience, these were senior guys watching me do so. Had to give a speech on marketing in Japanese once, when I hadn't lived there for 10 years and my language skills were rusty. Was reminded that a little humor and a lot of passion for the subject can go a long way with an audience.Left a consulting firm after 12 years to start a new practice with the agency. Very challenging being a cat in a dog's world. Still struggling to get the practice off the ground. That said, I have found other ways to provide value to the organization. 10 years ago I decided to run my own agency and take part in everything. This is a real deal, the real thing....the greatest stretching I have had to do so far is working insane long hours and somehow staying a decent human being to those around me. I was surprised at how I could do it so easily at the time, but how it is sometimes harder to remember to be a kind person to those around me when things are life-consuming busy and just going at a normal pace. ...I suppose staying a good, kind human being is the greatest challenge I give to myself. Last year I was invited to join a cross-agency panel to tackle advertising questions for brand marketers. I would be one of a couple of planners and many creative directors. It sounded really interesting, but I wasn't sure how the creatives would relate to the planners. Also they were almost all men. Not an unusual industry dynamic, really, but in this context noticing that played to my concerns about being heard or respected. It turned out my anxiety was misplaced. The group was really interested and interesting. I learned that some other of my preconceived notions about what someone from agency X or Y would be like was completely off base. What a dolt I was for having these assumptions. Embarrassing to admit now. It was a good reminder of how rich the discussions can be agency to agency. While in theory we're may ""compete"" with each other in some settings (pitches, or cold calls to a client that is already matched with an agency), in practice that dynamic falls away quickly when you get in a room with your peers. They're people who are skilled and curious and you can learn from them if you just let down your own guard and contribute. Too many to share. We are all just actors on a stage. Sometimes we've read the script, other times we're improvising. Either way, just pretend like you know what you're doing - because most of the time no one else does - and they'll think you're a genius. Keep doing it and, one day, you'll wake up and realize that you're actually pretty damn good at it.telling a client (nicely) that they're wrong - when they are. it's empowering. and they respect you more! I've spent several years trying to figure out how to find funding for projects that have value people aren't yet seeing; i.e. future forward ideas that brands and even account team and other planners don't yet understand. i've learned it is a very slow process and its important to get people involved early. It's not as easy as 'selling' an idea. There are culture changes, process changes, and in some cases changes in core beliefs that need to happen first. I used to get frustrated. It also happens often that 6-12 months later someone else will bring in something similar and it will work. First I look at what they might have done differently, what can I learn. But also it's really just a matter of timing. Being first rarely comes with glory. :) I keep trying.Presentation to the big bosses at the biggest bank in SAWhen I was studying I struggled with one particular subject. I woke one morning and decided that it will not beat me. I worked harder than I ever have and it worked. My marks went up by 20% and I regained my confidence.After only working in the industry a couple years got asked to teach a class at a business school, didn't think I was experienced enough but it all came together and I loved the whole experience and everything I learned.that's the problem. in this current job that hasn't happened so i'm looking at new optionsI was invited to go back to my alma mater and speak to the undergrads about the world of advertising and specifically trend spotting. It is a topic I know well, and I knew that I could handle the subject matter. But I am not a huge fan of public speaking. Briefing a room on a project and speaking to undergrads are two totally different things for me. However, after I tackled it, it felt amazing. It was a milestone for me, especially as I am only 3 years into my career. I learned to stretch myself, and it was definitely worth it. Plus, the students were very appreciative, and it was great to give back to my alma mater that gave so much to me. I worked on BMW Films way back in early 2000s. It was the first time anyone had ever spent most of their budget creating films/web content instead of an ad campaign. A creative team came up with the films idea as a novel way to solve a very clearly defined brand badge issue. The creative director was unsure. I stuck my neck out and supported the idea, figured out a way to measure it (beyond just film views) and helped the teams craft the stories in a way that addressed the brand's challenge. We were worried no one would watch. But they did and the agency won the first ever Titanium Lion. It's the weekend in one hour, terrible time to recall something remarkably interesting, but I once had to perform a dance in a shopping mall to attract people's attention to my surveyA few years ago, I was asked to be the lead (and only) planner on a pitch. It was for a small piece of business, but it soon turned into a very steep competition. I was pretty freaked out because the entire agency was fired up and I was significantly the most junior person on the entire pitch team. I was sure I was in over my head but in the end, we won and I swear that experiece is what ulitimately launched my career, even having been in the business for almost three years already. I'm attempting to un-bundle planning as a distinct offering within the agency and holding company.I was an anthropology professor for 10 years before joining my current company. I loved teaching, but not academia. While it was scary to leave some of the security of that world behind, I love that I am never bored in planning. I love the constant challenge. I love the push from my colleagues to do more interesting work, to fine more unique insights, to really bring anthropology to life in a totally different context.The stretch is an everyday kind of thing. Reconciling my non-planner background with the rigor and packaging of planning is a constant stretch. Building a pattern for packaging my thinking.I went to cannes lions and meet a planningsphereCan't think of anythingGiving large presentations in front of ""important clients"" is always nerve rackingTo live alone is a magic experience. You frequently need to look for different solutions for different situations.First job as a planner, been doing it a year now - I fail at SOMETHING everyday, but it's all about embracing that, learning from it, using it to get better. Conferences, books, seminars, theory are all great, but I believe the only way that I've been able to truly get better at this job is by doing work, and then doing more work. That's just me. I'm young and everyday I find a new challenge to solve.driving the RFP process and strategy the first week into a new job present to the global food expo (35,000 attendees) on ""future consumer trends"" who can predict the future? instead went back to 1950s and studied the economic, social, political and cultural events of the times and how they affect consumer attitudes and behaviors. from 1950s to now, the trends were clear to observe, which leads one to the conclusion that when major forces change, our attitudes change. The repeating patterns become clear. Fascinating and fun look at consumer history. common comment: ""you just showed me my life.""When I left journalism for planning, I had zero planning skills. I thought a deck was that wooden platform thing in my back yard. I spent four years at my first agency and by the time I left, I was a pretty good planner -- but I couldn't seem to escape the perceptions of people who had known me in the early days that I was a bit clueless. After a big downsizing at that agency, I joined a terrific creative boutique that had never had planning. My job was to lead a major rebranding of a national company. I wasn't at all sure I could do it, but with the help of my awesome team, I led a very successful rebranding and major brand relaunch campaign. I suppose the lesson is: Believe in yourself. Don't let other peoples' misperceptions cloud what you know. Take risks. And think of your team as an organism -- if you have the right team and know how to work effectively with people, you can accomplish great things.Hmmm...I feel like I'm doing this every week. Isn't that what our job is all about?Online campaigns are a new thing at the market that I work. I try to step outside of my comfort zone creating entrepreneurial ideas. Acting like an 'agency in one' on short timespan activity. Write a strategy, come up with some ideas, do a spot of design. Great to feel you totally own the results.I tried to close the cultural gap between the korean clients and the american clients at a certain car company. It was some of the most interesting work I've ever done, but maybe some of the most naive and ultimately doomed. I also helped launch a clothing brand to more success.Moderating worksessions with C-level clients is a bit unnerving, but once the ideas start flowing everyone becomes more or less equal.fake it till you make it. if you don't know how to do something, ask as many people as possible and research the hell out of itI have single handedly brought in 2 major clients for my agency in ""my spare time""-which is outside the realm of my planning duties. Every time I meet consumers, I'm stepping outside my comfort zone and learning about a different kind of life - I'm excited by this challenge and that's why I chose to be a planner.last thing i did that got me out of the comfort zone : Moderating qual group and getting paid for it : didn't think i could do it (was doing it but in a more internal way, ie not for one of our client). Otherwise : organising a Disruption day is always a stressful job often stretches my comfort zone particularly as it applies to being looked to as a digital subject matter expert, analytics, KPIs, A/B tests, optimization and at times tech requirementsIt's my life right now - taking on a pretty big piece of business with a lot of moving parts and trying to make it work. I don't know if it's inspiring to read, but this shit is scary and I'm just trying to jump in and give it a good shot. The past year I have spent a lot of time talking to start-up companies about their businesses - it has been incredibly rewarding. It, has also very challenging. The companies don't understand marketing. The speed/timing is FAST. The implications/effect is immediate. But it has been worth it. No set process. Open, Markting for the sake of business impact - immediate impact. Familiar and fresh all at the same time. Honestly, i feel that i stretch my abilities with every project. What we do isn't an exact science. It requires more art and is dependent on fitting pieces of a puzzle together to uncover an unexpected glimpse of brilliance. The pressure to deliver that brilliance day in and day out is often quite unnerving. But it's that pressure and a whole lot of curiosity that keeps us searching for the answer. For young planners, i say keep searching for the answer, and never be satisfied.Moving from Corporate world, which is the book ends of Marketing, to a very different agency role has been the challenge I've been looking for.the stretches came in understanding the boundaries of planning not much outside of it yet.As an Account Director for 7 years, moving to Planning was a challenge to me. I had to work hard (and study a lot) in order to cover the distance. Next challenge is to incorporate digital planning and knowledge into what we do every day for our clients. Planning found me. I was an economist first but hated it as it offered no creative outlet. I then ran my own music business online for 7 years and produced techno until heineken approached me for help with their music and digital strategy. Then coca cola. Both in the uk. The rest is history as they say.My experience is that a new job is always a bit nerve racking. I have usually gone for jobs that feel out of my comfort zone on the grounds that I will learn whatever the results. In general I find that I can do it and I believe this is true of most people We had a new business proposal to develop. It fell to me to develop the positioning and key insights even though I had no connection to the industry or the product/brand. Working 12-14 hour days sitting in a conference room, banging out thoughts, I arrived at a position and strategy that everyone rallied around. i have no idea how I did it or where the words came from, but after much reading and a 2 hour conversation with an industry insider, I came up with a platform that connected. This was a stretch for me because there was no time to spend doing formal research, no one in our organization who had the information on the industry or brand. I was on the wire alone. Fortunately, this time, it worked out well.when i was a art director, i realized i would be happier planning. i felt such a photoshoper, i didn’t like it at all. beside this, i have always dreamt about living abroad. but in my age i couldnt go abroad to be a waitress: i had to do something relevant both for me and my career. to change areas, i had to be an intern again. hell no, i couldn’t. so, i tried and tried and tried and i got this job offer in portugal! to work with marketing. ok, it wasn’t planning, but its a great change. and i had the opportunity to live abroad for a while, it was great. well, the job was not so great as i thought i would be, but meeting a lot ppl, talking to mexicans, lithuanians, portuguese, colombians, germans was amazing. i learnt a lot from them. if im a good planner today, its because of that - the abroad experience, talking and meeting so many ppl. This seems to happen to me all the time. But maybe I'm just an anxiety-ridden person. For a recent briefing I hired actors to reenact stories from social media. I had never orchestrated a theatre production before and although there were some awkward moments (this was an interactive performance that kept people moving), it created the energy Score! Another example would be taking planning skills and applying it to other disciplines, like social media. I don't have depth in digital, but many planning skills translate, you just have to learn the digital language and metrics.Completing a brand positioning project and presenting it to a company of 50 people and getting their buy in was pretty challenging (and rewarding) just 6 months into my planning career. It's amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it, and having good support networks around you is really important. Make sure to take advantage of all the bright minds you work with - in and out of the planning team.I love the challenge of teaching others - it requires me to be on my toes and I learn the most from itComfort zones kill creativity. Science is a great place for inspiration. Planners should read more magazines like Seed and less sites like Trendwatching. I think you have to do that all the time by staking your faith in something that is only a theory. Pushing for bravery is 'just part of the job'.I never venture beside into that zone See how I started my career in advertising was very important to my performance today as a planner. I started as an art director, designing for big brands in the country, for marketing of a large company. These passages brought me insights and different experience and complementary activity planner.I co-ordinated a usability study of a pilot website for a government agency. I had to brief and select specialist usability research companies and conduct traditional qualitative research to support this with the bigger-picture attitudes to the site and its offering. It was totally new ground for me but I learned a lot (this was in 2005!)With the recent departure of a high level planner, we have reordered the brand team. This has put me in charge and responsible for a lot of work above my experience. It is a challenge I welcome with excitement. I have the ability to reach out for help, but even more importantly is the ability to learn and grow quicker within the planning sector. I quit a high-stress, global position for a small spot in a (relatively) tiny, regional company. Best decision -- ever.created my own brand consultancy from nothing and ended up working with MTV Camel Baileys.. hired people and paid them more than you listen and learn everydayFiring a clientWhat I could share is: most of the time there are demands for planners that are just that: things you don’t understand and have to do. But they happen so often that becomes a burden and not a challenge. Seems like clients and even the other departments think planning can solve ANYTHING and any job they don’t know.I worked in a different culture planning for different people that i didn't have any idea what to do.Having been in the agency for only a couple of months I got a chance to write an article for a national industry magazine on behalf of our CEO. I had a baby at the end of last year so my big accomplishment this year is being successful at being both a planner and a mom!I step outside of my comfort zone all the time, I could not live another way. I lived in rural india with self-help group women, then in a high rise in chicago, now in France...going out by myself on week-ends...I am going to be the master of a wedding ceremony this june and will marry my best friend. I love new challenges and i love having responsibilities. Yet I do love my comfort and privacy and routine. My boss says that I am convinced about my convictions. I do not know if she means good or bad but I what I know is that the reason why I have grown like this is because I am a real sponge and listen a lot. I think I will soon read people's minds :)Happens all the time. At every level. If you are in your comfort zone all the time you stop learning. Have conviction and confidence and don't be afraid to ask for help. I think we have to believe in ourselves and trust our gut feeling. It's hard being a planner and when we find an insight we really believe in, we have to fight for it. In some agencies the creative team likes to be the ""owner of the idea"", unfortunately in Brazil this is very common. So we also need to be very intelligent and humble on how we move our insights forward so the creatives feel they are a part of it as well. But the main message is: if you truly believe it, don't let it go too easily! I become a planner with 27 years old, without any other experience in planning. I discovered that my experience in life and my likes and dislikes were enough to start this career, besides my past.only working as a volunteer but nothing so special i think..I left the most awarded agency in my country to stay with my mom in her last months of life. I never regarded. And then I found something else and I never looked back. Advertising is not that important.When I graduated college a year ago, I had four account management internships, one media planning internship, and one account planning internship under my belt. I had an offer in media, and two offers in management. But, I knew I wanted to be a planner. Everyone told me it was impossible to start my career in planning and that I needed to just give it up and start somewhere else and work my way over to planning (especially since the economy was still doing so poorly and nobody was hiring junior planners). Turning down those three offers all for the hope of finding a job in planning was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I decided that I had to at least try for a few months before I gave up on starting my career in my dream facet of advertising. It took a lot of connecting, and a lot of interviews, but after two months, I got an offer with IPG to start as a junior planner in a rotational program. They're putting me through four different IPG companies over a two-year span. It's a little bit of a crazy job since it's a quasi intern (only staying at each company for six months), quasi real-life (full time salary and benefits) job, but it has been a wonderful way to break into the industry and network with a variety of different planners.Used comedy improv as the backbone for annual brand planning workshop - the team had to act out competitive scenarios, tone of voice etc. Total success!Emigrated to Canada. Started almost all over again. Had to learn another culture, and this made me understand better cultures, especially my native culture. Plus the usual went back to university to get another degree in education and realized the overlap in education+management+communication.I just started planning a year ago. I've been really lucky to find an opportunity entry-level. What's been difficult is hearing that I should reach for the stars and never give up, but what I searched for planning career opportunities, multiple recruiters shot me down since I didn't have a Master's degree and I didn't have a previous planning job. It was discouraging that I felt like I had to settle for a different entry-level position or hear that I should go back to school when I just finished my undergraduate degree. I finally found the right person who noticed a spark and curiosity in me. My advice for aspiring planners is not to give up. It's not an easy field to get into, but it's worth a few rolling eyes and cold shoulders, if it means a career in what you want to do. Good luck!Planning on several different account when there are no other planners is always challenging. Great question. I feel like every new biz pitch pushes me to new places. No story to tell. I dont feel like being in the comfort zone anyways. It's all more like a struggle at the moment. That's why I am not sure if i'd like to continue working as a planner. I own a GPA 1.2 masters degree, and was hired as a trainee, who can’t pay his own bills. That’s frustrating.As a junior planner, almost anything I do - from running sessions to doing internal or external presentations - can be pretty nerve-racking. I'm always surprised that I come through and do well, though.My official title is the Planning Director, but sometimes I need to stretch and become an accounts person (to manage clients and their expectation) as well as being a politician. If you're okay with being the Bad Guy, you'd realise that a lot of things run smoother. People generally wanna get on with things, but no one wants to be the bad person and step on tails. If you're willing to do that, I promise you, things will move in the right direction and if you're really lucky, it will be at your ideal speed :)Interviewed for and landed a job everyone said I wasn't qualified forfirst time running an ""ideation"" session with a large group; the key thing learned: your first instinct is to think ""I need to have all the answers!"" In fact, the opposite is true. Great planners never have all the answers. They're just really good at asking questions and bringing the right people together to create them.the things that I've done that I'm most proud of have always been accompanied by the phrase, ""what have I gotten myself into??""Hot bath cold snow.Work on the development of a book for a client.Taking on a start-to-finish digital project that included research, strategy and user experience planning. I'd worked for several years as a client, and when me and my wife decided to move to other country for a job offer she received, I also decided there was time to make a change I wanted for long and put all my chips in one number, that was to become an agency planner and be part of the reign of ideas.getting a job at my current company!it happens everyday! i always feel as though i am about to be 'found out'! i think that is the nature of working in a challenging environment though. Probably most interesting experience was on a project in the rural area where we had among other things to ask people (most over 50 y.o.) whether and how they are preparing for their own funerals - definitely an uncomfortable question to ask for the reserach team, which made it more surprising to find out what a relaxed matter-of-fact pragmatic attitude our interviewees had about the subject. leaving a job i liked for a job i like more.This past year, I set the objective of going deep in our understanding of people across cultures...what unites us, what divides us, and implications for the business. It was difficult because I had to do most of it myself; to lead by example as we were charting new territory. We created digital design boutique....couldn't make money.......close down......However, it was fun and learned lot from it. I'm currently trying to write an article about how the basic tenants of Storytelling can help us create more compelling and interesting brand stories. While I had all the 'facts, figures, creative examples', I really struggled to write an interesting article. Realised that I've gotten so used to writing in powerpoint that I'd forgotten how to tell a story. At the moment I am playing more of a strategic lead role, not only working on the strategy for the brand but also setting the agenda and tasks with the client. Even though I've had some experience in account management in the past it feels challenging sometime managing different teams and processes. Opened my own restaurant and made it a success but had to close it as I had to move to another country and now I always think of doing it againDoing planning in a country like this is challanging enough because here this profession is in infancyMoved countries this year. Bit early to speak of what the outcome is, but this is a (slightly) different local culture. Also, different working & living full-time elsewhere in Asia, as opposed to simply flying down for meetings & presentations. Going to ecuador to produce a film about abortion. Going to Pennsylvania to volunteer for a week for a political campaign.The office that I work at you are really a hybrid between account management- planning - and creative. Being able to share insights into client's digital strategyI recently completed an MBA and made an effort to avoid anything finance related...but within weeks I was working for a financial-based client. After weeks of researching and interviewing with the cilent the finance world seemed a lot less scary and I'm thinking if I ever go back to school maybe a career in finance wouldn't have been that far away... I was asked to do an Audio Visual for which i had to draft the copy, because the meeting in which it was decided did not have a copywriter, had to execute it searching for images and sound tracks that were a part of the AV sitting in an console room as the account man told me that he was tied up and had to do a hand over before he goes on a leave. Was fun!start my first planning job as the only planner of an agency with 35 people an quite some accounts. so far so good.At my last job (as a Senior Digital Strategist at a boutique agency) I was charged with organizing and running a 400 person conference for one of the world's biggest companies. I've had no experience in event planning and it's not something I enjoy either. I felt uncomfortable with this assignment but my boss encouraged me and did it. Mistakes were made but it was a successful conference. I grew and learned tremendously from that experience. It made me a much better, and grounded thinker and a doer. As a Strategist, this has come in extremely handy. I had to put together a presentation for the agency president present. It was a video and I wrote all the script and all the story around it.I left my job as a planner as I thought I was bored of planning, and went to a trend consultancy for a year. While there I discovered that while I knew all about consumers (way more consumer insight than I'd ever had), I missed linking it back to the brand. That's when I realised how much I actually was a planner. Every step of the way in planning feels like this - I'm I just bullshitting my way through this? I've been asked off 2 businesses, but called ""indispensable"" on 3 - planning is definitely a roller coaster career, fortunately mostly highs. What I love about this business is everything at least feels new and important (though after a while, you'll realize there is a certain sameness to the newness - yet another save the brand? another new business pitch that will change the agency?).I used to be an account person for 7 years on Coke. I didn't have any planner working on my account at that time so I covered that as well. I decided to change and become a full time planner and I'm still loving every minute of it. Well...I left my country to do planning in the US.I like to watch people behavior where they should be, not behind a desk A couple years ago I decided to quit profession and start a carrier in perfumery. So I went to Grass for 2weeks summer school at Prodarom university. I realized that it was wrong idea but it gave me so much inspiration afterwards. and I also relised that I kneen to know how things done today so now I spend more time on reading about industries and watching documentary about different manufactories. I am proud that I understand what happens behind the curtain in my client's business more or less...that keep you lodged in reality better than anything elseI moved to Amsterdam from the U.S., through my agency's global network. I'm the only non-Dutchie in my agency, which was a daunting prospect due to my complete lack of Dutch language skills. Thankfully, the Dutch speak fantastic English, and I have painstakingly picked up more and more of the language, enough to sustain me through a large internal meeting where I'm uncomfortable having people speak English just for my sake. It's been a real challenge getting into a new role, a new agency, a new client all the while adjusting to life in a new country, learning a new language, and dealing with a new set of politics/dynamics at work. What's helped me has been keeping an open mind, a big dose of humility, patience, and bullheaded passion for the work we do. It turns out we all face the same problems in agency land; the clients, the politics, lack of support for our role, the desire to do great work. It's made the world feel a lot smaller.Being of a ""minority"" race within Advertising is a constant battle. I'm often faced with questions like, ""Do you work on multicultural""...actually ""NO""...I'm a ""general market"" strategist working on a global brand. In order to prove my ""smarts"", I entered a global competition at our agency as one of the Top 20 employees. To my delight, I made it. And it was the most rewarding experience I've had since I started in advertising. I met with industry guru's of all disciplines, from all across the globe. It was truly inspiring to not only feel accepted, but to be considered a thought provoking strategist.Working in an ad agency always stretches you, but more specifically working on new business often times pushes you out of your comfort zone because you have to learn a lot about something in a short amount of time and be able to understand enough about the brand to create an impactful insight for the pitch. I love working on new business because it helps break you away from your day-to-day.This is the definition of planning and what differentiates planning from research og basic marketing. Developed a huge datamart effects project probably unique in the world for a very demanding client.taking a photojournalism course: awesome curricula, great teacher. it meant really stepping out of the comfort zone and approaching unfamiliar people and areas, really digging up in their lives.I worked at advertising agency like a planner, then appeared a new opportunity for me in a media agency, but I didn’t know anything about media, I thought that planning media was dull, but in my current job, I had been discovered a new possibilities in a planning media industry, it is changing, it¬¥s more strategic, creative and innovative. I had fear to change to advertising agency to media agency, but I think that now I have more opportunities to development of my career.Coding. Scared the shit out of me at first but after a few hours of watching YouTube and reading blogs you can get some surprisingly good results. I mad a desktop app yesterday and never thought I'd be able to do that. Freshman year college. I was on the NCAA gymnastics team. Every day I would wake up at 6AM and drag myself to practice. Every day I would hate it with a passion. I would see other students throughout the day and wish I had their life. I wanted to be anywhere else besides practicing the sport I once loved. I didn't think I'd survive especially with the college adjustment and the level of work required in my studies. However, 4 years later, I was happily graduating knowing I persevered through those tough times. Every year after the first got better. I slowly regained the love I had for the sport with the help from my teammates. After getting through that dark first year and coming out stronger than I had been going in, I know I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.Leaving our comfort zone is the best way to grow professionally and feel accomplished. I do not have a inspired story to share but always appears a challenge I try to grab it. Going into the unknown is a fundamental part of planning. If we new all the answers before we explored, then we'd all be working to a process, and rather be auditors. My experience of fear of the unknown and what was expected of me didn't really settle once I quickly realised that my bosses didn't really have a clue either. In knowing that, it made it clear to me that I really just had to form assumptions based on my instincts and then go about trying to prove them either right or wrong. Being clear on this give a focus of direction and helps to take away the fear - If you can have a go at trying to work it out and solve it, then there's a good chance you'll be much further ahead and more knowledgeable than the person who hasn't, and that at least is an advantage you can be confident in.Don't have a great story, but once, as a sales man for a publisher, I've created a new magazine, it was supposed to be a publicity magnet... it didn't work that good, 2 years later it was closed, and I was invited to leave the company. It was a beautiful day... :)Stepping into this job and having my boss resign two weeks later leaving me the sole member of the strategy department. I've done so much in 5 months and rejuvenated a client's brand that was on the downhill. Every time I take a new job, that's the filter I put it through. If I'm not 100% sure I can do it, but am excited about the prospect and the potential, then I go for it. That's how I've created departments that didn't exist before and also how I’ve totally recalibrated existing groups.Planning was said to involve a lot of numbers, which wasn't my strong suit. But I made it. I lead a simple life.role playing in front of clients...... i've been the ideas person, the digital media planner, the SEO specialist, and the international account man in meetings in the last year. I was an account Supervisor and I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t sleep and was having anxiety attacks. One day I step outside the office into a nearby park, started to cry and call my general Manager. She came scared and fast and I said to her that I quitted and didn’t know what to do, but maybe gardening... and she said that there was something that I was very good at and that I seemed really happy doing: planning. So they create the Account Planning dept. for me in the agency. And obviously, I didn’t quit. Years later, I had a baby and decided not to go back to my job at a creative agency, and suddenly another planner called me and said: I will wait for you when you finish your maternal leave, but I have gone to the media world and there’s so much to do here... I want you to come with me and no is not an option. And here I am. Happy as a lollypop.I frankly feel my comfort zone has expanded over the years because of being a planner. There are both high and wide expectations for us -- creative thinker, compelling presenter, poised speaker, strong facilitator, pinch hitter, etc. In many cases the first time or initial times I needed to fulfill these roles it was daunting, but I've learned over the years you have to trust yourself and your strengths -- play to those and work on your weak spots.I think changing categories a lot gives you the ability to push your thinking but also gives you the opportunity cross pollinate ideas as well. Moving into the IT category was probably the worst. Business and Consumer... understanding at least a simple understanding of the technology of major corporations was really hard work.Then how it is sold, how it is serviced, components parts vs brands etc. The amount of information available in the category was HUGE. It lead to one of the hardest things I ever had to manage. I became relentless with keeping up with the industry news from every angle. I talked to any IT person I could. Media companies that specialised in the area, editors or marketing. Email subscriptions to everything i could find, industry events. Id meet random people and push them for their opinions. After about 18months my market knowledge bought a lot of cred with the client and I felt it helped build trust in our product which led to some great ideas getting through and some awards won. I havent lost that relentless attitude. Knowing about every element of my clients business outside of just the briefs. What is happening to them day to day then talking about that helps to build trust in showing empathy for what they are dealing with. Which is more than just this particular marketing campaign... or thatTried to use a folklore as a model of segmentation.i stretch. then i break.Boot campcurrently developing a new planning approach1. As a brand manager being responsible for relaunching a whisky brand, globally, with new packaging, advertising, POS etc. 2. As a planner, creating a new blueprint for social marketing media and advertising planning for Government Leading planning initiative in Brazil; market knowledge was generally lacking, deficient understanding of cultural mores and norms however knowing these failing and subsequently what I could add, I executed more a stewardship process, helping them craft better and more globally coherent work. Challenging and rewardingHaven't experienced any as of yet, but i'm learning everyday from observations made from senior planners and staff in the organisation on the way they work and they solve different issues.One of our directors had been working for about a month on a pitch for H&M with our UK counterpart. It was a full UK and Ireland pitch. I was not involved. It was Thursday, the final pitch was the following Tuesday. Something came up and the Director was unable to fly to the UK and so I was told I had to step up, get fully up to speed on the strategy etc and fly over to present that Tuesday. I knew this was a big opportunoty and I absolutly had to step up to the mark. I did and it was worth it. I got to know very senior people in the UK office who were impressed by my intuition and ability to get up to speed so quickly. Since then I have been involed on a much deeper level across other pieces of business. I have just been promoted to a roll in the UK office and I move to London in August. Taking lead of teams outside media agency direct competence - creative, PRGetting into planning was difficult for me. First, it took a really long time. Then when I finally got hired as a planner, I had no idea what I was doing... for a few months I was winging it and kept falling on my a**... the good thing is I kept getting back up. Now I fall much less often.What comfort zone?Gringo planner leads award winning multicultural work in-language. Long nights and big ideas changed some minds in the process and showed co-workers ive got some skillsI have found that I am not the target market for most brands that I've worked on in my career. However, this is my 1st time that I'm working at a multicultural agency. Being a white dude certainly opens up some eyes here since most staffers are minorities, but again, I'm not the target for most brands I've worked on in my career. Only now in a multicultural shop is my background raising attention. If you think you can do it, you're right. If you think you can not do it, you're right too. It's all a mind game.I encourage folks to make the time to go to hands-on workshops where they can learn new skills like the ones held at the VCU Brandcenter and the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI). I went to both last year by myself - I didn't know anyone at either seminar - and got to meet new people, learn new skills and best of all learn that I know a lot more than I gave myself credit for. I was older than many of the folks at the VCU event and came to it not being as savvy about digital as many of the young kids were. But what I had that they didn't have was more work experience, more experience presenting and a different perspective (which comes from having lived a little longer). All those things made me a valuable team member. Get out of your office and meet new folks and learn about new ways to solve problems.I achieved a stage in my carreer where I had to choose beetwen changinf to a solid and big structure of planning department, or changing to a challenging small department yet to be built according to my needs and the challenging client's needs. I made the second choice, and it's been a great and rich new experience.Since i am in planning, i feel like i can¬¥t do these great jobs other planners do. But all the times i am asked for a recommendation, i say exactly what i think about what to do next, and people get impressed, asking ""how didn¬¥t we think about this before"", much times.i never jump into something I was afraid of, but I think I'm about to do it. just as i said before, i always try to find market opportunities and now i think i found one =)thinking that i should go to work with a media agencySadly, the current job doesn't offer me much opportunity to stretch myself - we're an understaffed planning team that work 11 hour days with little/no reward.I've left my first job in August 2010 because I wanted to grow and be more recognized by people who didn't know me, people who didn't see my beginning, people who could see that I was not an assistent planner anymore. It was scary, but it has worked. I'm much more confident, could know many interesting people as a freelancer, show my work and I've been hired as an Account Planner last week and I'm very happy.As a junior planner, I try to surround myself with the smart planners at this agency and taking note that someday I'll have to step in and cover. Recently we've been so impacted with work, that I've had to cover for our senior/director level planners. Occassionally I question myself and ask if I'm capable of handling certain projects that are given to me last minute because no one can cover. During the time of ""panic"" I remind myself that I've spent enough time around my mentors and I've learned enough tricks to help me during these situations. And though I may not know it, I'm more capable of handling it than I think I am. There comes a time when a planner must sink or swim and take that next step. Confidence is key.I went from 20 odd years in advertising to planning first in a direct agency and then to a digital agency. I was 15 years older than everyone else in the digital agency and was really scared that I wouldn't be able to add anything. But in fact i a digital agency its even more critical to understand what people are doing so the same interest in people that inspired me in an advertising agency worked in a digitala gency tooI don't think that a good planner is ever 100% sure of what they're doing.. I am always trying to push the limits of my thinking so creative work and business goals connect with people in new and unique ways... and if something doesn't work, i'd rather fail spectacularly than for lack of trying. This past year, I certainly didn't think I could run strategy on a pharma franchise but I managed to muddle through a brand launch, a patient support system re-branding and an unbranded disease education and awareness campaign... I remember when I started presenting to clients, I would get very nervous. But with practice and having the complete trust of my team it made me feel more confident and get better each time.Launching a toy product for the agency.I decided to open my own business in 2009. It was going fine, money was coming in and projects were well received. I had to learn 'how to' about most anything an agency can offer as service, and most importantly, had to manage the entire business - and mostly on my own. Sometimes we have no idea how much we can endure in the end of the day. Unfortunatley my story does not have a happy ending: I had a contract break with a major international brand. And because I was so small compared to them, with no legal counseling and assistance, it was a huge set back. I lost all my capital, market trust and my company's reputation. Anyway, I was then forced to go back to the agency market and lifestyle. It takes time, effort, falls to get valuable learnings. But i went for it and had a blast along the journey, and would definitely do it all over again, but being a lot more cautious next time =) this current experience is something like that, leaving my previous planning job and joining this company felt like this.Took me years to break in advertising. I had to strategize: from academic to market research, and then into planning in a research-heavy position. I hope to move towards lighter, creative-type of planning in the future.I am foreign born and Spanish dominant, to every time I lead a meeting or a presentation in English is a challenge for me, sometimes frustrating, sometimes highly rewarding.We were asked to train an organization on our approach to innovation. We had to invent the course from scratch. They loved it. It's set to become our most profitable revenue stream in 2011.- Had to create a business case for a innovation which included sizing a market that didn't exist and extrapolating market share & profit margins. It was amazing connecting to the people who actually knew this stuff and building off what they generously taught me. It became a benchmark for the company to the point that we've started strategically hiring people to build this capability formally.Leaving advertising (a declining market with lots of planners) to joint PR (a growing market with very few planners). I am in charge of no clients, no people and no budget. But that's what makes it interesting as you have to really create value as you have no ""entitlements"".Conning the agency to eat 'fat free' Krispy Kreme doughnuts for research. Great, when you work at a PR agency which has quite a lot of dieters, and instructive when finding out about people's relationship with guilt. Jumping out of ""real"" advertising into personal marketing was and still is sometimes strange...but it gets better :DProbably, this is somehow usual on our job, but I some day last year a had to turn on a night in the agency, and make a presentation for a client without go to sleepAll workshops are truly inspiring.I stretch myself daily, I have to keep up with the energy, commitment and expertise of my colleagues, who are half my age and twice as bright. I've loved this industry it has been and still is a constant challenge. When I started they still used hot metal, it was the end of the industrial revolution I‚Äôve lived through the tech and info revolution and will most probably end my career just as the genetic revolution starts to take off. So long as you stay curious have an analytical bias, but believe in creative solutions you won‚Äôt go far wrong.This is everyday, as I am the only planner, and one of not many years experience. Everyday is a dream and a nightmare. It's lonely sometimes, and sometimes embracing when working with a good creative team. I feel that planning stretches personal boundaries every day because it requires you to develop a greater and truer sense of empathy. You have to juxtapose your knowledge of the client/market with what it feels like to stand in the shoes of the audience, which requires you to manages all of the personalities in your head.mostly involvement in way too many pro bono projects. They change my life and put things into perspective. It's a challenge bc i get over committed but wouldn't have it any other way. i am currently stretching myself as I have stepped out of traditional ad agency environment into the multichannel customer experience environment so every day i am applying strategy to a far broader canvas of touchpointsevery time I get asked to pitch at a moments noticeJust one presentation that did not succeed on a project that was / is completely quant driven. By nature, like many planners, my comfort zone used to start and end with qual. Upon assignment, I immediately began brushing up on my data visualization skills and learning how to read and make sense of the cross tabs. This took sitting down for many long (uncomfortable) hours/ days with an in-house analyst. In short, my brain hurt on the drive home at night. But now I am comfortable with data. Something I never thought I would say a year ago. Run a multi agency pitch from soup to nuts. I head no idea what I was doing but I kept my head and aligned with the right folks and we were really successful. Helped pitch a huge new piece of important business for the company within just a few months of a planning career. Hadn't a clue or many resources, but it certainly taught me how to find insights in unlikely places.I think that everyday there are things that take us out of our comfort zone. I had to take on the role of AD with a tough client and failed miserably. I don't have a comfort zone.spending a week on the street as a homeless person to really understand what they go through - love the methodone clinic and the support group it enablesI took up PR for promoting my own agency 2 years ago when I was not so well worsed with PR as a marketing tool. Today, I feel quite confident regarding PR as a tool & I often integate it with my plans & create an amplification for my clients. PR has helped us creating enough awareness for our agency which was set up only 5 years ago. Today, the COO of our agency is a well known persoality in the Industry & has represented the activation industry at national & international forums.We are percieved as the fastest growing agency in the market. Moved to Asia to head up planning in a foreign market where I have no experienceNever had a client with small biz enterprises as target audience. Their biz is dealing with hundreds of street hawkers even more. Finding a way to talk to them and get interesting insights was not easy. I teach classes on business communication and presentations. Also look for opportunities to guest at colleges on panels etc., to talk about careers in advertising. Certainly touches planning, maybe not a stretch, but compelling and often nerve-wracking.Well, I'm in the midst of writing a business plan right now that I'm hoping my agency will help fund and allow me to start up. Have absolutely no clue whether it'll work or not, but it feels right, so I'm going with it. I did a ton of research, talked with a ton of people, inside and outside the agency. I just pitched the first draft of the business plan to the US CEO and the global CEO. And of course, they have a ton of questions and thoughts and additions. So I'm working on addressing those. We'll see what happens. The hardest thing for me is to just let go a bit. If it does go forward, to know that whatever form it takes, we're not going to get it perfect right out of the box, and that it will grow and change with time. Or at least I hope so.Being a planner gives you some extra-abilities to work in different areas. There is a world of new opportunities outside the agency's walls.I went to a farm to see the real process between producers, middlemen and the final retailer. Not sure if this counts, but. . . I worked for years as a traditional BRAND planner and have recently switched hats to work as a retail strategist--seemingly very similiar jobs, but vastly different. So far so good. . . Just getting into planning was a big step for me. As a planner, i have to be creative and strategic at the same time here at my work, but i'm terrible with metrics and numbers, so i started a course about that, to improve my skills with numbers, but, i'm still trying, and i'll never give it up.Coming from Leo Burnett, an agency with extensive resources and large budgets, I had very limited experience conducting quantitative research myself, and relied on outsourcing them to research agencies. When I accepted my position at an experiential agency with far less resources and smaller budgets, I found myself learning how to write surveys, field them and analyze on my own. It was a long and very hands-on learning process, but I've mastered it. My curiosity has led me to try and master everyy area of marketing. I have owrked as a marketing client, an account handler in advertising, design, DM and sales promotion agencies. A planner in ad agencies, a client, a publishing agency, a dm agency, a promotions agency, a design agency and a research agency. I've worked across 27 countries worldwide, working in each for days or weeks, while being principally in London. I'm listed as a copywriter at an agency. I've been escorted by soldiers in West Africa, a General in Burma and chauffered by a former Viet Minh. My first project on joining one ad agency was to board a millionaire's motor yacht and sail around an island with a creative team and some clients brainstorming ideas for a week. I've been flown to the Caribbean to run a workship for a week, held inside a room with no windows - we could have been in London or anywhere. I've helped resurrect a brand that had declined for 30 years through bravery in embracing a new audience and positioning the brand more relevantly. I've won or come runner up with the last 7 marketing award papers I've written. I'm still married to the woman I love after 20 years, during which time she has put up with me being compulsively driven by my curiosity and endless sense of dissatisfaction with how brands position themselves and communicate with consumers; regardless of the hours required to make a difference to their performance. I was asked to organise a couple of scantilly clad women to be the drinks girls on a golf course at a conference I was managing. While I am most certainly not a prude, I felt rather uncomfortable being asked to organise this for a group of mostly married men. This relates to a stretching of my sensibilities. This went against everything I stand for as a professional business person.I was intimidated by the prospect of phone and skype interviewing 30 x new mums with babies who had cow milk allergies, across the UK, US and DE. These would be personal and emotionally sensitive interviews. I was apprehensive as to whether the mums would open up to a late twenties male, who is very unfamiliar with the world of motherhood. I started the interviews and I felt it was a shakey and clumbsy start. I felt the mothers were not relaxing and opening up enough, and I was sure it was because I wasn't relaxed, I was trying too hard. After interview 3 it all became much more relaxed and easier though, it became hugely inspiring and interesting to hear the mums stories, which were full of good and bad tales, with the occasional screaming, or laughing baby in the background. I did feel like i uncovered the ""truth"" of their experiences in the end, and we created some really great ideas for helping mum.I've been in my role for only 7 months (and this is my first real job out of university). The entire 7 months have been out of my comfort zone, but I'm getting the hang of it. Ask me again in a years time, I'm sure I'll have screwed up plenty of times by then (but actually knowing full well that i've screwed up)Migrating to a quantitative research company from a qualitative research background. Product portfolio review - thought it was more business consultant focussed. Involved huge amounts of quant analysis and was massively labour intensiveCamping in Tokyo for a week, with 2 other researchers. Living with a young Japanese couple, studying organization of spaces. And learning to lead these kind of immersive, exhausting incredible ethnographic studies across cultures - involving frogs from different countries, clients as well as multiple local guides. super stressful at the time but so glad I managed to step outta my comfort zone and plunge into a strange foreign zone! last week i presented to about 80 people from a very high profile client and follow the previous speaker who had charmed everyone with his stories about winning an olympic gold medal.I didn't think I would be a good manager. I didn't think I'd like it. But it's a unique thrill to help people be better tomorrow than they are today. Most of the best planners/strategists out there aren't excited by the responsibility of being in a leadership role. It's fun, I promise. Just don't get absorbed by being a leader/manager... put the people first and everything will follow.learn at all times from anyoneI stretched myself and went to a PR agency to focus more purely on strategy--but found that PR agencies are racing to become more like ad agencies...*sigh*Well, the all point of being a ""natural planner"" is, perhaps, to have the advantage to know how to plan. Does not matter if it is about work or personal life. If it is about something crazy or not. Out of your confort zone? Take smaller steps and make sure to suceed anyway.jumping out of a plane. i was frikken petrified. now i dive many times a month. surfing big waves (more scarey now than skydiving). Applying strategic consultancy into more complex business area where knowing your subject is essential and a slip up could dilute adviceEveryday you have to challenge yourself even if it is just a bit. I'm planning to go abroad next year to study and work. I have no idea what i'm going to find there, but it is a shoot. or sure it's gonna be a great life experience.Being a serious and dedicated blogger for about 1-1.5 years was beyond my comfort zone, but it was the best thing I ever did for my career.Teaching! Best thing I ever did for my career :)moving from planning within an agency to applying existing & learning new skills within a not-for-profit social innovation company. main responsibilities - marketing & communicating new & existing products (stuff on shelves in shops, services & websites) additional responsibilities (new & scary, yet interesting) - managing agencies (e.g. PR, experiential), managing relationships w/ funders & income-generating partners, community outreach, volunteering, web design / service design strategy, business planning. the stretching is or has been with a marketing director who is incredibly unappreciative and lacks any real understanding of the fact that we are partners and not simply vendors. to work with him and in a positive way inspire junior people to do the best work they have ever done has pushed me to look more deeply for the good parts in everyone. and the work has gotten better in the past year. next year will be even better. am not sure exactly what the question mean. but one thing, when I face difficulties or hurdles, colleagues and partners are the key tips to overcomeI do not have such work related stories yet. Surely will.I've invented my own role and although I call it strategy I don't fit very comfortably in that box. I'm a designer, I apply design thinking to business and communications problems. Sometimes ths means my approach is at odds with what’s expected by clients. Also, I am very often faced with doing something I haven't done before. Sometimes I do well - sometimes I fail. Once, last year, I failed spectacularly. That was hard and left my self-confidence very low, but in the end I learnt a massive amount which has helped me to do some great stuff this year. Resilience is key!Persevere and be confident in what you want to do. Present your vision of planning and what is your added value.I was always the shyest kid in class. The thought of public speaking made me nauseous. I now present all the time. It was a rocky start but public speaking truly is something that gets better and easier (and fun!) with practice. Once you start truly knowing and believing what are you talking about, you can be a great presenter. I have learned that you can speak with conviction and passion without being an outgoing person, and sometimes that can be even more convincing. A friend asked me to guest teach his class at Parsons last year. Terrifying but ended up being really fun; I found students asking me questions and wanting to learn more from someone in a field that normally they wouldn't even think about at that stage in their lives.Moved countries every 6 months for most of my 20s.I do this to some extent on a daily basis, and that is one of the many things I love about my job and my company. Everyday is challenging.I think in my role, I am forced to get comfortable with many different topics very quickly. The biggest challenge is trusting my experience and using that as solid footing while balancing into new unknown territories. Generally i feel outside my comfort zone with I am with experienced marketers as my background is more psychology, ethnography, culture, research etc. Having said that, I normally find the opportunity to say something insightful that makes people sit up and take notice. It is always good to push outside your comfort zone. Starting my own company has been the hardest thing I've ever done, as well as one of the most rewarding. If you want to understand what the future of planning looks like, sometimes you just need to dive in and experiment, and running a company has given me the opportunity to really pursue that. I worked on managing a project where we developed a quantitative survey to understand Physicians attitudes towards personalized medicine and genomics. I had to brief a survey company and recommend to upper management the best statistical way forward in helping get a useful understanding of potential segments.I have changed from promo to eventscold calling account directors across the globe to ""get to know them""In both of my jobs, as a career switcher, I was given little guidance about ""how"" to do things. Being resourceful, creative, smart, and a good listener helped me immensely. But really, it was believing that what I thought made sense and was as smart as everyone seemed to think it was. I love ambiguity, but I also feel like unless I have experience, I trust my team to help me feel my way through things the first time. I try to leverage my past skill-set as a researcher, youth worker, facilitator and program director whenever I see the opportunity. I think it's created a space for me in my agency that feels good.I feel most planners have to do that when they first get into the business. I remember when the head of planning stopped by my desk one day and asked me to find very specific data about planning awards. I searched the web, called foreign offices and even used fuzzy math but in the end could not find exactly what they wanted. When i went to tell them that i had failed they said that it was an impossible task to begin with and just wanted to see what i could come up with.Yes, I’m living this experience right now. I was working in an agency which had not a great work environment regarding project management and innovation. The agency is not located in one of the big ""advertising centers"" like Sao Paulo and the planning activity is not well known here. There was no time and resources to research and develop, no structure to work together with the creative team and no culture of co-creation and innovation or creative and strategic planning. Most of all, the boss was always downsizing the position of planning, ignoring many aspects like target segmentation and creative tendencies. I had quit the job and for 4 months I've been looking for a position in Sao Paulo where most of the agencies see my past experience in planning at that agency and conclude I’m not at a good level to be a planner and very experienced to be a analist planner. So ""no job there is"". I’m struggling to show my abilites and experience (that are more than only planning) after a position in a poor results agency which is the worst thing I've ever experienced. (it seems that its worst than having no experience at all). I had to step in to help code a Facebook page quiz.A retail project the goal was to develop a full proposal on the point of sale and purchase experience, not so much brand communication, but more focused on retail. There was a big research about many keys. In the end, I made a great presentation that involved practically change the store and make a new one. Was not successful but enjoy it.Moving to Austin with nothing. As My career is Psychology, I had to go through the stage of doing therapy to other people, wich was actually really uncomfortable for me. I enjoy, sharing experience with people, I enjoy doing research in their customs, knowing what do they act in certain ways, knowing what the response would be to different stimuli. But trying to deal with their problems and try to solve them was kind of dificult, since I am a very sensitive person. That's whay I chose Planning and Consumer Psychology. I know I belong here.I've had to deal with lots of numbers. Lots of numbers massive amounts of data. It's all mind boggling. but that's something I have to do. trying to sell the goodness of plasticI got a job in a university in Mexico that the subjects that I teach was marketing and qualitative and I tried to inspire my students to teach them the meaning of account planning..I enjoyed and they told me that they like the class too, because it was differentI'm doing it right now. Trying to be an entrepreneur and to create ideas by myself, not just bringing the strategy to the creative team but actually creating and executing... This question was almost written for me. I'm going through a professional and personal struggle at the moment. Though the act of moving to a new city has been done time and time again by many people, and I felt quite certain when I started my job search a year ago, I have been unable thus far to realize my dream and it has made me think about the ""what if's"" of if it doesn't happen. I've wanted to move to San Francisco since I started studying advertising and Planning in college. When I started looking for a job there, I was convinced that if I just kept at it I would get that job and be able to live and work in a place that really inspires me. It would be a way to start fresh after a very unsatisfactory experience in the city I started my career in - one without a great culture, a decently-sized but uncreative ad industry, and a draining social scene. I've been putting in the hard work and I am willing to do what it will take. Doing the long-distance job search means a lot of phone interviews, but I am getting those opportunities frequently and pouring my heart into them. I've had the opportunity to talk to some amazing agencies, but each of these opportunities has somehow passed me by. So I've decided to head out there for a month to meet people face to face, hoping that my presence will make my impression stronger and I'll actually be able to close the deal. But this has been a tough time, a long time, and I've thought of everything from ""if not SF, my dream, then where?"" to ""will all this effort really be worth it."" It's one of those situations where I don't want to get to a bitter place by the time I land a job. Of course the economy isn't helping, and I'm constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be able to look for a job in my dream city at this time - something that couldn't be done without the support of my family and friends. But I think about if I'm not good enough, smart enough, interesting enough to be a Planner in this city. Constantly trying to prove that you will be great at an agency, in a job, all while each rejection injects a little more doubt into you is a constant struggle within myself and what I've accomplished up to this point. I'm not giving up, I'm not willing to turn away from this dream just yet, and I'm doing everything I can to make it happen. I'm certainly learning a lot about myself in the process and though the outcome hasn't turned out to be what I want yet, I'm still determined. If I have to fold, it will not have been without a huge effort.Question everything and be prepared to see the answers in everything around youSo, I had just graduated, decided I loved planning and wanted to work with that. My family was moving to China, and I made the decision to go with them. It was hard, leaving family, friends, job, basically my life behind. I moved to a country I knew very little about, didn't spoke the language, couldn't read anything, and knew nothing about the culture. Scary, but incredibly amazing. Leaving my comfort zone was great, it opened my mind in a way I could never have imagined. I talked to a few planners here in China, and basically they said ""without speaking the language, there is very little we can do for you"". So I studied a lot for a whole year, and I can honestly say I can communicate already (reading and writing included), and this is something I am really proud of. I am still not sure if here is the place for me to build a career, but while I think about that, I'm always learning something new. So if I could give a piece of advice to anyone, this would be it, leave your comfort zone, go travel, or better yet, go live somewhere else, so you can truly experience what I am talking about. Even if I am not working directly in planning now, I've learned a lot and I'm sure I will use all this experience someday.I’m unemployed because I’m pursuing what I love to do, my job was good but not enough because I had so many ideas and I couldn’t find a way to actually do them even though it were good.. but I understood it wasn’t my business; so I took a chance and I quitted, right now I’m in California taking a marketing course to improve my knowledge and refresh a little bit from where I was... and when I go back I’ll just do what I actually love. As a junior I believe that I am doing kind of that every day. Growing into the position as a great planner is very different from what you did at university. You have to meet new people and environments that you are not used too. And you have to get used to it very quickly, because the requirements are high. And you have to know what and why. Create a strategy out of data then create a perfect pitch out of that is not easy stuff, and a lot of planners don‚Äôt even master that. As a junior this is also all new stuff, so you have to appreciate the challenge very much. When you get more comfortable and becoming a mid-weight or senior planner you might be pretty cool in this kind of work, but to be a great one you may not stay in that comfortable zone, but always explore new ways of developing planning and off course never take anything for granted. Planning was, and is, a force for changing advertising and communication, and the way agencies think and behave. Taking part in live event in a sort of live adaptable tatics planningmoving to ChinaI worked in advertising from 1997 to 2008, and decided to reevaluate my career path during the recession. Ultimately, I went back to school at MAS Minneapolis in 2010 to focus on planning after over 11 years of assorted experience in the industry. Since graduating, I interviewed with at least 15 agencies in 10 months, and I've freelanced with three between Minneapolis and Chicago. Alas, my past advertising experience appears to be working against me in the planning discipline. I've been told that I'm too junior to be senior, but too senior to be junior, and I've also been told to dumb down my resume. Because of a basic need to make ends meet, I've had to move back to my home town and take a job making a wage on par with what I earned in college. It's very humbling, but I try my best to gain new insights everyday through my interactions with customers and younger coworkers. Although it's sometimes very challenging, I have to remember that even a coffeehouse can provide a great venue in which to study human behavior and consumer habits.This is really boring...but I never really thought of myself as a good data analyst. On one project, I was able to learn and navigate through basic SPSS results and deliver reporting and implications to a new client within a few days.I recently moved to a new country, Canada, and this is by far the most challenging time of my life. It's usually a hard experience for every expat, but it seems to be harder for Planners due to our intrinsic need to get involved and understand the local culture, habits and behaviour. In my case, what makes me unique is exactly what keeps me apart.Everyday seems to be a challenge .... proving your value to all internal and external stakeholders. Decided to do a business development internship in an business accelerator. It was totally different, it was about software technologies and research. However it provided me with deep insights of business and technology to later be applied in planning.It took several years to build up the confidence to work as a freelancer. Ultimately it came down to trusting that my reputation and network was strong enough to support me. TRUSTING myself was the hardest step, because there really are no guarantees. I also saved up 6-12 months of living expenses, which I still have as a buffer for when work slows down. <br />