Zen and the Art of Hustling

The Zen of Hustling

Our founder and CEO likes to remind us that success does not equal character. It’s easy to forget this in the marketplace, where those who achieve great things seem to gain a mystical quality of knowing something no one else does. But just as the last edition of our newsletter taught us that technology can accelerate trust, without guaranteeing it, this edition focuses on having the heart of a hustler through both the highs and the lows, the successes and the disappointments.

So, what is the heart of a hustler? I’d like to propose that the heart of a hustler is equal parts grit, grace, and greatness.

Grit, of course, is the unmistakable mix of resilience, persistence, and willingness to roll up one’s sleeves and get to work. At Zen, we love grit, and our leadership leads by example, solving problems both at a strategic and logistical level, valuing equally the why and the how.

“… Grace is a little more elusive, but if I had to pin it down, I would say it has less to do with never tripping over your own feet and more with the capacity to work in the short term without forgetting the long term …”

In the digital marketing landscape, it’s easy to become tactical to a fault. After all, there’s so many new tools and approaches popping up all the time.

About a year ago, Mark Cuban forecast that liberal arts will be the future of jobs. His stance was summed up in a Forbes piece by Renee Morad:

Cuban believes that the amount of change we’ll see for jobs in the next five or 10 years will dwarf what we’ve observed in the past 30 years, and that as artificial intelligence and machine learning takes center stage, there will be a greater need for expertise in subjects such as English, philosophy and foreign languages. According to his forecast, some of today’s most in-demand skills, such as writing software, will eventually be taken over by automation and skills like communication and critical thinking will become more important.

If Mark Cuban is right, grace will be evident more in our capacity to take different perspectives and tap into both our creativity and critical thinking skills than in pure technical expertise.

Finally, we arrive at greatness, and while greatness might conjure epic imagery of climbing mountains, making billions in revenue, or becoming the next Steve Jobs, I’d like to suggest that greatness might also be something a little simpler. I’d like to suggest that greatness lies in empathy, boldness, and the ability to make something out of nothing, the same qualities, incidentally, required to create an amazing brand experience.

#AboutLastNight: We won some serious gold at the #addyawards

This quirky and thoughtful read from Design Matters’ Debbie Millman pierces the surface and does a deep dive into “brand thinking” through the eyes of iconoclasts like Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell.




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She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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