Transplant Yourself for Growth


Qui transtulit sustinet. He who transplanted still sustains.

While researching the idea of change, I learned this bit of Latin, which is the state motto of Connecticut. There’s some debate as to the motto’s origin, but “he” likely referred to God (as in God moved the settlers to this location and will support them).

I see another interpretation: You, reinvented, sustain your success.

It used to be that we acquired knowledge and skills and applied them to a 40- to 50-year career. Today, according to research, careers can span 60-70 years. But, the half-life of learned skills – now about five years – continues to shrink. Careers require constant learning and reinvention.

Skills are becoming obsolete at an accelerating rate, changing how engineers engineer, marketing markets, sales sell, and even how accounting counts. The key to sustaining success is in the depth and breadth of choice you have in the solutions you bring to the table. And that comes with the acquisition of new knowledge.

Learning new concepts, philosophies, approaches, and ultimately how to reinvent yourself is the new skill.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of content. For most businesses, there’s no clear career path for content creators, brand journalists, managing editors, blog managers, or content strategists. Here’s an example of how difficult it can be for people with concentrated skills in content to advance in organizations.

A friend who came from product marketing and is one of the most highly skilled content strategists I’ve ever known was just passed over for the lead position in the new content marketing group that she had helped to build.

She wasn’t passed over because she lacked skill. The decision came down to the perception she didn’t have the same breadth of knowledge about changes in digital marketing, media publishing, and leadership as the outside person they brought in. The new content marketing group will report directly into the CMO, and the company’s leadership bet on knowledge over developed skill. As a result, my friend faces a tough choice: “I can now go back to product marketing, go learn something else, or go somewhere else.”

“Qui transtulit sustinet” should be her (and your) rallying cry. Don’t rest on the content skills you have today. Frequently transplant yourself – repot yourself in bigger containers so you can grow and expand your roots in a bigger world.     

You might ask: “Isn’t the ability to transplant an applied skill? Over time, won’t we become really skilled at reinvention?”

Well, yes. The integration of your experience, knowledge, and tolerance for change is the ultimate goal. That skill is the next step. That is wisdom.   

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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