What karate taught me about marketing

courageWhen I was 19, I started doing karate. I quickly became completely and utterly obsessed. I trained 15-20 hours a week. It was fantastic. #OhToBeYoungAgain

Six years later, I moved back to Vancouver, Canada. I tried to find a dojo that felt like a good fit but nothing felt quite right. So I stopped training. Aside from the occasional back kick to close the fridge door, karate played no role in my life (save for watching Bruce Lee flicks, which isn’t quite the same thing).

Then about a month ago, I ended up with a running-related injury that was bad enough I had to stop running. I started doing some basic punching and kicking as part of my daily exercise routine because, well, punching and kicking is a good cardio workout and didn’t annoy my flamed out calf. I was instantly reminded of just how much I love karate and why.

Karate isn’t about beating people up–it’s about discipline and focus. These attributes come in really handy if you’re a marketer.

With spiffy new tools, ideas and technology coming at you faster than Jason Statham’s right hook, it’s easy to get distracted. You have to be extremely disciplined and stay focused on your goals and objectives. In karate, if you lose focus, you end up with a broken ankle and/or ribs (been there, done that). In marketing, if you lose focus you risk falling prey to Shiny Object Syndrome. Not quite as painful as a broken rib, but certainly sub-optimal.

If you’re 5’4″ (like yours truly) and your opponent is 6’4″, a roundhouse kick gets the job done better than a straight punch. Translation: If you’re not getting the results you want from your marketing efforts, take some time and make sure your actions align with your objectives. Not as fun as checking out your Facebook feed for the 47th time today, but effective.

I promise, Grasshopper, your discipline and focus will pay off.