4 Career Mistakes I Made

Geoff Livingston
7 min readAug 5, 2020
Dilapidated buildings in Cuba

Sometimes creating a path for the future requires reconciling the past. The passing of mother earlier this year and a series of life events (COVID included) has triggered such an exercise. The following four mistakes

These mistakes are ordered in a manner that hopefully provides a coherent and interesting read. If there is one take-away, consider Shakespeare’s famous line from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” If you let others become your career guide, you may lose your path.

1) The Sound of My Silence

Ship Harbor Trail

In recent years I stifled my voice. Writing this article seeks to remedy that. Many, many times in the past ten years, I restrained my tongue and pen. I felt expressing my views would harm others, or be too risky for my career, or that no one cares.

The first point remains important. Sometimes we need to weigh the value of an argument against the harm it causes. I know: In this era of social media show-boating, it seems odd. But during the height of my blogging “nanofame,” I erred too often towards making a point and harmed others.

Looking back, I believe I overcompensated, opting for silence over risk. When I look at the disaster of what social media has become, many of those biting criticisms were well-founded. When fallacies are exposed, even in a general way, anger is a natural reaction.

Instead of ceding the space to social media marketing leaders — people more interested in making a living than leading a movement — an elevated level of criticism should have been waged. An eloquent essay can deliver a well-argued critique without naming names.

As to career-risk, balance in all things is necessary. Cutting off one’s nose to spite your face rarely makes sense, but sometimes we need to save ourselves. I will put this article in that latter category. Surely, some will think less of me for writing it. What matters most is an act of reconciliation with my path.

Fear of no one caring is a piss poor excuse. The courageous walk in the face of fear. No one can respond to the silence of unsaid words. This is a symptom of a…

Geoff Livingston

Digital marketing pioneer. Founder of Generative Buzz. https://www.generativebuzz.com