The Best Laid Plans

Burns at the Plough (Turning Up a Mouse)

Burns at the Plough (Turning Up a Mouse) – Photo credit: National Trust for Scotland, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

It’s hard to know if Robert Burns had any idea how oft-repeated would be this phrase when he wrote it, still clutching his plough in the most famous telling, after destroying the wintering home of a little mouse while turning over a field, but I would wager there are few native English speakers who do not know the sentiment behind them.

I started out this assignment with two clear objectives: gain a LinkedIn Learning Path certification in Becoming and Content Strategist and getting a certification from Coursera as a Brand Identity Strategist, but much like the mouse in Burns’ poems my plans went askew.

Unlike Burns’ mouse, I cannot blame a giant with a plough on my failure to achieve half of my goal. I had the time, I had the interest, I just didn’t have the follow-through. The Coursera course didn’t captivate me right away, and since it was deadline-focused I quickly fell behind and then simply fell off the roster.

But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew

– Robert Burns

Instead, I focused on LinkedIn Learning courses that I have come to enjoy so very much. In addition to completing the Content Strategy Learning Path, I also did 7 other smaller certifications around areas of interest, including: productivity and overcoming procrastination, ideation, and how to write a brand style guide.

Through those courses, I’ve learned techniques such as how to integrate your marketing communications through a podcast, newsletter, and blog, including timing and content selection. I’ve learned ways to avoid distractions at home and at the office, plan for and implement effective time management skills, and stay motivated to complete tasks that may not seem as fun or engaging but are nonetheless necessary.

One of the things I am working on right now is building a brand for my local community, Amherst Island, and so the things learned from the brand style guide course, such as what to include for imagery, tone, style, and typography considerations, logo treatments, and colour selection will go a long way toward helping me do that successfully. All in all, I am happy with what I learned on this path, regardless of whether it’s where I intended to go.

Looking back it’s now a bit funny. I didn’t finish the Coursera course because I couldn’t be bothered offering time to its isolated, online classes and assignments, fast-forward to today when that’s literally the only option in the world. So, while we don’t know the fate of Burns’ mouse, we can only assume it did what it had to do: moved on and started again.

And as I head into Week 3 of my Coursera course that’s what I’m doing too.

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