Following a short interlude…. Here are my favourite blog posts from 2014

Hello!

It’s been six months since I last posted on here… That’s because I welcomed my beautiful baby boy into the world back in June. How my life has changed since then!

So, to ease me back in gently, I thought I’d start by sharing a few of my favourite blog entries in 2014.

This first post is not just applicable to marketers, we all need a bit of self promotion. Get better at marketing yourself, your career and your personal brand.

The second post is taken from watching an episode of Undercover Boss, one of my favourite programmes. The authenticity and courage shown always inspire me! Four learnings from watching undercover boss.

The final post reminded me that in this hectic world it is easy to not take time out to do something to help others. Giving not to receive but to benefit others.

I hope they provide a little inspiration to you!

Four learnings from watching Undercover Boss

One of my favourite programmes to watch if I have a spare hour is Undercover Boss – from whichever country seems to be filming right now!  I’ve watched a few recently and wanted to share some of the things it made me think about.

It’s hard work – really hard work.  Many of the bosses had a tough upbringing, skipped school, faced tonnes of challenges along the way but they never gave up and showed a level of tenacity most of us could learn from.

 

They have a passion for people and don’t mind going back to the shop floor.  Bosses seem true ‘people’ people with a genuine and keen interest in the lives of other people.  And not simply just as work, but their personal lives too.  Not just the usual ‘Did you have a nice weekend’ kind of chat..  They really want their employees to grow both in and out of work and are happy to blur the work/personal lines.

 

They listen to make informed decisions.  Bosses listen with intent and use this information to make future decisions.  They know that often their employees have ideas that will improve the business and they take note.  Simple.

 

They are authentic.  They have a passion for giving back and helping others.  You can see that money does not always equal happiness alone.   You can imagine that the people on screen we see if the same as in the comfort of their own home.

Three learnings from my visit to Another Place

No, I’ve not managed to get myself up to the moon or beyond but I did have the pleasure in visiting Another Place – a piece of modern sculpture by Antony Gormley which displays cast iron sculptures of the artist’s own body, facing towards the sea at Crosby Beach in North West England.  These statues, in my humble opinion are fascinating in that there 100 of them dotted on the sea front, looking out to the water.  All still, all quiet.

During my visit I took away three learnings:

1.  It is good to be quiet and still for a while.  The statues reminded me of the importance of stillness and peace.  I took time to just look over their shoulder and pause.  When was the last time you took even 60 seconds each day to just stop and be still?

2.  It is good to be brave.  When the statues were first displayed, there was a lot of controversy in the local area that they were too risky, could damage the beach environment etc but it’s great that Another Place and Sefton Council have allowed the legacy of the statues to continue.

3.  It’s important to remember what is on your doorstep.  These statues have been on the beach over 6 years ago and quite frankly now I have visited I am sorry it took me so long to visit in the first place.  I had such a great day, especially as I got to do what I love, take photos!  (Take a look and see what you think)

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Time to get creative and experiment this spring!

Happy Easter folks!

Spring is here and the idea of growth and new beginnings is in the air.

Whether you are in the marketing profession or not, this time always feels a great time to innovate and try new things.  So, why not start now… question that thing you are about to do, try something different, experiment… and see how it feels!

Here are some useful links which might just inspire you to go ahead and act now:

Unstuck – a great site/app with useful advice on getting unstuck to start the process!

http://www.unstuck.com/

Mindmeister – brilliant collaborative tools for jotting down ideas and inspiring action.

http://www.mindmeister.com/

Don The Idea Guy shares ideas for building your business and brand through creativity and innovation.

http://www.dontheideaguy.com/

Creativity Central is a useful blog on business ideas. creativity. innovation. brainstorming. all in one place.

http://creativitycentral.squarespace.com/

I bet you feel great!

The forgotten basics of working in an office?

Those of you who work with me know I am on a bit of a mission right now…

There is always more to be done, quicker than ever before.  Sound familiar?  Well have a think about this….

Who can honestly put their hand up to ALL of the following statements ALL of the time?

1.  Every meeting I go to starts and ends on time.  (And meetings finish before ‘the hour’ to allow you to get to the next meeting?)

2.  Every meeting has a formal agenda which shows exactly how each minute of the meeting is intended to be spent.

3.  There is a chair person who keeps everyone on track to ensure 1 and 2 are completed.

4.  An agenda is given out in advance so that the necessary prep can take place.

5.  Each meeting follows up with a list of outputs, insights and actions in a timely manner.

6.  When I present in a meeting I consider the number of slides (eg can I do a  40 minute presentation with 100 slides justice at 24 seconds a slide?)

Just curious….!  Anything you think you can change?  I’d love to see how many boxes you tick in my poll below:

Cut that to do list up and just get on with it!

I can be a bit of a procrastinator when I want to be.

But lately, I have been working really hard to get better at this.

How?

I’m simply just been getting on with it!

Sounds simple I know but you just have to do it!  Take a breath and even if you do five minutes of THAT task right now I guarantee you will feel 100% times better.  I also imagine that it will give you that spark to do a little bit more and before you know it – I’m sure you will be closer to finishing than you think.

Here are a few tips that you might find useful:

1.  Set your alarm and commit to just five minutes now – surely you can spare that amount of time?

2.  Tell someone else what you are putting off – I am sure their encouragement, plus your open-ness to them will drive action

3.  You know that treat you were looking forward to?  Don’t enjoy it til you have committed to the task in hand.

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Good luck!

What we can learn from Lizzy Yarnold – the UK Gold Medalist at the Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

I’m sat watching the closing ceremony and thinking about how truly fabulous the Olympic Games have been.  To watch athletes who have an infectious passion to go and deliver in snow sports (and we are not a snow nation!) with funding that is not comparable to summer Olympic athletes is just amazing.

And so to the amazing Lizzy Yarnold and her gold medal for the Skeleton race.  She has become a national treasure and here is why she has inspired me.

1.  Lizzy proved it’s ok to deviate if the deviation is still in line with your core.  Lizzy started as a track athlete and was comfortable enough in herself to use her transferable skills and try a new sport and face the fears that came with this.

2.  Lizzy has a huge sense of self belief which no doubt has carried her through some dark times…..

3.  Lizzy is surrounded with a good support network from her family and friends through to her coaches – a consistency which no doubt has been a massive help through tough and happy times.  The advice and support she got from Amy Williams (former Gold skeleton winner)  has probably been invaluable too and anyone watching on TV will see the connection they have.

4.  Lizzy’s mantra to follow her dreams, never give up and never limit what you do is applicable to us all!

5.  Lizzy has quite clearly inspired a nation.  Images of children recreating her gold win are a pleasure to see.

So Lizzy, we salute you!