Don’t let anything stop you from having a voice in this world

We live in a world where our opinion is communicated to a global audience through social media. Sometimes what we are trying to say and what is interpreted can be taken in the wrong way, but that starts a conversation which is a key aspect to building relationships, whether as an individual or as a brand.

What brands are looking for when posting online is to engage with customers. But triggering conversation depends on the brand personality of the company. Some are approachable and friendly, others can be irreverent and opinionated. It all depends on what the strategy is for that brand. The worse thing any brand can be is stuck in the middle or what is often called vanilla, just plain and uninteresting.

Having an opinion as an individual is what defines you and helps shape your own personal brand. No matter what you believe in just say the truth because as they say, it will set you free. Having ideas, thoughts and opinions is something we all internalise but not everyone is able to articulate them in the way they would like.

Take Seth Godin for example, the man can communicate powerful strategies and thoughts in very few words. But the key thing about this is it takes time. Seth didn’t start out being able to direct everything in front of him and communicate his ideas as clearly as he does now, no one does. It takes time to formulate ideas into simple language or explanations. I’m pretty sure the words he posts are not the first ones he writes either!

In advertising most of the work you see which is beautifully art directed and crafted has gone through countless rounds of shortening, sharpening and development to get the communication down to a core truth or promise. Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher, once wrote a letter and at the end wrote, “I apologise for the length of this letter, if I had more time I would have made it shorter.”

I love that quote because today we do things at a hundred miles an hour but this shouldn’t deter you from giving your opinion and letting your voice be heard. Even if you are criticised by someone, keep going. Everyone has been criticised or attached at some point in their life, the trick is the ones you listen to and respect now ignored those comments and continued to work on getting their voice heard.

You have a voice in this world and there are people who want to hear your opinions. You may even help someone that is going through an experience you once faced. Fear stops us doing so many things, but you you need to start somewhere and every great journey starts with a single step forward. Have faith in yourself and start crafting your voice, no matter how long it takes, you will get to a point that it comes easier and articulated sharper, but remember to enjoy the journey you have as it will be exhilarating whilst lightening the load of thoughts that often weigh heavily on our mind when left unspoken.




Always do the things you are afraid to do

When I first started work I was extremely shy and the thought of speaking in front of people scared the living daylights out of me. When I was forced to present a few times I turned into a sweaty mess. In fact one time I got so nervous that I ended up having a coughing fit in the middle of a presentation forcing the client to leave the room in order to get me a glass of water. Once I had stopped coughing and choking all over the client I stood red-faced, sweat coming through not only my shirt but also my suit jacket! I could see my boss and colleagues sat wide-eyed wondering if I was going to keel over or finish the presentation.

I looked at the client and just said, ‘See, you have to hire us because we are even prepared to die to get your business!’ The client laughed, nervously, and we eventually won the business.

The only thing I could do at that stage was make a joke out of this surreal experience. But this taught me very quickly that if I can recover from what I was always in fear of experiencing, why did I get myself into this mess?

The truth is presenting to a client can be intimidating and sometimes the stakes are high if you do not win the business. I have gone to presentations knowing if we don’t win the business people in the agency will lose their jobs, that’s pressure! But I pushed myself to present at every opportunity because I knew it was a challenge that I had to get over, not because I enjoy talking in front of people but because it was a fear entrenched in my psyche that stemmed from being afraid of making a mistake.

I have had bad presentations since then, not quite like the first one but they didn’t go well. But the more I did it the more I realised there was nothing to be afraid of. In fact I have gone on to present at conferences around the world with thousands of people and I really do enjoy it. I found a passion that allows me to reach and connect with people all over the world, exchanging ideas, helping people with things I have learned or am passionate about.

I found joy in something because I did something that terrified me and I didn’t allow it to beat me. I faced my fear and it was not that I overcame anything, in truth there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place other than what I had built up in my head. Fear can be paralysing and I am not saying it is easy, it’s not. But I guarantee if I can do it, anyone can.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy

We all spend time imagining what it would be like to accomplish our dreams. Some of us spend most of our lives imagining every aspect of the achievement. What we would do, how we would feel, who we would thank and what it would be like to stand atop and look back at the journey we have taken. This of course is the easy part.

To achieve anything worth while in life we have to make the first step towards that goal. And after that we take the next and the next. Even we we are pushed backwards or have to change our direction, we have to believe we can still make it to the top, even when after many steps forward the goal seems ever further away.

If every thing in life were easy, then there would be no thrill of achieving your dreams. No sense that we have overcome every difficulty and stared into the face of defeat many times, only to power through with courage and determination. Because it is a statement worth carrying with you in life, that nothing worth doing, is ever easy.

You can’t win every battle, Sometimes you learn when you don’t

We all like to succeed, we all like to win at anything we do and no one likes defeat. The irony of this though is that we often learn more when we lose or fail, than when we win. I personally have failed in having my business, more than once! But each time I learned more about myself than all the successes I have had in my life. I feel fortunate that each failure didn’t cost me everything, although the last one came very close. But that experience was possibly the tipping point in me realizing the most important factor about myself. I will never give up.

When things go wrong a sense of fog or haze seems to descend around you, as though you are in a street on a foggy night unsure of which direction to go. The most important, yet most difficult, part of this experience is staying calm and knowing that it will not last if I start to make the right decisions to get me out. It is easier said than done, I can vouch for that! Your confidence at an all time low, fear of losing everything and that horrible gut wrenching feeling that you have let those around you down is truly terrifying.

But you must never give up on you, because only you can see the new opportunities ahead, only you can learn from your mistakes and only you will once again walk on the sunny path of success. The funny thing is you will look back into the fog from afar, see the person you were and know how far you have come and what a great feeling that can be. Good luck, stay strong.