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.

 

 

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Dreams come to you at night for a reason

They sometimes do not come for days or weeks. They sometimes come in waves. Sometimes, just sometimes, they come so clear and vibrant it feels like they touch your very soul. But there is a reason dreams come to you in your sleep. Dreams need your undivided attention. Dreams need the canvas of your mind to express the subconscious and plant important information that one day will trigger a response. What that response will be is not always be clear. But it does have your undivided attention.

What is clear is how a dream can repeat many times before we feel that it moves on. But why? Has its purpose been achieved? Was I supposed to do something? Is there a level in our brains that we have yet to unlock that would explain such strange and obscure visions? Maybe you are not meant to understand everything. Maybe you are only supposed to have a glimpse into a world we cannot comprehend just yet. And maybe, just maybe they come to us in our sleep so we cannot avoid them.

Our lives are filled with millions upon millions of information that we have to digest in a fraction of a second. Messages, discussions, images, smells, sounds and so much more that even thinking about the volume of information can make you feel quite dizzy. Whatever dreams are and mean one thing is clear when we dream with our eyes open we can achieve such incredible heights, but it takes discipline and focus to stay true to these dreams without wondering off on to different paths.

I myself constantly find myself thinking of a new business idea, a blog I would like to write about Social Media, Emerging technology, Football and more. But, I keep Snapping myself back on track to keep writing this blog so that maybe it inspires at least one other person to do something with their lives, to keep focused on my business and my work, to keep focused on being a good father, husband and friend.

Whatever dreams come to you tonight may they bring you comfort, joy or inspire you to do something great the next day. Whatever your dreams are tonight, know they are yours to do with when you awake the next morning. They are yours to fuel your ambitions and to quell your fears about all the things you cannot do. For a dream comes to you at night, when you are asleep, because you cannot turn off the channel, get up and move on or any other thing we do in life to avoid what we need to see. Dreams come to you in your sleep so you listen to them and act on them when you awake. Dream big and live happy.

In our darkest moments we are the strength that lights our path

We have all faced down the demons of a certain situation in our lives. Whether those moments were personal, financial, professional, abuse or any other terrible incident that scars our soul. When we think back to that moment it all feels so real, shocking and sickening that we sense a closeness through the fabric of time and space that links you to that event, or like most people events. But to grow you must visit these places every now and again.

It is within these moments of your life, as harsh as they may be, we find out the real person we are. An inner strength that, for the most part of the day, seems as distant as you have now made some of these events in your mind. It is not the pain that I am saying you should focus on, that would just be counter productive. The moment I mean you to focus on is that moment just afterwards, when the tears stopped, the pain eased and we looked at the road ahead with a fire burning inside desperate to rise again from whatever heel you were in. It is that moment that is the real you, the one that can and did pull you through anything.

It is in those moments, however brief, do we have so much clarity in what we want, what we can do and what we will do, it is an enlightened moment that if you were to look from the outside of yourself would see a human being ready to take on anything. Look where you are now. No matter how successful or poorly you believe your current situation is, you know that you have faced worse moments and overcome them. And when you look back at that moment you see a different person, one that was not ready for the challenges you face today. I am a firm believer that everything you have gone through has given you the tools to overcome any obstacle that is in your path today, or in the future. All you have to do is believe in yourself, just as you did before.

Carrying a grudge will only make the journey ahead harder

I remember reading a quote on online once that read, “Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.” I love this quote and think it is extremely powerful. It also made me think about how difficult it is in life without the extra burden of carrying such baggage with you.

We have all been upset, betrayed, lied to and more by one person or another throughout our lives. But one thing you must not do is keep that anger inside you or drag it along like an anchor at the bottom of the sea catching on every little rock or boulder, as it will only slow you down. Once the initial pain subsides you must review the other persons side of what happened and then see where you went wrong in the situation or what you could have done differently.

You see, nice that pain subsides, and it will, you will be able to look at every aspect with a clear mind, as though you are watching it happen to someone else. Only then can you really understand or take lessons out of that experience. This is something you must do. You cannot put this away, push it deep within or just forget it. Trust me, I know from personal experience that sooner or later you will have top face this and it’s better to do it earlier. Because once you do go through the painful process of picking through the incident, or incidents, the sooner you can dump that baggage like garbage it is.

There is no doubt in my mind that once you do this, once you go through the process of analyzing both, the other persons acts and your own experiences, will you feel a sense of accomplishment as you overcome that feeling. Not only overcome that helpless and demoralizing feeling but also you will come out stronger as a person than you have ever been.

You will look back on that time and know that was the time that actually propelled you down the road to where you are know rather than slowing you down. Life is a journey and it is fraught with painful lessons and obstacles along the way, it is best you don’t bring your own obstacles or luggage with you, just take the lessons and move on. Let you past make you better, not bitter.

It doesn’t matter where you are from. It only matters where you are going.

Life can be difficult at the best of times. But what often makes it worse are the excuses we give ourselves for not doing the things we want to, not achieving the goals we dream of and not making the most of every opportunity we have in this world. If you think that it matters where you are from, what education you have or where you are now then you may as well lie down where you are right now and just give up. In fact you may well be digging your own grave with every excuse another inch deeper into the ground, making the chance of moving forward even more difficult in the future, if you have one. I know I have dug many a hole myself.

Many of the greatest people in the world were not born wit ha silver spoon in their mouths or had things made easy for them. Take Steven Hawkings, Steve Jobs, Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and the list goes on. You probably don’t have many of the ailments or issues in front of you at the moment, but still you think achieving any goal is out of your reach. Why? Because the media says you have to go to a certain school? Because so called popular opinion believes you have to be a certain type of person, born on a certain day with stars aligned in the right way? Okay maybe a wild exaggeration, but don’t you see how small the excuses you are placing in front of you seems in comparison? Don’t you see that people all over the world have overcome difficulties, disabilities and hardships most people could never understand to achieve great things?

Not every one has to change the technology world in the way school drop out Steve Jobs did, or created music history like Ray Charles long after going blind as a child. You see every single excuse you make is another inch deeper in your grave or another brick in the wall in front of you. With every challenge and difficulty you will face in the world today you must believe you can achieve dreams or goals that will improve your life or at the very least make you happy.

Everyone on this planet deserves to be happy and has the skills within them to achieve something in their life. Because it doesn’t matter where you are from, who you are or what you have done so far in your life so far. It only matters where you are going and that journey, that amazing next step in your life is whatever you decide you want it to be, so decide today where you are going and live the life you deserve.

There’s real beauty in being different

Do you know that person inside you? You know the real one, not the one we all pretend to be that fits with every forced stereotype that our world has forced us to chase throughout our lives? The one that is different, quirky, unusual and likes things that you rarely tell anyone about like the song that your friends don’t like or something you have always wanted to do like sing in a choir. You are not alone in the secrecy of hiding things, unfortunately this is how the majority of the world lives, hiding behind masks. So what about the few that don’t?

What is remarkable about the few that don’t conform, that celebrate their uniqueness, that embrace the fact they are different are the people we champion as great. Apple’s Think Different advertising campaign wasn’t only about how they create products. Apple was telling you as an individual to be different, to try things, be creative and have fun. Apple was telling you to be you.

Let’s look at another industry. Let’s take singers. There are millions of people who are technically brilliant when it comes to singing. They can hit a note perfectly every single time and have been doing this for years. But if you looked at the people who become famous for singing it is because there is something different about their voice, often not technically great but they sing with a passion and extenuates that difference. Kurt Cobain, Lead singer of Nirvana fame, was once described by Dave Grohl, Drummer of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, as singing like he had ‘A pack of gravel in his throat’ and this by the way was Dave paying Kurt the ultimate compliment. He understood the need to be different as this made Nirvana such a stand out band when they started.

If you want to really do something that makes you happy then you should embrace every quirk, difference and individual aspect of who you are and run with it. Forget the glossy magazine stereotypes, forget what your friends think you are, forget about what people may think about you and start focusing on what you want from this life. You have everything you need to be happy and you have everything you need to be successful. You just have to believe it, understand who you are, what you want and go for it with every ounce of your soul. Part of being a success or being happy remember, is seeing yourself in that place before you set off. You may not make the top of whatever mountain you are aiming for but in life it is about the journey to discover who you are, not the final destination.

Setting smaller goals will help you achieve the big ones

Sometimes when you look at what you achieve in life the distance is so great that it is quite deflating. Many people are put of chasing their dreams purely because the goal they set is so big and so far away that they lose sight of it after a short time. Having a big goal is fantastic and everyone should have goals in their life if they want to live a life regret free. So go ahead set the big goals, but here is an idea that will help your journey be more enjoyable and achievable.

No matter what you big goal may be, a new job, a new life, an adventure getting rid of a debt that is weighing you down like an anchor in the sea, set some smaller goals that will help you focus on what you need to do to achieve the big goal. Think of it this way, if an olympic hurdler set off on a race and only focused on the finish line they may not get over each hurdle the way they have trained to do for years. But if every focus is 100% on the next hurdle they will nail every single hurdle perfectly and before they realizes it will be at the finish line with a great chance of winning. That is how you need to plan your big goals, with smaller and closer hurdles that you can focus on along the way.

The important thing to do when you do reach these smaller, closer goals is to celebrate them. Give yourself a small reward that will motivate you to keep going or start moving towards the next hurdle or goal. It doesn’t need to be big but the acknowledgement that you are getting closer to your bigger goals will do absolute wonders for your self esteem and confidence in what you are trying to achieve.I have found that no matter what your end goal is that you can set smaller goals, write a list or plan of things you need or need to do if you are to reach your goals, it will help you more than you could imagine. Good luck!

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

Has anything you have ever achieved in life been easy? Did you have to work, learn and sweat to make it happen? If not you are very lucky and I salute you. But if you are like most of us anything worth doing in life comes with real dedication and passion. Will it be easy, probably not. The path ahead will be full of twists and turns, potholes and dead ends. But once you reach your destination you will realize that every single bump and stumble you faced was all part and parcel of becoming the person you now are, A different person who grew without you even noticing, a person who looks at the world differently and who values the journey now more than the destination.

If you take a look over your shoulder and see the path you have taken until now you will notice many things. Life moments that defined who you are today, walls of which when you were on the other side seemed like mountains that couldn’t be climbed, but you did and you even broke through a few of them once you gained momentum. Every single one of those moments were hard and took every ounce of the person you are to overcome, but the important thing is you did overcome them and that is what you must take with you on the next part of your journey.

A new year spreads out before you. You know how quickly time passes so where do you see yourself this time next year? Do you see a year that you continued to worry about the ‘what if’s?’ Or, was it a year that you took your life by the scruff of the neck and said this will be my year, this will be the year I change my life, this will be the year that even if the destination I want to reach is beyond my current capabilities I will start moving one step at a time, because nothing worth doing is easy and nothing anyone ever accomplished was ever achieved without the decision to try. Happy New Year, I hope it is one you look back on with a smile.

The only thing a comfort zone is good for, is sleeping.

If you want to live the life you’ve always wanted it will never happen unless you push yourself into areas that are out of your comfort zone. We all get stuck in moments in our life where we are faced with a fork in the road. The fork has two directions which are made up of a) Continuing on the same path that we can see clearly ahead as being much the same as we have right now. And then there is b) A road that is less assured and will mean you pushing yourself into doing things that are not comfortable to you now. But you have to ask, “What is it in life that you want?”

For anyone who says they are happy and content where they are I applaud you and think you are very lucky. I honestly couldn’t be happier for you. If however, you have ambition, dreams and desires to have a different life then you have to make the changes that will create that new reality. I do not mean the dream where everyone is rich, as I honestly don’t think that is a true test of happiness anyway. I mean if there is something in your life you have always wanted to do like traveling, learn a language, learn an instrument, a new skill or a change in career you have to ask yourself when are you going to make it happen?

Unfortunately life rarely comes knocking on our door with a gift-wrapped life where you will have all you have ever wanted. You have to get dressed and forge out into the world, where things are uncertain and will not always go your way. In order to make those dreams a reality you have to push yourself in places that make you uncomfortable. It is in these moments, the difficult ones, where we truly find out who we are and what we truly do want out of life. Maybe once you start something you will realize that this is not what you wanted anyway.

That’s good, as it means you will not sit awake at night and wonder that horrible ‘what if?’ It means you are now ahead of the curve on knowing what you do not want. You are now in a different place in your life, a self confidence growing within you and the knowledge knowing you are closer to doing what it is in life you want, even if you don’t know what that is yet. Leave the comfort zone for sleeping and enjoy exploring the amazing person you are by realizing your potential. You at least owe it yourself to try.

It is the courage to continue that counts

Sometimes in life things can look very bleak indeed. Whether it is on the macro level of global politics, war, famine and so on; or it is on the micro level about what we are facing as individuals like financial, career and love they are all obstacles that could very easily give us an excuse to stop.

Well that would be the easy option for sure, but like the famous quote from Winston Churchill says, “Success in not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Because, there is not a single person on this world that doesn’t have at least one, of the above issues, facing them at any one point in life. It all comes down to how we manage that horrible feeling of despair when we do.

Yes it can be a dark and frightening road when the lights suddenly go out on a relationship or your bank account seems to look like a speedometer in a car rapidly going the wrong way. But retreating back into your comfort zone is not going to change the situation. It would be nice to be able to hide from a problem so it goes away, but the truth is it is going to be waiting for you once you open your eyes as we can all vouch for in our lives.

Try not to be too hard on yourself when you face an issue in your life, most experiences in life, in the long run, will make you a better and stronger person so focus on what has happened, what this means to you in the long run and then see the way out by taking the single first step towards the answer. It may take a hundred steps to get there, but at least you will be moving and that is the ultimate difference between someone who is lost and someone who is on the journey of life, faced a bump or two and is making the best out of their life, regardless what happens along the way. Having that courage to take the fist step is what will bring you success and happiness in everything you do.