How much time do you waste worrying about nothing?

Maybe I am different, maybe it’s just the way my mind works or maybe everyone is like me but they manage to hide it better. In my career as a Regional Creative Director and other management positions much of my time has been spent helping individuals through the process of their daily challenges with a particular project or task. Often the work related issues we started with seemed to always drift away from the project and I found myself delving into the minds of people, with the strange feeling of my role becoming one of a psychiatrist.

A lack of confidence, problems not even related to the job at hand like bills to pay or trouble at home or even insecurities from people that exuded self-confidence on the outside, but seemed to be an outer shell as fragile as an egg. I always enjoyed encouraging, helping or offering advice but one of the topics I have heard myself say more than most others is ‘what is the point of worrying about it now?’

Every time I said this statement I could almost hear the person inside me screaming, ‘If only you would listen to yourself!’ because I have and still do spend a lot of time worrying about the next presentation, the next bill, the thought there will be a crowd at the restaurant, museum or bar we are visiting. In fact my mind seems to go into overdrive about everything regardless of the size of the task that lies ahead of me.

I know I overthink pretty much everything; this is just the person I am, and that is half the battle. I over analyse every conversation and can spend days after a discussion that I have had with one person, going over every word and trying to understand if there were more meaning that I had misinterpreted or there was a hidden message in what that person said. Don’t get me started about the complexity of thoughts that happen when reviewing emails! Emails are so often misunderstood due to the lack of awareness you have about the tone of the individual writing and also the current mood you are in when receiving the email.

I know I am not alone in this, as I have seen this so often throughout my career with people who were incredibly talented and seemed to be in total control. But how many times have you spent worrying about a presentation, meeting, task, project or whatever only to get to the point of it happening and it not being such a big deal? The amount of stress and worry that we put ourselves under is amazing and clearly not healthy.

The only way I have found to deal with worrying about every little detail is to push myself into more challenging positions well as adding as much work to my schedule as I can possibly handle, so my mind stays focused on the next task at hand and doesn’t go walk about in Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of nightmarish thoughts about what could go wrong!

I know how destructive this can be as well as how this manifests into all areas of my life. Worrying about something doesn’t make it easier and certainly doesn’t help you think clearly about what lies ahead of you, it really is just a waste of time. I’ll try to keep that in mind!

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Change, there’s no time like the present

I recently spoke to a friend who was asking me what it was like traveling the world and did I regret leaving the UK when I did. I asked him why he was asking the question, as we talk all the time and I sensed there was something behind the need to ask me. He told me that he was thinking of traveling for work and just wanted to know my thoughts about the subject.

The truth is I left England when I was 23, worked in Paris and Amsterdam before moving to the Middle East. I have worked all over the Middle East and had some incredible experiences along the way. I told my friend that I always knew that at any time I wanted, I could go back. In fact the first year away I kept my return ticket pinned to a notice board in my office. I had good and bad experiences of course, but every single one changed me as a person, a change that has helped me be the person I am today, and I can still always go back. But the truth is I just want to keep exploring.

I told my friend this and there was a pause. I asked him, “What do you expect to change in the coming year that will help you decide to try something new?” He told me quickly, “Nothing!” So I just said to him, “Then there is no time like the present to change your life if the worst that can happen is that you are in the same position next year you are in now back at home?” I continued, “But, the difference being, you will have experienced something that will change you for the better, forever!”

I hope he tries something different, even if it is not traveling around the world. After all change always cleanses the soul and gives you a fresh look on where you are and where you are going, I know, I have experienced it first hand, many times!

A positive change in my career

Well I am officially moving into my new position as we speak. I am moving from my head creative role in Y&R (Young and Rubicam) in Abu Dhabi into another WPP company, and I have to say I am very happy today! The company will be called Intermarkets|VML and I am going to be the Regional Creative Director & Digital Strategic Director for the Middle East. It’s quite a mouthful really. Intermarkets is one of the oldest advertising groups in the Middle East and VML is one of the leading global online marketing companies of which I will be liaising between the Global team and the Middle East.

I also am very excited about something else I am working on which, if, no when, it works will be a dream come true so I will be announcing that here first in about 1 months time. I have had many lows in my career and I dare say it will not always be smooth sailing in the future,but just for today, well, while I drink my coffee I will enjoy this moment 🙂 Have a creative day!

Insecurities can stop you in your tracks

Faith in yourself is the biggest test you will ever face. You can believe in anything you want but if you do not believe in yourself then you will always struggle to overcome the insecurities that constantly hold you back. Imagine you are in the water swimming along happily and suddenly you start worrying if your stroke is correct. Your arms suddenly feel heavy, you are conscious of your legs kicking against the water and you realize that you are not moving forward as swiftly and smoothly as you were before.

The insecurities are weighing you down, even though you were swimming confidently before. Gradually if you listen to the insecurities they will stop you moving forward and slowly pull you under into the murky realm of doubt. Try instead focus on your destination or goal. Imagine yourself there enjoying the achievement you have undertaken and feel yourself suddenly gliding through the water as if it were not even there. No resistance holding you back. We often over analyze ourselves to the point it holds us back. Believe in yourself and you will overcome any challenge that lies ahead.