Chilly or warm?

There is a huge buzz around the Iceland Christmas advert that was banned from broadcast because it was too political. If you have t seen it then I am sure you will be in a minority but I would recommend seeking it out.

I personally found it had great impact and took a seemingly gentle approach to a very serious subject. The terrible situation regarding palm oil and orangutans is discussed in many vegan magazines and forums. The advert itself is beautifully constructed and I confess that it brought a tear to my eye.

The big question is whether it was developed for broadcast or was a carefully constructed campaign?

It doesn’t really matter. If it had been broadcast then people would have been talking about it because it is so beautiful and stark at the same time. Although it would not have gathered the interest that it currently has.

Sharing it online is far more productive now as growing numbers of people watch on demand when they want to. If I think it important and worthwhile I can share it with people rather than just talk about it.

Of course the great thing is that it doesn’t feel like a Christmas advert which is important for me because despite my neighbours putting their decorations up today it is far from Christmas time. It is less about overt selling and more about highlighting the businesses values.

Whatever your view of the situation and if it was contrived or not it doesn’t really matter. The aim appears to have been to raise awareness of the impact palm oil has on habitat particularly of the orangutan and ultimately to make people question what they are buying and I suppose to shop where palm oil is not in products.

I love the clever approach that has definitely got people talking.

Do you agree or do you dislike the advert having a ‘good’ message that is preached?

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It’s not perfect

I adore music. It can accentuate my mood or help to change my state of mind. In such a busy and fast paced world it gives me a way to escape. I also adore singing but I do it badly at home on my own and in the car on my lengthy drives around Greater Manchester.

One song came on my playlist this morning. It was unusual, out of the ordinary and not even a serious track but the lyrics spoke to me. Let me explain.

In recent weeks I have taken to listening to audiobooks and comedy albums. They can help me escape, unwind and just have a laugh. One of these is Tim Minchin the Australian comedian who does comedy songs. But it is the track Not Perfect that connected with me on more than a surface level.

The track talks about the earth, his house, his body and his brain and states that they are not perfect but they are his. A simple message but so important. We spend our lives wanting things to be perfect and as we are heading towards Christmas this will only get more pronounced. All the advertising will be telling us to work towards a perfect Christmas. But we all know that doesn’t exist.

In the words of Tim ‘it’s not perfect but it’s mine’. All the things we have are gifts in our lives that we should be grateful for. The world is ever changing and perfection does not exist. I would recommend listening to it and listening beyond the cheap laughs.

Life isn’t perfect. We aren’t perfect. All we can do is be grateful for the good things we have.

I would love to know the songs that matter to you and particularly the more unusual ones.

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Press to Reset

Are we just running on a treadmill of our own making? Are we work obsessed? Do we have any work life balance? When I started to read David Sawyer’s book Reset: how to restart your life and get F.U. money I think I was in denial that there was a problem or that the book would be relevant to me. I was wrong.

The book made me take a critical look at where I was and what I was doing. It raised a number of issues and made me question my current approach to life. Sometimes it was quite uncomfortable as I came to a realisation through the guidance of the sections.

Reset has some great advice and pointers on how to declutter your life including a digital declutter which I know is something I really need to do. The financial elements are interesting but I am not driven by money. If I can earn enough to do what I want to outside of work and I am happy with my work then that brings a level of contentment. I am going to reread the financial sections to try and gain a clearer view of what I may need to do.

There is a lot I want to do outside of work but I still enjoy the work I do and being in the communication and PR business. My challenge is always to fit everything I want to do into 24 hours while allowing time for sleep. My mum often tells me off for doing too much but it is always because I enjoy doing the things or I am faced with a massive opportunity.

The 11 core principles were one of the most helpful and easy to take away elements of the book. If you only have a short amount of time then read that section and consider what it means for you.

I have read a lot of self help books over the years and they can be interesting but feel a world away from my life. David has managed to include elements of self reflection and self help within the familiar setting of PR and communication. We all need to look at how we are and who we are to find what David starts the book discussing and that is happiness.

It is a substantial assessment of how people can take some control of their lives and it raises interesting questions while also giving some plans and processes to try. If you are feeling a little lost in your career in your midlife at work then this may be able to help you find your way out or your way forward.

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Reflections on blogtober

I am nearing the end of my #blogtober challenge and it has been a busy and interesting month. It hasn’t been particularly hard to write a blog every day and I have never been short of a subject to discuss.

It has reminded me that I love writing. It is a real passion and what I have always wanted to do as a job. Blogging is great and I really enjoy it but perhaps I need to take things one step further. I have lots of ideas in my head and I hope to move ahead with some of them.

There is something important in the discipline of setting a task or a challenge and then seeing it through. If I put my mind to do something then I will achieve it as I have the commitment and determination. I often forget how single-minded I can be. It can be a huge positive in my life if I maximise it.

I recognise that because of the work I do I can often focus on the negative and darker parts of life. I would never ignore that side because it is part of life but it helps me to look at the good things and the things I am grateful for.

My blogs are honest and from the heart and I hope that comes across. I write about what affects me or those around me and I do it with an openness. It has included facing some challenging truths about my life and work. I have written about the emotional parts of my life, the impact of my thought patterns and the importance of a strong support network.

Above all I have been so grateful for all the interaction and comments that I have had about the blogs throughout October. The comments and engagement have been amazing and have made it all worthwhile. I have one #blogtober blog left for tomorrow which I will save for a discussion linked to the #powerandinfluence Twitterchat tomorrow night. But for tonight a huge thank you for being part of my #blogtober experience.

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Winter blues

This is the first night that really feels like winter. The darkness arrived early and with the cold biting the summer seems like a distant memory. As I was walking home I felt like the only person out and about as the curtains were shut and the heating was on.

It is a difficult time of year when we can feel isolated and even a little down with cold weather and an absence of sun. It is a long time until Christmas and we have the winter to battle through before the buds of spring.

So how can we manage to keep positive and cheery to navigate through winter?

The key for me is to enjoy the time at home by doing things that I enjoy like sketching or even needlepoint. I have the time to cosy up and get to use the time productively. In the past I have even done some on line study through winter.

You can help by being kind to yourself. Make sure you are having wholesome and warming food. Ensure you keep warm with the right clothes.

Book outings and events. This will give you something to look forward to and plan towards. At the moment I have a few concerts planned and I have just booked on a spring retreat which will be amazing. It is great to have some things to focus on.

If you have the winter blues or feel them coming on try to do some of the things I have mentioned and let me know if you feel better.

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Patience and time

Trust is such an important part of life. Without it we will face an isolated existence in our little bubble away from society. After all why would we want to engage with others when they cannot be trusted?

We all have faced times when we have trusted someone and they have let us down. It leaves us upset and probably vowing not to trust anyone again. It is understandable but when we do trust and develop a relationships the rewards are immense.

I spent quite a bit of time tonight sitting next to my little rescue rabbit Digger. He came to us just over a year ago and had been through a traumatic start to his life. Building a bond with him was problematic. He didn’t want to trust anyone because he had been hurt before. It has taken a lot of time, patience and compassion for us to get to where we are now. But we can take steps backwards if something upsets him or there is some inconsistent behaviour.

Digger is no different to anyone who has been hurt or upset. It is the same for us in our lives we want some consistency and understanding at home and work.

For professional communicators trust is a very important concept. Brands that can be trusted will thrive as people have confidence in them. They will have a strong reputation that people buy into and want to be part of. People will want to do business with brands they trust.

How do you build trust? To start with you need honesty and integrity. You need to be consistent with whatever you stand for and show that you maintain things even when under pressure. Above all you need to have patience and time to build trust slowly over a number of years.

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Tolerance and respect

It is hard to watch day after day the violence and hate of acts that are covered on the news. Today we have seen an horrific attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh which has left 11 people dead and many more injured. It makes me so sad to think of those people and their families who have been caught up in this terrifying incident.

We have to be strong against people who want to divide communities and spread hate. We can’t let these people impact on our lives and make us fearful. Fear is incredibly negative and damaging.

Yesterday a violent act happened in my home town and it was shocking that this could happen in such a quiet place. But it didn’t make me scared as I refuse to let the violence in life cloud my views. I do understand why other people may be fearful or concerned about violence in our communities.

The most important thing for us all to do is to spread a message of love and tolerance. We can show consideration even with those people we may disagree with and be respectful. And all this has to start in a schools with young people so they grow up with tolerance.

There will always be people who peddle hate as there has always been in the past. The important thing for 2018 is that they are isolated and marginalised within society. Let us all focus on love not fear and talk of tolerance and respect.

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