I listened to a fascinating documentary today on Radio 4. That probably is a sign of my age but I am not fighting the urge to turn on Radio 4. The programme was charting the life of W.G. Grace as yesterday marked 100 years since his death. Cricket is not one of my favourite things something that has been a continuous source of disappointment for my dad. It wasn’t cricket that made me want to listen it was to learn more about the character of the man.
Clearly there were positive and negative elements of his character but what was clear was he lived life as he wanted to. In many aspects he defied the conventions including being an emotional person in the Victorian era. I was very interested to learn that he was a doctor as well as being credited as the first major sporting star.
It reminded me how difficult it is for people in the media spotlight today to be true to themselves. We can spend so much time concerned about presenting an acceptable image we may forget who we really are. This is when trouble can be ahead. We can lack authenticity and honest which becomes really obvious.
As a professional communicator, effective presentation is incredibly important to me. It is something I focus on a lot – image, brand or whatever you want to call it. But it is as important for me to ensure that honesty is at the heart of communication activity. Without that then all will be lost.
It is something I have to admire W.G. Grace for – he had an honesty about who he was and what mattered to him. Even if it caused problems and created difficulties he was prepared to be different. Let us hope that in this busy world where media and social media put people under the spotlight 24 hours a day that we can still find a way to be honest and true to ourselves.