Why I’m Walking for Lifehouse

A healthy life not utilised, is wasted. 

Unhealthy is much more fun…

Until you’ve heard the words ‘It’s cancer’ from the mouths of family or friends.

Then healthy becomes the only thing you care about.

Three out of the five members of my immediate family have survived The Big C.

Selfishly, I’m doing the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse 28km Walk with Lifehouse Coastal Trek later this month because I’m an inaugural member of an amazing group of humans called Lyndal’s Pink Gems who also share a tenuous relationship with Cancer.

We’ve been ‘in training’ now for a couple of months (in between life’s many distractions).

We’re hoping to complete the course in about 5 hours or so, but we’re not as interested in time taken, as we are in time spent. Together.

My team: Lyndal’s Pink Gems

Captains extraordinaire Christie and JA will ensure everyone is together and supported as needs arise.

Jodie’s handbag will contain the essentials, and while a few will be orienting themselves with a camelbak for the first time, all will be focused on propelling each other towards successful conquering of an unknown terrain with a smile and a strong sense of purpose.

Much like everyone’s journey with The Big C.

We won’t have our wonderful support crew by our side on this particular venture, but we will have each other and that means more wonderful and memorable moments made and shared.

We do have 28 kilometres of Royal National Park to cover afterall!

Warning: This is where I ask you for your loose change

So….if you are able to support an amazing group of humans at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse treat people, not just cancer, please help us raise funds by DONATING HERE 

Every dollar makes sense.

It’s time to re-think your approach to Social.

I spent a day with some of the brightest young minds in advertising last week.

The similarities

All were fabulous, capable, intelligent, hard-working ‘go-getters’. All were running some of the better social media campaigns in Australia.

Some were from boutique agencies doing really cool stuff, others had evolved to freelancers, some were in-house marketers, while others were clinging lovingly to the structural ropes at some of Australia’s biggest agencies.

All were social coordinators, social leaders, the agencies’ ‘social experts’.

Yet, throughout the course of the day, I felt myself go through all the stages of grief.

I took the next day off to get my head back into production mode and (as luck would have it) I was surrounded by social marketing and social media practitioners who also shattered my new media soul into a thousand pieces when they started telling me How2 Social through buzz phrases, which included (but painfully was not limited to) ‘personal brand’ in the same breath as ‘authenticity’ and ‘social measurement’ as Facebook metrics.

Over two separate days in two completely different environments, my grief was confounded.

Why?

In the short space of two days, it became abundantly clear that current practice is merely a hybrid of the platform ‘certified’ sales pitches. A regurgitation and adaption of the papers we were writing and the presentations we were giving back in 2012…

OVER FIVE YEARS AGO!

(and yes, I know I’m screaming, but seriously…?!)

Discussions around social media have traditionally been driven by the available technology, or social community management issues that have arisen through the event of participation.

Traditionally, advertising and media agencies have worked behind a thin veil of creative agency presenting ‘the solution’ as the requisite bridge between product/ sterile company and desired consumer.

Sadly however, a large percentage of Advertising, PR, Communications and Media Agencies are entrenched in outdated business practice when it comes to production for and distribution on social.

If these company representatives are anything to go by, even the agencies who have re-badged their Art Director to Creative Lead are missing the point somewhat entirely!

This only compounds my grief as Australian agencies should be leading the global creative charge in this space (and no don’t point me to the self-congratulatory industry statues corporations spend millions to win each year).

Creatives have the opportunity to lead, rather than dwell.

Directors have the opportunity to integrate and showcase, rather than merely direct traffic.

Oh.. and to the Preditors (the hybrid being that is both producer and editor) let’s make a concerted effort to lose the jargon.

It’s not about what you call yourself, it’s what you say and do that drives impact.

Inside Out

This morning I was officially Inside Out.

I’d managed to get Mini Me dressed and fed. Do my own hair and makeup (not always a given these days), answer some new client enquiries, get casually caffeinated and have a smiling child at school drop off.

I was feeling very proud of my calm yet productive morning routine when I realised…

…my dress was inside out!

When the teacher at school told me my dress was inside out, I simply shrugged.

“I guess that sums up my morning’ I said proud of myself for getting a lot of stuff done so early, but knowing I’d also tried to do too much.

Too much?

Yes. Too much to be able to get the basics right.

Irrespective of how many self-help, time-management, efficiency reviews we undertake the baseline comms is always: make a list, prioritise that list and tick things off as you go.

If you work in ‘corporate’ certain dress codes are expected to be maintained. Something, sadly nurtured through business schools the world over and reiterated by the marketplace hellbent on maintaining ‘best practice’ norms.

Yes that’s right gentlemen, you will not be able to present professionally without your 20th century noose, sorry I mean silk tie.

Best practice has meant conditioning ourselves and our peers into roles. Roles for which we are not always best suited for the simple reason that throughout the course of the days, weeks, months and years our ability to ‘do’ ebbs and flows.

This is neither a criticism nor a fact. Merely an observation that ‘life’ kicks through at variant speeds.

Like the seas, we too are impacted by the conditions of the world around us – be it naturally occurring phenomenon or man-made and shrouded in company policy/ community norms.

People’s gut response to a quick glimpse at my list is (rightfully) incredulously laughter.

And that pretty much sums up life.

Just when we think we’ve got it together, we realise we’re still toddler-like in our silent struggle to get the basics right.

More often than not, we’re Inside Out and (when brave enough to admit it Upside Down.

Life – at the best of times – is nothing short of crazy.

That’s our fault.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to be these dynamic ‘dooers’ of ‘stuff’ – whether for ourselves or by corporate command.

We actually pride (and dare I say define) ourselves by the stuff we (and others) do.

We can’t help ourselves and (sub)consciously rate our (and others) success and failure on the ‘stuff’ we ‘do’.

Why is that?

Today’s lesson: Get Inside Out more often.

Why? By acknowledging that I was inside out, I was able to take the time to stop and breathe.

This enabled me to laugh (releasing much-needed healing pheromones), centre and refocus my efforts for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

Say No, Think Know

When you find yourself on the treadmill of life, finding the time to stop and reflect is elusive at best.

More often than not, it’s only the bone-crunching tackle that ‘Life’ blindsides us with that throws us into a lumpy, tangled mess and makes us STOP before taking a good hard look at and around ourselves.

Our physiological core –  we have to exercise, stabilise, celebrate and show it off every now and then.

Our emotional core – arguably our most important and directive – requires consistency and commitment to ensure contribution.

Because only then, are we able to confidently and consistently enhance and enable those around us.

Why?

Our brains and our hearts comprise a core where all the things that complement, enhance function.

Looking after ourselves, so we complement our communities (blood and others) in our everyday disposition, actions, outputs and impacts is our role.

However, with all the tricks and traits of a modern, tech-savvy society we get distracted. Repeatedly and Unashamedly.

So when are we going to stop swivelling from distraction to distraction and instead focus on genuine and organic human evolution?

We need to feed our brain the questions and information it craves…

Hasn’t it dined out on the sexual exploits of the likes of the Trash-dashians for long enough?

When are we going to face up to the vacuous, plastic-fantastic mediated realm we’ve adopted as our ideal over time and re-focus our daily intent towards growing our contributions to ourselves and our communities?

Sadly, we’re not. Not anytime soon.

However, imagine if we did…

Imagine just for one moment if we stood up collectively and said ‘No’ (while thinking ‘Know’).

How fabulous would THAT world –  created in independent thinking and unique knowledge pods of life’s experiences – look, sound and feel…

Genuine and Innovative is my guess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Email the Darth Vader of Modern Business Communications?

In a world where instant communications and engagement is rapidly becoming the norm, email is taking on all the traits of a dark lord in the making.

Electronic mail (e-mail) started out as a powerful and useful tool that brought speed and (for the most part) brevity to industrial and corporate communications. However, it is rapidly transforming into the disgruntled Jedi of communications.

Email is a dark art in workplace solutions. A habitual norm. Administratively heavy, it sucks precious time and resources from your everyday.

and yet… for all its operational inefficiencies it still seems to work for the majority.

Mobility has ensured access to the dark lord of ICT communications. Smartphones have ensured access to webmail a standard… in effect minimising the mobile digital divide, by giving cross-generational comfort on these new platforms and devices.

In this form, email is the connector. The access point for new media platforms and devices.

Convergence can only occur where comfort resides.

For the first decade of ‘social’ it has been email, but what’s next…? 

What’s able to fill the void? Is SMS or IM enough? or is non-regulation the biggest obstacle here…?

Non-regulation, poor regulation and the non-specific zones of the internet environment are our biggest foes.

Not just for business, but for governments and citizens as well.

There are no robust legal structures in place that currently nurture nor protect the individual online, let alone small business.

In over a decade there has been very little movement towards reform as monetising the internet remains the priority.

LinkedIn – the largest professional network where people have been putting their personal information for free for the last decade is now owned by a multinational corporation in Microsoft.

I find it strange that no one is questioning the personal cost of such a merger… perhaps for the majority of us, we’re not switching on to the reality of the evolution of the social networking platform that profiled, connected and enabled market transfers in human terms…. at what cost are we willing to earn a buck?

Let’s hope someday in the not too distant future we all start thinking about and directly addressing the cost of how we ‘settle’ the wild west of the internet.

What are we really willing to relinquish in order to earn a buck?

If so, what is the true cost to the individual, team or organisation… society?

Sadly, it’s a question very few are willing to articulate, let alone address with a view to answering

Why?

Because in order to do so, we’d have to acknowledge and address not only email as the Dark Lord of the internet, but the deeper, now embedded commercial practices of digital decadence and the new norm of dumbing down and relaxing acceptable standards of entertainment, operations and performance.

Let’s stop being happy with average and strive for great and the impossible again.

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Ads

In the US Super Bowl advertising can make and break careers.

In the UK, the advertising heavyweights concentrate their efforts (and a large percentage of spend) on Christmas.

This year Marks & Spencer (or M&S as it is more commonly referred) released their contribution to the corporate advertising ‘Christmas cheer’… and it’s an absolute winner.

Not only is it beautifully shot, its originality is decidedly refreshing… and VERY clever.

Don’t take my word for it though, judge for yourselves… and enjoy:

#UrWelcome