Happy New Year!
It seems as though the frequency of my blog posts are on a yearly cycle. I have all the best intentions to update regularly and even though I put ideas aside it just doesn’t seem to happen any sooner. Maybe it’s because around this time of year I feel truly reflective and want to capture the essence of what I’m feeling and going through, not only for myself but more recently for those around me who are encouraging me to be the best that I can be or those that need a little inspiration to do something different for themselves.
One year ago… I started a new adventure.
Some would say, call a spade a spade and say you started a new job but I deliberately call this an adventure because for the first time in maybe my whole career the hard work doesn’t tire me, the creativity isn’t forced, the people are my kind of people and this ‘job’ has shown me more of the world and given me more opportunity to be a marketeer than anything before. I also know myself… I know that if I call what I do ‘a job’ then it’s easy to fall into the trap of disliking it and sitting around with people and complaining about it. No one ever complained about an adventure and eventually a job will finish, an adventure still has may paths to discover, and as some of you who follow me closely know this last year has definitely been a journey.
How sure are you about making the right choice?
I made a choice to not pursue a career with a global ‘fruit based’ company for a company I’d not heard of before. On paper I should have gone to this other company for a couple of years and after that be able to walk into any company I want! Many, including my current bosses told me that I should take this opportunity and I myself at first didn’t know which way to turn.
Over time in these emotional and life changing moments and decisions I’ve become better at getting to the ‘right’ choice for me. I ask myself key questions which put emotion on the back burner and allow myself to think logically….
Where am I today?
What’s important to me?
What are the things in my lifestyle and personal life that I want to keep and what am I happy to change?
In this new company what is it that would work for me, what is my compromise?
Where do I want to be in the short future, mid-future (3 Years) and long term?
What are the little things that matter to me that may seem odd to others but really make a difference to me?
All the above written down on paper (which is a must) allow me to view my world and my choice on one page and look at it like a jigsaw puzzle. Then once you’ve decided on the key things that are important and that you need you can pump all your emotion back in to getting that. This focus is the key driver to committing to a purpose. You wont know what the ‘right’ choice is until you review all the choices, debate with yourself about what you truly want and then you’ll know what the ‘right choice; is.
You may say there is no right choice and I’d agree to some extent but We are our choices and when we do something that we believe in, that drives our journey and we decide this is what we want then when you look back on it a year later you know it was the Right Choice for YOU!
By making the choice based on my planning, vision of a life for me and my family, I went with the company I didn’t know because I reviewed everything they had to offer, matched it against my goals and I have never looked back since.
Concrete Jungles Where Dreams Are Made Of!
I recently tried to update my LinkedIn page with all the cool things I’ve done in my first year at The GSMA and the list was too long. To say I’ve delivered more projects in one year across the world than I have in the last 5 years of my career wouldn’t be a miscalculation. In summary here are my key highlights:
- Delivering a brand awareness campaign in my first 6 weeks at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to 94,000 people.
- Hosting Global Service Providers such as Unilever, Coco-Cola, Visa at a Summit in Dubai – Twice!
- Creating over 15 creative videos for use across the industry.
- Mobile World Congress Shanghai
- Project managing 9 events in 3 days from scratch in Times Square – New York City – the first time the company has done anything like that
- Barcelona Photoshoot for a new global brand campaign that will be used this year in Mobile World Congres and beyond.
- Being invited to Sync Week – the top 100 people in the company
And this is just the huge milestones….
When I look back at what I’ve achieved this year I ask myself how and why this happened? Am I just lucky?
I believe you make your own luck, I choose to do certain things that allow me to stand out and define myself (big or small) and as a result you find people and opportunities come your way.
What are those things? Well a couple of examples are:
being consistent – are you saying something but then your actions do something else?
Being a team player – are you thinking about others? Are you present at social events? When you get a biscuit for you are you picking one up for them?
Being supportive – do those around you not only in your team at work but also those in your personal life know what they mean to you and that you are there to support them? Don’t assume they know.
Pick your battles – you can’t do everything all the time so choose what is most effective, what is adding to your overall goal and when is the most effective time to do something. If you know there is a challenge in your team and people are stressed about something then maybe this is not the best time to tell them about your holiday or the project you just finished.
Being positive – think about your language. Are you using ‘No’ a lot? Before you press send re-read your email. Could you phrase it better? In a more positive manner?
By doing small things all the time people see you as reliable, dependable and someone they want on their team. This way opportunities you never had though about come your way.
In Shanghai a friend and mentor of mine (who is also one of my directors) said ‘you’re doing great work and now you need to define yourself. You need to find that ‘thing’ that people will remember you for.’
At that time the New York project was just an idea. I saw it as an opportunity to make that my ‘thing’ so I set myself a target to deliver this whole project in 3 months. I dreamt and visualised every step, every experience that someone would go though and as a result delivered a very successful week. By being focused, know what the end goal is those around me were drawn in, wanted to share that dream and collectively we delivered something quite special. This is now my ‘Thing’.
It was a dream at first that I’d be globe-trotting and doing marketing and events in places like New York and in the last year it became a reality. I guess in cities like London, New York and Shanghai it’s easy to dream a bit bigger.
Dare to dream and be a better version of yourself everyday wholeheartedly and you’ll be amazed at where you get to.
A Pocket Full Of Dreams…
One of the experiences I had this year was a good example of how, over time, I’ve been incorporating my personal life into my work and visa versa. We spend a lot of time at work and if we can make it enjoyable then the days go quicker and you have more fun along the way.
The Company CMO challenged us at a marketing away day to be ‘the best marketeers’ in the industry and to push the boundaries of our imagination.
I needed to think of innovative ways to start a keynote session in Barcelona as a lot of people use PowerPoint slides, music or videos and we needed something different.
One of the things I do daily on the way to work is watch a TED video (TED.com) and Sarah Kay is my favourite spoken word poet. I woke one morning thinking how amazing would it be if I got Sarah to open our session. So I tracked down her agent and found out if it was possible. Availability and budget became an issue and the idea was put on the back burner whilst I went to New York.
In the brief to the agent I showed him my vision and my reason. If you share your goals you’ll find that others will go out of their way to help you achieve them. In the background this agent was looking through this clients and other people he knew to try and find me someone. When I got back to London he sent me details of Marshall D Jones and within 30 seconds of watching his performance is knew he was a better choice than Sarah for this project.
By allowing me to blend my two world’s I will be able to bring something new and that will allow me to define myself better and also do something extremely fun in writing the spoken word poem.
Who’s your soundboard?
It’s really important that once you make your mind up about something you share it. In the past I’ve been so sure about something and as soon as I go to implement it I chicken out or it doesn’t go to plan because it was in my head and I hadn’t considered all the angles.
Not only surround yourself with positive and influential people but soundboard your ideas at different times with different people.
Annually – I meet up with friends and look back and then talk about the future and input suggestions or ideas.
Quarterly – I very fortunate to have a life coach who mentors me though my journey so we talk often. Remember that our parents have always been our life coaches so go to them first.
Monthly – having made key connections with peers and directors I occasionally go for lunch or a coffee with people and talk abouy what’s going on see how they would approch it and input good ideas
Weekly – if your religious or spiritual I find talking to the universe or God really helps you put things out but also embed them within
Daily – my best friend and wife is the most important person in my life and therefore has my best interests at heart. This advice and support is extreme valuable. Also remember that in a partnership you have to consider both journeys and if your not sharing your vision they can not help you.
And finally…probably until next year
This year has shown me that if you plan, dream big and surround yourself with good people you can grow, develop and find yourself in situations that you’d never expect yourself to be in and have a lot of fun along the way.
Happy new year and happy new journey.
Remember – I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou