FEAR OF BECOMING IRRELEVANT

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Yesterday I attended the June edition of CreativeMornings with Emma Gannon as the June guest of note!

Emma Gannon (@Emmagannon), says she can’t describe what she does in one sentence and in her words ‘that’s kind of the point’. Emma’s a blogger, a daughter, an instagrammer, a novelist, a podcaster, a marketer, a coffee-lover…you get the point. Emma is many things. “Why tick a box that says I’m this one thing when I can tick all of the boxes and be all of the things” (I paraphrase, a bit).

We’re movers & shakers, doers and think-laters, judgmental and heavily – opinionated. We are frustrated by a system or an expectation, rather, that tells us we must be one thing and one alone. As goes the age-old question, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?‘ – we could be here for a while, the voice of Emma echoes.

We want it all and we want it now. We’re creators, adapters, constantly shifting from one platform to the next without blinking. But, there is one thing we fear most – becoming irrelevant.

This led the topic of Emma’s discussion and rightly so.

As a generation growing up in a time of constant change we are the epitome of adapt or die. In 2017, if you don’t have a voice online, you don’t have a voice.

Maybe Instagram is your thing or perhaps you’re a lover of the opinionated ‘ole tweet or perchance, you’re like me, and you still think LinkedIn is the bee’s knees.

We all, whether we have consciously acknowledged it or not, represent ourselves online in one way or another. For all of us, there is at least one (maybe more) online space where we show off who we are, what we’re about and what we do.

Whatever it is, it’s how people – people who don’t yet know us well – perceive us, which is why we put so much time and care into curating this content. It’s an expression of ourselves, this is our creativity – at least one form of it anyway.

Getting back to Emma’s talk – she spoke about her time as a Manager in a marketing agency, of which hiring staff was part of her role. “As an employer now, what’s the first thing you do when you get a CV? Toss it to one side and start stalking the applicant online!”.

In my opinion (there goes the millennial again), CVs are kind of rubbish. In a society where everyone (!!) has Facebook the ancient tradition (my word, not Emma’s) of writing a CV is outdated, unhelpful and generally disheartening to both parties – god forbid, you were only in your last role for 10 months (god damn, why didn’t I stay for a year?!). As a twenty- something writing a CV is possibly one of the most frustrating ways to spend your time… okay so on paper I have technically only had one ‘job’ (in the prehistoric sense of a 9-5 job) but I also manage three Facebook pages, run multiple events throughout the year, contribute to the local newspaper, am co-founder of start-up, and occasionally decide that sleeping has become necessary… yep, that is the life of the 2017 twenty-something.

We’ve constantly got 101 things going on and it’s bloody brilliant. We love it, we’re all about it but when it comes to putting pen to paper (who am I kidding, people don’t do that anymore) writing a CV is somewhat challenging.

So, what do we do?! We blog, tweet, snap, share, comment, like, create, curate, post, vlog and…upload.

Final note – according to Emma, 84% of the jobs Gen Z (born 1995 – 2009) will do have not yet been created…how incredible is that?!

Emma’s written a book called ‘Ctlr, Alt; Delete: How I Grew Up Online’ – after yesterday’s talk it’s definitely one I’m adding to my reading list.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

You want power OR influence – can’t I have both?

Jan 10, 2017

What makes you feel powerful? When was the last time you felt powerless? Is there a difference between power and influence?

Until tonight, I believed power to be about the ability to shape, direct & influence the behaviours of others. And perhaps to a certain extend that is still valid. Tonight, however, I was challenged to pull apart this belief. Is power a feeling, a state of mind? Is it the way one holds themselves? The confidence they ooze? Can anyone be powerful? Is power continuous or it is expressed in single acts?

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Tonight I had the tremendous privilege of attending The Quarter Club’s first 2017 event at The Vaults Theatre in Waterloo. Here are some of the highlights from the night:

Ayesha Hazarika – MBE, Political Commentator and Comedian

Discussing her frustrations in parliament, Ayesha Hazarika recalled many times her ideas, her opinions and her beliefs were shut down by the overwhelming majority of males in the room with “one set of experiences” to bring to the table.

  • “Power is never going to be given to you. You have to take it”
  • “I have tights older than half the men in this boardroom!”
  • “Expect people to pull you down”

Pip Jamieson – Founder of The Dots

Pip Jamieson shared the challenges she faced when taking her business global. In a short six years The Dots (Australia) connected over 180,000 users to new job opportunities, with over 11,000 companies registered on the site. Taking The Dotsglobal meant starting from the beginning again. In a short 2 years there are over 3, 800 businesses across the UK registered with the site.

  • “When everyone thinks the same, our creative output is exactly the same!”
  • “I’ve been really guilt of trying to do fucking everything”
  • “Introspection is really important”

Priyanga Burford – Actress & Writer

It was Pri Buford who really challenged my ideas on power through explaining her understanding to be that power is in an act of which we are all capable. True connection was the thread throughout her brilliant talk, of which she spoke about the power of a kind act without an agenda, without a motive.

  • “Nobody understanding winning like a loser”
  • “Emily Dickinson really nailed it when she said, ‘celebrity is the chastisement of merit and the punishment of talent'”
  • “Power is slow…like a tree root. You can plant an idea and it strides out into the world fully grown. That is power”

“Share stories. Plant seeds. Bring people with you.”

Carly-Jayne (CJ) Hutchinson – Focus E15 Collaborator & Political theatre maker

CJ is a compelling storyteller. She spoke about the power of a narrative and the ability to shape a story the way you desire, the way you believe it should be. From skewed views in the media, to Hollywood films, CJ’s talk discussed the power of our storytellers – directors, journalists, bloggers, vloggers, novelists, screen writers – the power of these individuals to influence the ‘norms’ and expectations of society.

  • “Create your own narrative, own your own story”

Bella Younger – Comedian & Writer 

Bella Younger spoke about society’s obsession with perfection, particularly on Instagram. She challenged the validation so many of us seek on a daily basis. Read this sentence out loud and then think about why you do this: I use an application to alter images I have taken before I share them with friends and family. Why do we do this? And for whose benefit?

  • “Why are you always on a beach?”
  • Everyone is instagramming the night out, not the hangover the next day. The perfect holiday, not the delayed flight”
  • “If we continue to expect perfection from women we will continue to deliver it”
  • “I reckon even Beyonce gets the shits”

Simran Hans – Film Curator & Critic

Simran Hans spoke about the ‘Shine Theory’. A concept of which I had never heard of before. The idea, coined by Ann Friedman, is that one should befriend women of whom you admire but perhaps at first are intimidated by. Essentially, we should be pulling each other up instead of tearing each other down.

The Quarter Club’s future events can be found on their website.

#TubeStrike a missed opportunity for brands?

Jan 9th, 2017

Safe to say that this morning was chaos, with one Londoner comparing her journey to the final scenes of Titanic…

While others felt some hard hitting problems…

However, one clever commuter had the right idea.

What an opportunity!

I’m sure most reading this have already experienced the hassle from friends insisting you use their #UberEats or #Uber code. You think, ‘wow, how generous that they want to share their discount code!‘ Of course, there is more to it. For those of you reading this who have not downloaded Uber, every time someone uses your discount code you too, are rewarded with a discount – a very clever model to build both brand loyalty and to incentivise Uber’s users to create brand awareness through word of mouth.

Uber’s largest competitors are Kabbee, Lyft & Hailo – none of whom took to Twitter this morning to join the conversation of over 8 million Londoners stuck in a gridlock of buses. Surely, this is the ideal opportunity to, one, be part of the conversation and, two, to offer an alternative. Waterloo Car Service (@Waterloocars) tweeted:

While minimal, this tweet shows understanding, relevance and care for their customers – something Uber, Kabbee, Lyft and Hailo have not achieved this morning. Uber already have the discount codes in place. Perhaps they could have made an impact this morning creating a #TubeStrike specific code for all new users, introducing them to the wonder of #Uberpool (I am clearly a huge advocate for car sharing!). Instead they posted just one tweet last night:

This mornings #TubeStrike was a great opportunity for brands to show there personality, with innocent and Weatherspoons two stand outs for me.

Weatherspoon’s and innocent have very different brand personality’s, but in their own way, have this morning well and truly been part of the conversation creating relevant and creative content to further their brand image.

fail fail fail, i promise it’s good for you.

“The Paradox of excellence is that is it build upon the foundations of necessary failure”

The idea that we are born with talent or predisposed to excel in a particular field, is, in my humble opinion, complete rubbish.

I was recently recommended Matthew Syed’s Bounce, a book about the ‘myth of talent and the power of practice’. I will first off say that before reading Bounce I held the belief that we are a product of our environment (Obvs, right?!)

HARD WORK + DETERMINATION = SUCCESS 

However, Syed’s Bounce somewhat stumped me. It is so ingrained in our culture that prodigies like Mozart, Tiger Woods, Vanessa and Serena Williams were born with talent, that I had never questioned it. Of course, I anticipate that they went through some sort of training program with coaches and nutritionists and mentors, but until reading Bounce I hadn’t acknowledged just how fixed my mindset had become.

Syed explains that while many presume Mozart’s creative genius and superior skill was predisposed, Mozart actually banked up around 3,500 hours of meaningful practice by age 6 (?!!). Seems a little more justified, right? Spend over 3,500 hours practicing any one skill and tell me you’re still an amateur…not likely!

For those who are not convinced (and for those who are already on the power of practice bandwagon), I highly recommend you take some time to read Bounce in full. Discussing stereotypes, the ability of parents to influence their child’s success in a particular field, the power of words, the need to constantly test and challenge yourself and the notion that failure is imperative to success are just a few of the ideologies explored in Syed’s book.

“Every endeavour pursued with passion produces a successful outcome regardless of the result.” (Nick Bollettieri)

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