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There are no shoulds in this room: How "should" equals 'could' + shame

I’ve got a personal vendetta against the word “should”. It’s a shame word, a guilt word. And an unnecessary one.  I started this change over six years ago. I’d never loved the word, but there was a final kicker when my dad was terminal, and on hospice.  It had been a long road, as cancer often is: he’d tried all the medicines and tablets and even some of the research opportunities, and for several years every time I visited him in America I knew that time might be the last ...

July 24, 2021

Swearing in marketing (a brand decision)

As we keep hearing about being “real” and “authentic” in marketing, and being “more human” in the content we create and share, we have to have the swearing conversation.  Swearing has historically been considered “unprofessional”. Along with tattoos, drinking (alcohol, obvs) during working hours, and comfortable clothes which are unstarched and without collars or ties or jackets.  And yet if the past year or two have shown us anything, it’s that we can - all of us, fr...

July 10, 2021

Only take in that which makes you stronger

Last week I was talking to one of our new PF team members about what she’s been learning, even in her first few weeks with us, about the PF culture.  As a team we’ve been reading “No Rules Rules”, about the Netflix culture and how they’ve maintained it through a period of rapid and highly innovative growth. We chose this book because PF, too, has been growing rapidly - not quite at Netflix levels, but for us it’s significant. We’ve nearly doubled the size of the team in the pa...

June 26, 2021

Going entirely off sugar (and how it's not impossible)

A few years ago I cut sugar out of my diet entirely.  I remember the day I decided. I stood on a scale in my bathroom, me and only me, and stared at the number that stared back with its digital seriousness.  199.2 pounds. I’d always been thin - even “skinny”, when I was growing up. I look at pictures now and realise what my grandparents meant when they said “We need to fatten you up!” and I laughed at the idea but now realise that seeing my collarbones meant something. ...

June 21, 2021

Keep going...and the breakthrough may not look like you expect

We are not yet “post pandemic”.  Yes, most of us can…. do things now. Visit places which were closed before. See people live and in person. Go to restaurants, museums, parks. Book a holiday cottage and stay there with family. Even hug people! It’s so exciting.  But the last year to 18 months has taken a heavy toll on us all, and I am seeing it every day in every person I interact with. Online, or offline. There’s a weariness, an uncertainty, a grief we are working throug...

June 19, 2021

What will you learn? What system needs to change?

When you fail. When something goes wrong. When the conversation was difficult, or the client left, or got angry at you. When the applicant or team member didn’t work out. When you screwed up, when it broke, when you missed the deadline. When someone complains, or is upset, or doesn’t understand. There are two questions to ask:  What will I learn?  About yourselfAbout the thing (whatever it is) What system needs to change?  Those two questions protect you from being defensive,...

May 22, 2021

What’s your “puffin” thing? The big thing you must do?

As you are reading this, hopefully I am on my way to, or landed on, the Isle of Mull.  It’s my favourite place of them all. A few hours’ drive from my house, a 45 minute ferry, and...I’m literally a world away. It’s quiet. There are single track roads and few people. “Traffic” consists of Highland cows and sheep, who take their sweet time crossing the road. Or toddle along on the road ahead of you for ages (while you have sheer rock to your left and a drop off to the sea to your...

May 15, 2021

Is your problem a backpack, or a load?

Many problems we shoulder are heavy.  They weigh on us. Difficult conversations, hard truths, exhausting grief. Issues with clients, training for team members, differences of opinion with family. The impact of the pandemic on ourselves, our business, our life.  We carry them. We shoulder them, we hoist them onto our back and move slowly, step by step, bearing our own burden. Because it’s ours to carry, and no one can carry it for us.  There’s a verse in the Bible when read in ...

May 8, 2021

The accidental marathon (you are capable of more than you know)

I walked a literal marathon last Saturday.  I wanted to go walking and exploring - i have a list on my phone of places I want to explore, which I haven’t been able to travel to for the past year. And now the travel ban has been lifted I’m heading out as often as I can. But after one or two adventures the brake pad warning light went on in my car (probably because my car was so shocked to discover we now go further than Aldi’s sometimes), and since brake pads aren’t something you mes...

May 1, 2021

Keep doing the invisible work

I got distracted this week. I had brilliant new ideas about how to help our clients and a message I wanted to make sure we get across, and ended up spending most of a day working on a video and some content on this topic and all the new ideas when really...I would have done better to just keep going on the projects I’ve got before me. I realised the next day what I’d done. I thought about how I used my day, and realised I came up with a brilliant idea and told myself it would just take an ho...

April 17, 2021

Stay in your lane

When I was growing up in Arizona, we had a swimming pool in our back garden (our “backyard”, to use the American term). I remember well the day we moved into that particular house - we’d just moved from California, and it was the height of summer in Arizona - July or August. Even hotter than we were used to, and just because it was “a dry heat” (it is) didn’t make it less exhausting. The heat just sort of drains any energy right out of you.  But we got to the new house and there...

April 10, 2021

The two levels of success in work

I was listening to a podcast the other morning on my walk (this is becoming a standard thing I say now, “i was listening to a podcast”), and the speaker (Blair Enns) was talking about the two different levels of work, from your early days when you’re just getting started, to the goal level or later level where you’ve been working a long time. He said at the beginning it’s “hard work, and saying yes to just about everything”. This is how you succeed.  You’re working towards a...

April 3, 2021

The art of asking questions

So, asking questions is easy, right? You just… ask them.  See what I did there? I asked a question which presumed an answer...and also opened the way for some of you to think “wait, there’s something more behind what she’s saying...I think she’s saying it might not be easy”.... There is SO much more to question asking (and answering) than we realise. As the owner of a creative agency whose purpose involves understanding our clients better so we can help them create better m...

March 27, 2021

Creativity requires structure. Rest takes work.

Last week we had a 3 day team retreat, and it was amazing and inspiring and difficult and challenging and we did things wrong and we did things right.  As a team, we read the book Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar. (Side note: one of the best business books I’ve ever read, and reading it together as a team gave us amazing insights into running a creative business.) One of the things they instituted at Pixar is a day they call “Notes Day”, which is really like a bi...

February 20, 2021

Listen to your gut...and dig deeper

“I just trust my gut”, you think.  You hire someone you feel right about, and reject to the ones you don’t.  A new prospect says and does a few things which feel dodgy, but seems like a nice guy, so you take him on as a client anyway. Many weeks or months later something happens which removes all doubt, and you end up letting him go, and you think, “I knew it. I KNEW IT. My gut told me he was going to be a problem client.” Your gut helps you with many (if not all) business de...

February 12, 2021

"They're a really nice person, but...."

When you hear yourself (or someone else) say this phrase, it’s actually all over.  The supplier. The company you hired. The employee. The strategic partner. The accountant. The client. The advisor. The minister. The author. The influencer. The lecturer. The date. The....whoever.  I have heard this phrase used by so many people for so long, that when I hear it now, it’s like a red warning flag, waving wildly.  Because what comes after this statement is the real problem, th...

February 6, 2021

No self sabotage: Go all the way to the end

This image is me. In every major achievement in my life, I’ve gotten cold feet or slowed down or hesitated or got sick or something, right before the end. Depending on how significant the achievement is, it might be a day or a week before I get there, or it might be a few months. But last year for the first time I really noticed how significant it is. I had several major milestones I either hit (or didn’t), and I saw the pattern for the first time. One milestone was ...

January 30, 2021

100 days, no shortcuts

Want to get better at something?  Do it every day for 100 days.  That’s it, that’s the Note.  Okay...you know me, that’s not completely it. Naturally I have more to say. But if you read nothing else, grasp that. If you’re going to get better at something - writing or recording video or posting on social or sending emails or preparing presentations or sketching or home DIY work or anything at all…. ...you will absolutely do better when you practice at it. Every day.&...

January 23, 2021

Red lights, greenlights

When I was younger, in America, we used to play a game called “red light green light”. Everyone would line up at one end of the field, or the room, or a wide open space.  One person would stand at the front, staring ahead and not able to see those behind them, and shout “green light!” That was our signal to run forward as fast as we could. When they shouted “red light!” and whirled around, we had to stop instantly, and if we were still moving when they spotted us we were ‘out...

January 14, 2021

Are you off, or "off off"?

You’re exhausted. Some of you have literally taken only a few days’ holiday in the entire year (or since March anyway).  It’s time for a rest - a real one. An honest to goodness, don’t check emails or Slack or messages or even social media or your phone, rest.  It’s the difference between being “off”... ...and being “off off”.  Really and truly off. Not working. Not even thinking about work. Not connecting to work things. Not even casually checking emails to “m...

December 18, 2020

The creative child within (and the fears that go with them)

When you tap into the creativity within, you tap into the child you….and sometimes the fears and resistances which come along with them.  I was a guest on a podcast recently called “What’s your ‘and’?”. Everyone has an ‘and’, something they do or enjoy or create when they’re not working, and the podcast host, John Garrett, talks to people from all different walks of life about their ‘and’. He mentioned it’s been even more successful during 2020, a year in which ...

December 5, 2020

Choose to give thanks. Always

This week is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. As a dual British-American citizen, it’s still a holiday I celebrate here in Scotland, and it really is one of my favourite holidays of all.  Because the premise is: things are (or have been) very hard, so you gather together with family, eat good food and lots of it, and you give thanks for it all. For the food, the family and friends and tribe, and all the good things you’ve received or experienced even through the hard times.  T...

November 28, 2020

Accountants, you are creative too.

I believe all humans are creative.  It’s a quality we all have - innately from being humans - no matter what our role or job or how we perceive our fit into society. I believe a creative God created humans, and we reflect that creativity and have these creative qualities from long before we even know anything about ourselves. And as a qualified accountant myself, who then set up a creative agency to support and help accountants, it took me many years to realise those two things were the b...

November 7, 2020

The story I'm telling myself (and how easily it can be the wrong story)

We have to make sense of things. Somehow.  And if things don’t make sense, or don’t fit, our brain will work on putting together the reason, the intentions, the story.  We will literally make up a story in our own head to help us understand. We’ll say “oh, I see, they wrote that email in that way because they’re tired of me asking them for help”, or “ah, I get it, that prospect never replied because they don’t want to work with us”, or “they didn’t invite me to th...

October 22, 2020

Hard things and good things work together

I’ve been thinking this week about the good things we receive through an experience of hard things.  No matter how good the good thing is we receive through what’s hard...it doesn’t magically make the hard things good. Or transform them. Sometimes (most times) they’re bad in and of themselves.  Things like Covid. And lockdown. And back pain. And deaths of people we care about. And depression and addictions and abuse and trauma.  Those are bad, bad things. In themselves the...

October 9, 2020 Posts 1-25 of 51 | Page next
 

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