July 2024


Businesses use boring words like strategy, framework and, err, business. I don’t. Instead, when in the Brand Director chair, I explore:

1. Why are we doing what we’re doing? Who for? What’s the change we’re focussed on making? What 3 immovable, driving opinions or points of view do we (all) hold?  What’s our essence?  What thing are we most famous for, and own, in our category? ‘Could be one word. This is a short document.

2. What precise words and phrases do we say over and over? Subcategorised. A dozen phrases, notions or ideas. All with tonal consistency and clarity. This is a short document.

1. is a Brand Framework. 2. is a Messaging Framework. And no matter how great the resulting documents are it’s just as important to notice how crappy they look and where you keep them.

If they are beautifully pristine and carefully filed, that’s no good. If they’re dogeared, coffee stained and pinned or lying where you sit, every day, that’s good. Because that means you’re using them, every day.

Documents like this should be great. But it’s always best when they look a bit crappy.

The good news about humanity is that, most times, we can find heartspace for someone much easier than we can find headspace.

What I mean is, sometimes, when I am asked to think about this, that or the other, my internal dialogue screams, “Argh! I haven’t got the headspace for that!”

But when anybody needs heartspace from me, or you, we down tools. We can always find heartspace.

Heartspace. Nice word (made up words are the best). Available from nice people everywhere.

It surprises me when I start a new business or project, that good people around me suggest it’s a brave move. I never feel brave. I feel excited. All I need is an idea, love for the change I’m determined to make, a sketchy plan and discipline. Not bravery.

Stopping things, though. That’s different. I need bravery when stopping things. Stopping things frightens me. If I’ll be judged. If I’ll be seen as a failure. If I’ll be regretful. Stopping things frightens me much more than starting things. This means I stay too long.

Increasingly, it helps to remind myself I’ll be dead after 1,000 months here. And that I’m in 672 months in right now. I don’t want to spend any of the 328 months I have left doing anything I don’t want to do.

So on I go. Moving faster when I remember the 1,000 month thing. Moving slower when I can’t find the bravery I need to stop. Tell you what though, learning how freeing it feels when I do stop is fuel too. Lovely feeling, that.

When I meet a 50odd blog reader, and they realise I’m the writer, and they thank me for writing, I almost always do the same thing.

I look down, stutter a thank you, and change the subject. However, that’s changing. A bit. Because something surprising is happening. They’re telling me their favourite 50odd. Like a 50odd is a thing. I like that. I like learning how people feel. I like making people think, and feel.

One particular 50odd was mentioned more than once recently. As a favourite 50odd. It’s a bit long. And I write shorter these days. But yes. I do like it. I like that it made people feel. I’ll rewrite it shorter for my book. It’s called The Bathroom Cabinet Game.

Many things at The Do Lectures are different to anything, anywhere. Here’s one of them. At The Do Lectures, you hear differently. Or at the very least – I do.

When someone asks, ‘What do you do?’ – that’s not what you hear.

What you hear instead is, ‘Please tell me about your life’s work’ or ‘Please tell me what you were born to do’ or ‘What beautiful change are you making’ or ‘How do you help people? or ‘What’s your gift, and what do you gift – every day?’

No one is being judgy. No one means to panic you. Or push you. Or test you. They’re just being themselves.

You hear the new questions because, somehow, The Do Lectures is the weekend where the sleepwalking stops. Where the sleepy awaken. Where the lights come on. Where life can, if you like, begin.

By the way. Here’s how this chat ended. The one where I suggested a friend of mine should ‘think further’ than cold calling.

She: Can I ask what makes you think I’m better than cold calling? May help me tap into something. Or perhaps something I’ve said that landed? No worries if not tho!

Me: Yes. Don’t do it because they don’t like it. It’s rude. It’s interruptive. Most times, the media we choose is a big part of the message. Your approach says, I don’t care about interrupting you. I see you primarily as a prospect.

I think that’s bad manners. And I know you, you’re not bad mannered at all. The new approach* says, I’d like to help you. It’s generous. I think this second way suits you best. Sorry to be direct. But there’s a compliment in there somewhere.

*The new approach.

I chatted with a nice lady recently that had decided to be angry with her own bottom because it was bigger than she wanted it to be.

Two things.

First, she openly admitted that she did little about her bottom issue other than (literally) sit on it.

Second, she was in a doubly-negative place because she was angry with her bottom for being too big, and angry also with herself that she was doing nothing at all about it.

I sometimes wish we recorded ourselves and listened back to how daft we are. I get fed up that I haven’t written that book I should write, because I don’t actually sit down and write it. I used to be angry that I was aging in ways I didn’t like, then to make me feel better I’d have four cans of Brewdog. And whenever I felt worried about finances I’d buy a load of shit I don’t need to make myself feel better.

Well, thanks to my friend with the annoying bottom, I now have something to remember if ever I am moaning about not having something I haven’t planned, worked hard or paid for yet.

It’s remembering the obvious pointlessness of being angry with your own arse.

It went something like this:

Me: So, are you going to write a great, helpful little digital book? I don’t like thinking of you playing that bloody cold-call numbers game. They hate it. You hate it. You’re better than that.

She: What a lovely message! But would anyone read it?! What’s a digital book?

Me: They’d read it. Model it on mine. Set a deadline. 8 weeks? A million people read mine. (It’s pinned to the top off my LinkedIn profile).

She: Thank you. But I’ve never written anything great.

Me: There was a time when even the greatest writer had never written anything great.

She: Can I send it to you first? Can I ask questions along the way?

Me: No. You don’t need that. If you really want to do it, start. 8 weeks. It’s the calling card for the future you. ‘Happy to read a final draft

She: Something (lovely) about liking a challenge and being inspired.

I’ll post it here if she does (or you do/have).