Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Saying “let’s do it” when most of us just wouldn’t dare!

February 18, 2021

Ciara O'Toole - Going Solo on Lake Como

I’m sure we have all been away on holidays in a special place and you pass an auctioneers window and gaze at the houses for sale and think “what if“?

While it’s a nice dream, quickly after 60 seconds you rationalise and the dream is gone.

For me that place would definitely be Siena in Italy, and while I have had this idea for a while I can think quickly for a bunch of very logical and rational reasons why it just couldn’t work …maybe when I retire (isn’t that the easy way of dodging the thought? )

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that you can get your work done from anywhere, hasn’t it? Of course, there are other reasons why I can’t and it doesn’t take me long to list them in my head.

Ciara O’Toole, our very special friend and her husband gazed at that window in Lake Como and decided “lets do it“!!

She was just married, without a word of Italian, a house in Dublin with a big mortgage and a great career as a marketer…crazy idea Ciara!

What I love about her is her adventurous spirit, that ability to “go for it” without a strong safety net and hey, let’s see what happens!

In Ciara’s case lots happened, including a few nasty bumps and wonderful experiences but it has been and continues to be a great adventure!

Did I tell you she learnt how to fly a sea plane and wrote a book about the experience?

If you get a chance at all you might read her book “Going Solo on Lake Como” and maybe tune into the episode of the Win Happy podcast with this intelligent, funny, adventurer, marketeer, entrepreneur, author and pilot who tells her incredible story that is full of many twists and turns!

Let’s celebrate those who say “Let’s do it”, and maybe think about that being you next time you look at that window. 

Check out Ciara’s website by clicking on this link

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Pushing out to the edges..

February 7, 2021

Dave Grohl

I was reading an interview in the Irish Times weekend Magazine with the singer/songwriter and guitarist of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl where he was chatting about their new album, ‘Medicine at Midnight‘.

The band are a few decades into their career and Dave had also been the drummer with Nirvana, and just 25 years old when that band finished due to the death of Kirk Cobain. I wonder did he play that famous gig in Sir Henry’s in Cork – were you there?

The Foo Fighters are a huge band and they have a big following and with each new album there must be a pressure to stick to the “winning formula” and style that has earned them so many loyal fans, or do they refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and go down new paths, that could be quite risky musically and commercially.

In the interview Dave says “You have to feel comfortable and confident enough to push out to the edges a little bit every time you do it – otherwise it’s just not fun, it’s just not exciting

My question for you is – is this just the privilege of musicians, writers and artists to think like this?

Is it just these types of people that can have that luxury of “pushing what they do out to the edges” just because life gets boring and less fun, or can that thinking apply to all of us?

This life of ours isn’t a rehearsal. and we do owe it to ourselves to “push out to the edges” – of course we have to pay the bills, but we can also refresh, reinvent, reinvigorate and explore some new paths.

The opposite is just too big a price to pay..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

Art and the things we are missing..

January 30, 2021

White Horse Ballincollig

I was chatting to Brendan, my son who is in the middle of his 14 day “luxury” stay at the ‘Holiday Inn’ in Auckland in New Zealand as part of their two week mandatory quarantine period.

The one thing that really struck me from that conversation was him describing the very surprising sense of overwhelming relief of being away from Ireland, from being away from restrictions, from being away from constant thoughts about hand sanitising, keeping our distance, mask wearing, not hugging, walking past our favourite establishments which are all closed, inevitably chatting about it with everyone and listening to the incessant dark news feed, and living each day under a very dark Covid cloud. 

He thought he was managing the whole thing fine, getting on with things as we all do BUT … it has been non stop and it has been creeping into all of us incrementally in a way that we I’m not sure that we will fully appreciate until it’s all well and truly behind us.

(You can hear this conversation on the Win Happy Podcast by clicking this link).

In tandem with this conversation, I was reading a very interesting piece in the New York Times by Melissa Kirsch about the huge role that art plays in our lives.

She wrote about “how we are all waiting for things to open up so we can resume what we think of as normal life” and the fact that this simple idea suddenly feels daunting.

She wrote about “the promise of going to a play, hearing live music or standing awed before a painting that much more exciting to anticipate

We have been missing so much, it is hurting in ways that we haven’t been able to fully process and the sooner we get back to all of those simple pleasures we can start to heal and living again.

I’m imagining a fantastic meal with friends in The White Horse in Ballincollig, before heading upstairs to their beautiful, intimate and very special venue to watch a gig. Maybe it’s THE 4 Of US, Mark Geary, John Spillane,  Jack O’Rourke, David Syme, the White Horse Guitar Club or Allman Brown. Whoever it is I’m imagining being back there, standing at the bar chatting to the barman and waiting for another feast of music to top up my soul.

I miss it.. 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

I had a great 2021 because..

December 31, 2020

Visualisation

Before I do this post about a form of planning for the year ahead, I wanted to write briefly about the attitude “choices” that we can bring to different situations and how this can affect our outlook and our outcomes.

My dad sadly passed away around this time three years ago, so it is naturally an emotionally challenging time of the year for the family and in particular for my mum.

We had her over for dinner on St. Stephen’s Day and a conversation started around the table about Christmas gifts. Mum started to tell us stories about her and dad when they were living in New York in the late fifties and when they were invited to dinner at that time by friends and relatives.

It turns out that the practical presents such as socks and gloves, which would have been the norm in the Ireland they had left, weren’t quite the norm in an abundant, booming New York!

Mum was nearly choking with the laughter as she recalled her and dad nearly running from a relatives house contemplating them opening the meagre gifts they had bought them after seeing what had been bought for them.

We laughed with her and loved her stories – despite the sad time of year, she always sees the positive and instead of being down, we toasted dad and she told us even more stories about their time in the States. He was with us in a nice way.

So..

I had a great year because..

For the last few years I have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help me get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

I have found it to be really useful and it has made a big difference, and as I look back at last year (even despite Covid) I can see the things that I have achieved as a result of this focus. In Fuzion we also ask all of the team to do this – it is really important to us that everyone in the team achieves their own personal and career goals.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the beginning of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of PossibilityA few years ago I was inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (disbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

Taking this approach, you can apply it by doing some simple visualisation about the year ahead and tapping into all of Your Possibilities.

Take a quiet few moments so you can concentrate with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and do some visualisation – Take a few deep breaths and relax and close your eyes.

Now imagine the last working day of this year, just before you head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest. You are feeling really satisfied as you reflect on your fantastic achievements during the year. Some of these were personal things and some of these were professional things – you are feeling great because you have achieved them.

Now open your eyes and start writing:

I had a great year because ….

Now off you go – list the things that will make this year a great one for you.

Take your time and be as specific as you can including all of those business and personal goals that will give you that huge sense of satisfaction on that last working day of the year.

This is the starting point – when you are ready you need to study this list and start figuring out how you can go about making this list come to life.

Put your piece of paper in a safe place so that you can refer to it throughout the year to make sure your list of possibilities stays on track.

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Happy New Year

This clip of Benjamin Zander is really motivational and well worth watching.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Covid Grind and the Covid Police

July 20, 2020

Gina Murphy, Hugos Restaurant

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in and have a great week #WinHappy” is my usual Monday morning tweet, my little mantra, which being honest is as much for myself as it is for anyone else to get into the right frame of mind as we begin another work week.

I’ve been tweeting that since during the last recession and it has served me well.

As I tweeted it this morning I felt like a fraud because I was in an awful mood, which didn’t quite match those words.

Of course it’s this whole Covid thing with a few other run of the mill  “life” things layered on top – nothing serious I promise, but without a doubt there is a little Covid cloud sitting over my head today, as well as this feeling like a grind.

Dee spotting my mood tells me quite rightly to stop arguing with people on Twitter as this is where she sees some of my poor mood coming out – She is right of course, as I get upset reading about the latest idiotic thing that Trump has done and when I increasingly see what I am calling the “Covid Police” – for some reason we have all started finger pointing and judging:

Gina Murphy and Leo Varadkar at her Hugos Restaurant getting lambasted by the social media “hoards” for not sufficiently social distancing in a photo even though she was wearing a visor (she’s a great gal, struggling to make a living in these awful circumstances and has gone to huge lengths and cost to reopen safely). Covid Police..

I had to jump in!

– The Leeds United manager getting lambasted for not setting a “better example” when he went to a person who was in a wheelchair in the crowd who was waiting for him and hugged them – of course it’s not perfect but it was a huge, touching gesture. They have just been promoted to the Premiership, which to devoted fans is an absolutely colossal life moment. Instead of just appreciating the very touching human moment, allowing a spontaneous human reaction in the middle of this Covid grind, we instead jump in, point out the grave error and judge… As I said, Covid Police!

I had to jump in!

– The Professor posting a picture of himself proudly walking around a West Cork town on a sunny afternoon wearing a mask and commenting on the people who aren’t wearing them. Why wear one walking around in the fresh air? I felt this was subtle finger pointing at those of us who are finding this difficult and judging (for the successful months of curve flattening we were told there was no need)

I had to jump in! (This was genuinely a nice interaction but an Irish gal in America jumped in and accused me of all sorts including having no empathy). Covid Police!

This is an extremely difficult time for all of us as we are all processing it differently.

People are confused, people are in fear, people are trying to hold onto some piece of normality, people are trying to find brightness wherever they can get it, people are trying to protect loved ones, people are trying to protect their livelihoods, and people are trying to manage their mental health.

I think it’s really important that we do have empathy and we shouldn’t start finger pointing and judging others at this time as it isn’t easy.

Sean Moncrieff describes feeling a “low level depression” in an article he wrote for the Irish Times a few weeks back, and I get what he is talking about.

We’ve just had our Monday morning catch up call with the team and that interaction has brightened me up as it always does – I’ve taken longer writing this post than I meant to, but I wanted to capture these strange feelings at this weird time so that I can look back later, when we will have hopefully forgotten what it felt like.

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in, have a great week, be kind….and most importantly, mind yourself

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Klopp – The key moment that won the league?

June 28, 2020

Liverpool celebration against West Brom

After the historic winning of the Premiership this week by Liverpool FC, with seven matches still to play there has been a lot of analysis of Jurgen Klopp’s time at the club, with many trying to identify the “key moments” that have contributed to this huge achievement.

As a colossal and very happy Liverpool fan I’ve watched pretty much every press conference, every match including pre-season games and even the odd reserve match and since Klopp took over as manager in 2015 there have been many significant moments.

A new style of play, intensive pre-season training, the signing of some key players and a continuous learning curve have all contributed to incremental success and of course this has resulted in belief and confidence.

However for me, a key factor in this success story is Jurgen Klopp’s deep understanding of psychology – he knows how the mind works and how much this ultimately affects how the players on the pitch can play to their very best, even at times when things have gone wrong in matches and looked certain that a loss was on the cards.

The role of fans or “supporters” is huge in this and he worked on this aspect from the very first minute.

Klopp demonstrated this in his very first press conference when he identified the colossal role that an impatient but huge loyal fan base could play in the success of the team. He shaped expectations that day when he spoke about changing fans from “doubters to believers” and he also started talking about the heavy burden of past successes.

He identified immediately that an impatient, doubting crowd could “infect” the team on the pitch, to the extent that they would be playing nervously, petrified of any mistake – this had become a big problem at home matches in the past.

A month or so later Liverpool were losing at home to Crystal Palace and with five minutes to go fans started to leave the ground – he took a big risk and made a big deal of this after in his press conference.

He spoke about it being a “lonely moment” and the point he was making was very simple – if you want us to win these games, support us to the very end of the match and anything is possible. This was a huge message he was sending to the fans.

This brings me to what I consider as being the biggest moment that has contributed to the success that we have enjoyed in the last few years and it came in December 2015, a few matches after that Crystal Palace game.

We were playing at home against West Brom and with minutes to go were trailing 1-2 against this mid-table team. Burdened with history, me and most other fans were most likely thinking “typical Liverpool“.

Because of the gentle scolding that he had given to fans just weeks earlier they stayed till the end, never gave up and it worked!!

In stoppage time Divock Origi scored an equaliser and the inevitable did not happen – Klopp went wild, the team went wild and the fans went wild. The match finished 2-2.

Drawing at home to West Brom, 2-2 is a poor result for Liverpool but the last minute response when all felt lost warranted a huge celebration.

If you stay with us until the last minute and keep supporting, then anything was possible.

Klopp had coached the fans about what he needed from them and to crystallise this moment he grabbed the team and led a “bowing” session in front of the fans in the famous Kop – this was a huge acknowledgment, a thank you …you got us that goal!!

Klopp was hugely criticised in many quarters for this disproportionate celebration – we drew with West Brom, not won a cup, after all.

The idiot James McLean called Kloppa bit of an idiot“, making this exact point.

Klopp explained what he was up to after in his press conference:

There was a big misunderstanding against West Brom. I wanted to say thank you to the supporters after that game so I took my team towards the Kop to do it and there was a discussion everywhere about it. For me, it was ‘why should we even discuss that?’

“But I had to learn that English people are not used to that kind of thing”

“I wanted to show that we really we are one unit, 100 per cent one unit. That means I know I am responsible for the performance, but the people are responsible for the atmosphere.

“So it should be a win-win situation. When we play well, it’s easy to get the crowd going and when we don’t play well, we need you to encourage us – get on your feet, tell us ‘come on’ – you have to be the stars then.

“I want us to have the best atmosphere in world football and there is no limit to what we can do actually”

From that moment on Liverpool have won so many matches in the last few minutes, when all seemed lost and the fans were there to witness such exhilaration. And at Anfield since then we have pretty much won every single match.

As a fan there is nothing better than that last minute joy and I’ve been lucky to have been at Anfield to witness the incredible end of match atmosphere where we had last minute winners against Borussia Dortmund and Everton, both of which were huge games.

LIverpool celebration against Barcelona

Last season there was a similar celebration when we incredibly beat the mighty Barcelona, 4-0 on the way to winning the Champions League.

That gesture against West Brom in December 2015 was the moment we won the league..

How much does the right mentality matter in your business?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for your “Purpose” to reveal itself

February 16, 2020

Greg Canty - Sense of Purpose

Once again you find yourself having this conversation quietly in your head.

I want to make a huge difference on this earth, I want to live a life with Real Purpose” but…..

…you have absolutely no idea what that purpose is !!

Well, instead of getting yourself all frustrated, how about channelling these thoughts and that positive intent in a very different and very achievable way.

How about choosing a number of people in your life who may be in need of help, a boost, a little support, some encouragement and quietly make them your purpose and without saying a word, give them exactly that.

Maybe it’s a family member, a buddy, a work colleague, or a neighbour who is struggling, who has gone off track for whatever reason and needs something from someone to make this time a little easier.

You can be that someone, and you might just be able to get them back on track.

While you are waiting to find your purpose how about being there for that other person so they might be better able to find theirs.

And if your “purpose” never knocks on your door, then maybe it’s not so bad as you have helped a lot of people along the way just when they needed it …. isn’t that a pretty good purpose to have?

Who are you going to help today?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

When ‘How About’ and ‘Why Not’ come together

December 21, 2019

Emerald Ivory at The White Horse

A really talented musician said “How about” to a bunch of talented musicians who answered “Why not” to an idea about performing classic Irish songs together

Someone said “How about” doing a gig before Christmas at the venue Upstairs at the The White Horse Bar and Restaurant in Ballincollig, Cork and someone said “Why not“.

I saw the gig listing when trying to figure out something special to do belatedly for our wedding anniversary (too busy with client events!) and asked Dee “How about” and she said “Why not“.

Needless to say the debut gig of Emerald Ivory was really special and we had a great night.

To do anything new and discover magic in life we need two essential ingredients:

Someone to ask “How about

and someone to say “Why not“.

Are you one of those people?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Mary Elmes, Cork’s bravest woman?

October 20, 2019

Prats-de-Mollo_Childrens_Home

Residents of the War Resisters’ International home in the French Pyrenees at Prats-de-Mollo, housing refugees from the Spanish Civil War

I’ve just finished editing and publishing the Win Happy podcast episode that I recorded with Clodagh Finn, author of “A time to risk all” and Deirdre Waldron, former president of Network Ireland, about the incredible life of the very much unknown Cork woman, Mary Elmes.

(Note: In 2016, having heard about Mary through the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee work, Deirdre in her role as President chose Mary Elmes for the Trish Murphy, Network Ireland Award, the first time it was given posthumously and the first time she was acknowledged in Ireland)

As I was listening to the podcast I was very close to tears when I heard Clodagh describe that moment when one of the children, Charlotte Berger-Greneche saved by Mary Elmes, saw a picture of her mother for the first time when she was 80 years of age.

Clodagh who is incredibly knowledgeable and clearly passionate about Mary Elmes, brings her story to life in the episode and I feel in some ways listening to her, that the spirit of Mary has changed her.

Charlotte Berger-Greneche and Georges Koltei

We were privileged to meet two of these children, Charlotte Berger-Greneche and Georges Koltei (pictured above with Mary’s son Patrick Danjou (on the left of the image)) who were saved by Mary from prison camps in France during World War 2.

They were in Cork city recently for the opening of the new bridge that was named in her honour.

Mary Elmes saved 432 children during the Spanish Civil War and World War 2.

Article by Eoin English, Irish Examiner

Article by Barry Roche, Irish Times

There was a beautiful and very poignant quote by her son, Patrick during the bridge opening:

“I think it’s better to have a bridge than a wall, like some friends of ours in America want to do”

Until very recently this story was one that very few people knew, including Mary’s own family – humble people do what they need to do in a huge time of need and then quietly go about their lives after.

Note: Paddy Butler has also written a book about Mary Elmes “The Extraordinary life of Mary Elmes: The Irish Oskar Schindler”

Mary_Elmes

About Mary

Mary Elmes was born on 5 May 1908 in Cork, Ireland to chemist Edward Elmes and Elizabeth Waters. Edward ran a pharmacy on Winthrop Street. The Elmes family went on to be a very prominent one in the business landscape of the city (The building where MacDonalds is located was an Elmes property).

She attended Rochelle School in Cork and in 1928 enrolled at Trinity College Dublin where she was elected a Scholar, and gained a first in Modern Literature (French and Spanish).

As a result of her academic achievements, she was awarded a scholarship in International Studies to study at London School of Economics and then a further scholarship  in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1937, she joined the University of London Ambulance Unit and was sent to a children’s hospital in Almeria in then war-torn Spain. She worked in hospitals as an administrator and carer and also helped  in homes looking after children (see picture above). She then moved to France during World War 2.

When it became clear that Jewish children were not legally allowed to be exempt from being sent to the concentration camps, as they had been, Mary, with the help from some colleagues, started to rescue children, taking them to safe houses or helping them flee the country altogether.

Stop for a momentCan you imagine as a parent, making a decision to hand your children over to someone else, in the full knowledge that you would never see them again and this was the only chance of them having a life?

It is a chilling and heartbreaking thought.

Well aware that she was putting herself at risk, she rescued many children by hiding them in the boot of her car and drove them to safe destinations and aided many others by securing documents, which allowed for them to escape through the undercover network in Vichy France.

While she was not a Quaker herself, she worked actively with local Quaker organisations and was often  described as the “head of the Quaker delegation at Perpignan,”.

In 1943, Mary was arrested and was imprisoned in Toulouse and later was moved to the notorious Fresnes Prison run by the Gestapo near Paris, where she spent six months. She was never charged, but when she was released she continued her work with children in prison camps.

Note: In the podcast listen to Clodagh talking about an old blanket that Mary Elmes kept from that prison.

After the war she married and had two children, and lived in Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia),

She became the first Irish person to be named Righteous Among the Nations during a ceremony at Israel’s official memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Note: Despite gathering the requisite proof that he saved Jews we have been unable to achieve this honour for Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.

She passed away in 2002, one month before her 93rd birthday.

If you have the time you might click here to listen to the podcast, maybe read Clodagh’s or Paddy’s excellent books and even better, walk across the beautiful bridge in Cork and think about the bravery of a very special woman, Mary Elmes.

Bridges are better than walls…

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

PRIDE and the motivation behind picking up other people’s rubbish with Tom Butler, Ballincollig Tidy Towns

September 15, 2019

Ballincollig Tidy Towns

I’m always blown away when I bump into Ballincollig Tidy Towns volunteers up early on a Sunday morning as we head to the Regional Park to walk our two dogs, Honey and Bert.

Normally it is a person working diligently by themselves with their litter picker and their black bag. I always make a point of saying “hello” to them and saying “thank you”.

I quietly ask myself the question…. “What could possibly motivate you to get up on a Sunday morning and voluntarily start picking up other people’s rubbish and tidying up our town?

Our downtime is precious, time to rest, time to do our own chores, spend time with family and friends and to enjoy our hobbies, whatever they might be. As for these people, well, how do you explain it?

I was delighted to have the chance to finally chat with Tom Butler, a friend from back in the day who has been Chairperson of Ballincollig Tidy Towns for the last 20 years and ask him this very question.

To try to understand, I asked Tom about the influences in his life, lessons learnt from his scouting days, lessons from his dad, Jim, and what drives him to do what he does each day. He explained how he got involved and the incredible difference the awards have made to towns and villages all over Ireland.

Why does Tom do what he does? – it’s simple, it’s all about Pride.

Click here to listen to the chat with Tom in the Win Happy podcast 

A huge thanks to Tom Butler and the team in Ballincollig Tidy Towns for making our place so special.

Enjoy the show!

Greg 

Greg Canty is the producer of the Win Happy podcast, which is brought to you by Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Marketing, Graphic design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork 

 

For information about podcast production, feel free to contact Fuzion