Archive for the ‘Positivity’ Category

It’s all over…but it will be stressful!

January 23, 2022

So that’s it?

This weekend we read the headlines in the newspapers after the speech on Friday night by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin more or less declaring that “the Covid pandemic is over” and that pretty much all restrictions will be lifted except for the mask wearing indoors and on public transport.

Even though case numbers are still high in the country the ultra conservative and very cautious NPHET (that caution probably saved many lives) have recommended this course of action so they must believe that the current version of what is infecting people is relatively harmless and we are all quite protected against it through either the vaccination programme or actually contracting the virus – we have herd immunity!

While this is a huge relief you would wonder how easy will it be for society to walk back all of our learned cautious behaviour from nearly two years of strangeness and how much of what life was like before will return?

I had a pint in a local as I waited for my takeaway last night (didn’t home eating escalate to enormous proportions in the last two years?) and it was interesting watching the different people and the behaviours – the general atmosphere was upbeat but there was definitely a divide between the cautious and the not so cautious. One of the bar staff was wearing no mask and another was wearing one and the same applied to customers as they came into the pub.

I asked the barman what the new rules were about mask wearing and he was quite sure that this was up to each individual to decide – that’s not my understanding of what I heard but there you go! This decompressing and roll back time will cause it’s own confusion and stress.

How will we respond to these changed circumstances?

Where will all the mask/anti mask and the vax/anti vax anger move to?

Will a cohort of society continue to wear masks even when this is done?

Will we forever stand back from those we meet with caution or will we go back to shaking hands and dare I say it…. can we hug again?!!

What happens when I’m asked to come back to working from the office because I have no intention of commuting two hours a day ever again!

How much damage has all of the “un”socialising and home working really done to us as individuals and to our collective psyche?

It will be stressful, there will be unforeseen and unexpected problems and at times it will feel upsetting as we do now have to unlearn and return to being normal people again making our way in the world.

To make the most of this very positive time we do need is to appreciate that this is another change and with change comes stress and as much as we can, let’s be tolerant of each other as we all have different lived experiences and changes will be processed at different speeds.

While I write this I am thinking back to the regrettable shouting match that I had with a woman on a bus at the beginning of the pandemic who was insulted that my friends were uncomfortable when she sat right behind them and then accused me of not wearing my mask properly!

I have no idea who she was but we both let ourselves down badly and yes it was really upsetting.

Let’s be tolerant and empathetic as this is a good time for all of and let’s work hard to make sure it is great.

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

Time to lose the “kind regards” and say something meaningful

January 18, 2022

I was listening to a fascinating conversation on a podcast with the founder of Toms Shoes, Blake Mycoskie who was sharing his career story including the incredible story of where the idea of Toms Shoes came from, the powerful notion of giving away a free pair of shoes to those who badly needed shoes for every pair they sold and how this idea caught on and quickly led to a legendary success.

At the close of the chat he was asked to give some advice to the listener and he shared a phrase that he lives by “Carpe Diem”, or seize the day.

His basic philosophy is that life is precious, we have no idea how long it will last so make the most of each and every day.

A little habit he uses to remind people of this advice is to sign off all of his emails with the phrase “Carpe Diem” instead of other meaningless salutations such as yours sincerely, kind regards or even my more casual one “cheers” – I do hate formality!

The cynic might think what is that fella all about but this is really clever as it is using a frequent method of everyday communication to replace something meaningless with something meaningful and possibly trigger a positive thought or emotion for the reader.

I was chatting with the fantastic Paul Born of the Tamarack Institute in Canada on my Win Happy podcast and he does something similar but uses equally powerful words “Much joy” – why not spread joy and remind people of joy each and every single day?

Taking all of this onboard I’ve started to sign off all of my emails with the words “Win Happy” which is my core philosophy – I want people to succeed, whatever success looks like for them but to go about this in a way that makes them and those round them happy. If we all lived by that approach I think life would be better and more positive, in particular our working lives.

And taking this one step further maybe even (when appropriate of course) sign off your social media posts with a hashtag with your “words” – if that’s what you believe let people know.

My challenge for you is to think about replacing your meaningless closing salutation and replacing it with something meaningful.

It might get a few strange reactions to begin with but at least it will give people something to remember you by, something to think about and maybe, just maybe, create a shift in their day.

Win Happy !!

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 2022 because…

January 1, 2022

I’ve been doing this post for quite a while now about planning for the year ahead and using a clever visualisation trick to help me along the way as subscribers of my blog will attest to.

I’m writing this post on the 1st January 2022 sitting in my office (the space that pre-Covid was known as a small bedroom!) and Bert (one of my four legged buddies) is after joining me and lying on the little bed that I have in here for him. He’s probably wondering are we back to that relentless routine that we were on last year and most of the one before that?

As an aside ….a hungover Dee has just made an appearance and has reminded me about the fantastic New Year’s Eve we had last night with our great friends Tommy and Joan and Ellen my daughter and her fiancé Mark. As usual we played music all night long, we ate some great food, drank wine (and other alcoholic temptations), called family members, sent messages to friends and….we were introduced to the most wonderful, feel good, fun fun fun Italian Christmas song called Dominick the Donkey from the sixties!!

I am extremely grateful for the life we have.

Ellen works as a Special Needs Assistant at St.Paul’s Special Needs School in Cork and she tells me the kids love this song – it’s not hard to see why!!

This must be listened to standing up and you must sing along and clap your hands!

While last year was a good one for me despite the unusual circumstances, I was really glad of the end of year break when it came and as sure as eggs are eggs it has flown by and I find myself at the beginning of another year and thinking about firing up the engines again.

Of course I want to change it up a little (or a lot) and of course I want it to be a good one but at the core of all of that is me, that little old (er) me that needs to stare at a mirror and realise that I am the same one that inhabits this body and essentially I probably won’t change a whole pile. Having said all of that, let’s reflect and learn from the past and lets take that and march forward and try to take some control and create that better future.

The other thing I am mindful of as I approach this exercise is that in order for it to work properly I need to really understand me, my limitations and my habits and in that context I must create a little structure or framework (another shite word, but you know what I mean) to increase the chances of success.

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 Possibility

A 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.

The Framework!

Let’s try a few things to make sure this is a list that goes beyond today!

Accessible – As an enhancement to that exercise how about re-writing that list on a notepad on your smartphone (or any other device that you use on a regular basis).

Reminder – To make sure you revisit your list on a regular basis maybe set a reminder on your calendar to check back on it. Does monthly work for you or do you need to check it more frequently?

You decide knowing how you are so choose a time of a particular day of the week or time of month that is most likely to work for you (some day on the last week of the month isn’t the worst idea of all)

Action! – No doubt there will be a mix of actions that will be required to bring the list you have visualised to life. How about when you check that list (at those scheduled times) you decide on some realistic tasks that you can do (big or small) to start moving things along.

Month by month/ Season by season – On your list there will be items that can only happen at certain times of the year. It is no harm marking those with the relevant time periods or even changing the order of your list to reflect that.

Next week/next month – When you do your regular check on your list highlight the things that you can start doing next week or next month (or today!) and again be realistic, you won’t be able to do everything together.

Update that list – Why not change things during the year as circumstances change but make sure that this isn’t an easy way to abandon your initial great intentions.

The Ultimate Review – at the end of the year check that list…how did you do?

One of the things on my list was to get back to writing on a regular basis again – this is a good start!

Enjoy realising all of your possibilities..

Have a Win 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

Taking a job with an unknown company called Microsoft and the many digital enterprises since with serial entrepreneur, Anthony Quigley

August 16, 2021
Anthony Quigley , Code Institute, Corporate Governance Institute

When Anthony Quigley took a job with an unknown company in 1992 called Microsoft, did he have any idea the career path ahead?

This is a really interesting conversation on the Win Happy podcast with Anthony about the evolution of digital, entrepreneurship, seizing opportunities, taking risks and some insights into his ventures including the (DMI) Digital Marketing Institute, the Code Institute and his latest venture the Corporate Governance Institute.

He was involved in the huge launch of ‘Windows 95‘, the first big attempt to make PCs more user friendly and from there was involved in many startups, experiencing the usual rollercoaster ride that many of us have experienced.

Anthony saw the early opportunities and provided simple solutions to help companies get on the internet (can you imagine!) with products such as “internet in a box”, providing them with the hardware and software to help people to get online for the first time complete with email addresses!

He ran a successful company that offered the earliest version of “digital agency” services and responding to a shortage of qualified people to do the actual work, he started a training company with the objective of finding talent for their own business – the very successful training business, Digital Marketing Institute emerged this shortage of staff!

Anthony says “everyone has to be a salesman”, he talks about risk and cash flow challenges with startups, he discusses the shortage of IT talent and the very practical role of the Code Institute to address skill shortages that our universities can’t satisfy, and he discusses his changed approach when starting a new business – think of the end goal first he says.

I hope you enjoy this chat with Anthony!

Click here to listen to the podcast (also available on all podcast apps and on Spotify – just search for Win Happy)

Enjoy the show!

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 very special Natasha Lynch

February 22, 2021

Natasha Lynch

At the end of a long work day we could be found trudging from the office weighed down by the usual stresses, challenges and issues, on the way to retrieving the car from the car park and heading home.

And there she would be, and regardless of the day that you have had it immediately would get better.

She was beautiful, inside and out.

When you would bump into Natasha at anytime you were 100% guaranteed to get a warm, friendly greeting, full of enthusiasm and positivity and she would always leave you with a hug and a feeling like your whole world had brightened up, at least for a while.

Of course she was a great business woman and of course she was a really lovely person, but that gift of making everyone that she met feel immediately better was really special and something that will be a huge loss.

Natasha, you were loved by many and will be missed by so many more and a sincere thanks for making me feel so good every time that we met.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Wayne, her two boys, her dad Tony and the many friends, colleagues and students who all had the benefit of some of her precious time on this earth. Her greatest legacy is that her kindness and brightness will no doubt live on in all those she interacted with, even if just for a moment.

Natasha, they will be lucky to have you up there

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

 

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

 

 

Dangerous People!

December 14, 2020
Dangerous People !

Don’t you just hate those “dangerous people” who come to meetings because

– they ask the question you hope no one asks

– they don’t just go with the flow and nod their head politely at what is being said

– they are there to fulfil a role and not to be popular with the group

– through their actions they encourage others to speak their mind

– they provide another point of view and quite possibly an inconvenient one

– they can make you feel uncomfortable

– they might take the meeting in an unplanned direction

– they could cause the meeting to run over

– they might just result in making more work for everyone

Next time you have a meeting where you really want to trash out an issue, hold people accountable, get alternative views and maybe even arrive at a much better conclusion, make sure you have a dangerous person in the room..

Of course if you want an easy life..

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

Zero Covid and the “Future Green List”

October 5, 2020

New Zealand lockdown

This is not working, this is not living and we shouldn’t accept any plan that doesn’t have us working towards a return to our normal lives – shopping without masks, having people to dinner from more than one household, having parties, going to gigs and the theatre… looking at others without judgement 24/7.

We need to go for Zero Covid just like they have managed it in New Zealand, but this can only happen if we do everything to starve the virus and ONLY do this if we have international cooperation with other countries that wish to be part of a “Future Green List“.

But it’s easy for them in New Zealand….they are different.” (Really?)

I hate when I hear people saying this is not possible “because of politics“.

When we think it’s not possible this is the first problem, because it is absolutely possible.

Which country in the world is sailing through this pandemic without people living in fear, getting sick, dying and their economies in free-fall?

We all have something in common, don’t we? – The prize for getting this right is big, it is GIGANTIC.

Background:

Please listen to some excellent podcasts hosted by Eamon Dunphy, The Stand with various guests who give some valuable perspectives to support this argument/approach: 

Dr. Niall Conroy, Consultant in Public Medicine in Queensland, talks to Eamon about how the combination of strong leadership and listening to the doctors suppressed Covid-19 across Australia.

Prof. Gerry Killeen, Chair of Applied Pathogen Ecology in UCC – Unless We Abandon Our Defeatist Strategy We’re Looking at 35,000 Deaths

Tomás Ryan, Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience – Get Real or Get Ready for a Terrible Winter

So…how do we do this?

  • We find out which countries want to be Covid free and want to restore normal life and their economies again – anyone interested?

Some strong common sense leadership is required for this part!

  • Then we agree a ‘Future Green List’ and put a target date for this to happen.
  • Let’s say 25th December, Christmas Day is the goal and at that point the objective is that countries in this ‘Future Green List’ are 100% back to normal: YEP – 100% BACK TO NORMAL!

Imagine living normally and being able to travel freely between these countries and doing all the things that we are dangerously close to forgetting?

For some stupid reason that idea seems preposterous right now, the most ridiculous, rubbish thinking by a mad man….right? It isn’t, listen to podcast with Dr. Niall Conroy, about a place with a population larger than Ireland. 

  • Once we agree who is in that ‘Future Green List’ each country closes their borders except for essential travel and a proper 14 day quarantine programme is put in place for other travellers.
  • Then each country goes about doing the hard yards to bring us to Zero Covid and try desperately to get everyone back to a “We are in this together” place, which has long since disappeared.

The 25th December, Christmas day, seeing friends and family normally might be a great motivator?

If we believe in the goal and witness the progress, people will hopefully stay the course.

I’ll gladly take that, if it is leading us towards a tangible worthwhile goal that we can all believe in, which certainly is nothing like where we are now, society is choking as we drift rudderless towards nowhere.

  • When Ireland hits Zero Covid we maintain our borders and start living again, fully living (not this current version)
  • When Spain hits Zero Covid we can open our borders to Spain and vice versa.
  • When the UK hits their Zero Covid we open to them and so on and so on

The countries outside the Green List will work hard to be on the list and will know how to get there from those who have got there – New Zealand have shown us what is possible.

If there are (inevitable) bumps along the way, just like in New Zealand you hunt them down and stamp them out just like they have done.

Are we in?

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