Archive for the ‘Self Help’ Category

Figuring out the Cloud

July 12, 2014

Painting by James Malmgren

I need to admit it to myself ..I’ve been a little down for the last month or so and it has affected me, my form, the way I have been towards others, my general outlook towards things and how I have reacted to some stuff that has gone on.

That cloud seemed to drift in from somewhere without me spotting it and it seemed to get a little darker and it managed to park itself right over my head.

I’ve tried to figure this cloud out and I put it down to a bunch of things, each in their own way probably feeding into the next thing.

I reckon it all started with Stevie Gerrard slipping against Chelsea in a crucial match, which led to a defeat and a Liverpool title win dream shattered. This stupidly got me down..I guess we invest emotionally in the things we care about and even though its just football it got to me. It makes no sense that a football team in a different country can mean so much to you but ..there you go!

Then there is the really irritating sore knee that came along out of the blue one day we were walking the dogs about two months ago. I thought it would clear up by itself naturally, I thought resting up while we were on holidays would sort it out but it didn’t.

This soreness has made the simple walks I took for granted every Saturday and Sunday with friends a misery, it has caused lots of irritating discomfort, it has limited what I have been able to do lately including what we were able to do when we were on holidays. The stupid thing still hasn’t got much better, which truthfully is making me feel like an old man. “Wear and tear” is what the doctor said after x-rays and an MRI. I’m trying all sorts of vitamins, ointments, exercises and shoe inserts to try to sort the damn thing.

A few other normal everyday work things got me down that I would normally just deal with and not let bother me. I’ve been cranky and those around me aren’t getting the best of me and I know it.

This is a strange place for me as I am normally very positive and can see the bright side in most things.

Logically I know everything is great and I know that I am one of the luckiest people alive. I have a great life, a fantastic wife, two incredible kids, a terrific family, great friends and a thriving business, that I am really proud of.  My stupid knee I’m sure will be better in no time (hurry up will ya!) and Liverpool post Suarez ..lets see.

The cloud has cleared away and no doubt it will find someone else to park itself over, possibly someone with a lot more serious stuff going on than me.

Watch out for that cloud…

Note: The gorgeous picture ‘Man on a Pier’ is by an artist from Sweden called Jens Malmgren – check out his website for this and much more. 

Greg Canty

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullys and the funny thing about being different

May 4, 2014

Dare to be different

This week I was at a really great event organised by the Diana Award, which is the only charity bearing the name of the former Princess of Wales inspired by her belief that young people have the power to change toe world for the better.

The event was held at the European Headquarters of Facebook in Dublin and it was part of the Diana Award schools Anti bullying programme. In their very effective programme they organise activities in schools to help eradicate bullying and as part of that they quite cleverly appoint and train anti-bullying ambassadors in the school.

The ambassadors are chosen from the students themselves and judging from the results we witnessed in the videos the programmes have been very effective. We were invited to the event because of our Safebook poster, which has been used by many of the participating schools as part of their anti cyber-bullying work.

There was one huge common thread to the speeches and stories that I heard on the day.

Tessy Ojo the CEO of Diana Award spoke about being bullied as a child because she was so tall.

Brian McFadden of Westlife fame spoke about being bullied because he liked stage and dance when all his schoolmates were playing football.

Young actor Will Poulter spoke about being bullied because he was into acting.

We heard some of the young children speak in the videos about being bullied because they had red hair, because they had freckles, because they were chubby or because they were black.

The one thing that pretty much everyone being bullied had in common was that they were different in some way – being different in any way can get you bullied!

I was chatting about this event with my son, Brendan and he sent me on a link to a video produced by a really popular guy online, 19 year old Cian Twomey about how he has been cyberbullied. Cian is really popular, producing funny clever videos and on Facebook alone he has built up a following of over 180,000 since late last year.

In his video he explains how along with huge numbers of followers he seems to be gathering ‘haters‘ as he gains in popularity, which really hurts him in particular when they get really nasty. One person was so horrible they even referred to Cian’s father who had recently passed away. Is this another case of someone being bullied because they are different?

Being different

Ironically in our work at Fuzion with clients the first thing we do with clients is find out how they are different!

Being different is what makes you stand out, it’s what makes you interesting – whether its a product, a service or the individuals involved we aways look for how these are different and this is where the magic is, that sets you and your business apart from from the competitors. This difference will get you media coverage and attention from customers and will contribute to your success.

The most successful musicians, artists, models, designers, products and services are the ones that are different.

So …if you are being bullied because you are a little bit different just realise that this is what makes you really special and in time you will be the one getting the right attention.

Vive la Différence (long live difference) as the French would say ! 

Greg Canty

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

 

 

 

 

Balancing those debits and credits!

November 11, 2013

Work, Life Balance

Where did that time go?

31 years ago this boy was a raw, innocent 18 year old working as a junior accountant in a mid sized accountancy practice on the South Mall in Cork. At this stage I was two months into my apprentice and I was learning the basics.

Ironically, I had done Economics and Business Organisation in secondary school so Accounting was brand new to me!

For every debit there had to be a corresponding credit was the golden rule – if you got that, your accounts would always balance. If they didn’t balance something was wrong and you had to search for your mistake.

It’s probably easier for everyone now with the computers and the accountancy packages – we had to do it all manually with ledgers in my day. Imagine trying to dig through that lot to find where you went wrong..

I was in practice for 6 years and then went onto industry and eventually swapped the accountancy role for a general management one and that was the official end of my debits and credits (except for my own projects at least).

That debits and credits discipline always stood to me and I do think accountancy and the privilege of working with so many businesses at at a young age was the best business degree anyone I could ever hope for.

You listen and learn from clients, you understand the drivers of their businesses and you use your expertise to help them. In many ways I do exactly the same now except the expertise is quite different and I don’t have to worry about those debits and credits.

The strange thing is that life is full of debits and credits and it too must balance and if it doesn’t something is wrong.

I’ve been working hard all morning …. head out for a nice coffee

My crew work their socks off ….  take them for lunch on Friday

I’ve been stuck in that proposal for hours …. time for a stroll and fresh air

We’ve been working hard all year …. where will we go for our Christmas party?

Work, work, work …. spend time with friends, meet the kids, visit the folks

Busy doing stuff for everyone else …. get tickets for that gig

I’ve been working my socks off all year …. maybe a new car at the start of the year?

Whatever you do today make sure you balance your books!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Can Win Happy work?

June 23, 2013

Fuzion team

It was a gorgeous summer Saturday in Cork and I was strolling around the city with Dee and my two kids.

Everyone was in great form and I knew I should have been but I was miserable and my head was bursting – work was killing me. I had been caught in the middle of a corporate crossfire for over two years between the joint owners and unfortunately this was a no win situation for me.

I was the General Manager and I could have had an easy life if I toed the line, kept my head down, settled for the status quo, played the politics and enjoyed the benefits. This wasn’t me ….I was miserable!

On that Saturday afternoon, 10 years ago I decided I was handing in my notice (handing back my new Saab and turning my back on a hefty salary) and it was the day Win Happy was born.

Win Happy

Fuzion teamThis has been my goal ever since – never again did I want to spend a minute feeling miserable about my work.

It is really important to me that happiness is at the heart of what I do every single day.

Happiness for me is working in a place that I love, doing work that I enjoy, with great people and for clients that I respect.

Utopia?

I guess in a way it is Utopian but why not have that as a goal?

I will be the first to admit that it isn’t always that way but mostly we get pretty close.

Happy..

I do love what I do (except for some horrible admin work every now and then), we work for who we want (we don’t answer to any head office or anything like that, we can accept or even reject work if we choose) and we have carefully chosen a group of really good people to work with.

Every Friday we break bread together as part of a sacred lunch routine we have, which we call Fuzion Friday.

I believe that if you get all of that right you end up with an atmosphere that creates the perfect conditions for great work ..for winning.

Win?

Kerrie & DeeHappy is the first part of my philosophy. I am very driven and while I am not motivated by money I do want to be successful in our profession and this is where the satisfaction from Winning comes into it.

We work extremely hard and we keep ourselves up to date with trends and developments. We carefully choose talented people for our team and we make sure they understand the Fuzion way.

Together we work hard to get results for our clients even if this means us doing more than we are contracted for.

If a talented team, in a happy environment, work hard for clients then you should get lots of wins. Winning leads to more business – simple!

This philosophy has stood us well since the business started and in the 10 years that I have been with Fuzion we have continued to grow our business and our team, mostly with a smile.

#WinHappy

Can it work? – Tell me what you think?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Social Media – Teach or Preach?

January 28, 2013

Cyberbullying

Like most people I am very concerned about the whole topic of Cyberbullying and the effect it has been having on some of our young people.

After the tragic suicides recently we decided to do our part and we produced a simple info graphic called “safebook” , which is an easy guide for young people. Our objective was to encourage the safe and responsible use of social media and at the same time provide clear advice to people who may be faced with a bullying situation.

Safebook Poster - CyberbullyingOur poster struck a chord with people all over the world – it’s been downloaded in over 100 countries, which I put down to its simplicity and I believe it is helping parents and teachers to have sensible conversations about the responsible use of social media with their children.

Our activity in this area has brought us into contact with many teachers, schools and organisations and I can see the considerable efforts that are being made to control and deal with the issue. I am watching the training programmes, I can see the liaison with the authorities and government agencies and I can see how schools are making attempts to block the use of these platforms and do their best to cope with the situation.

I have also heard presentations from Facebook who are attempting to deal with this huge issue, introduce controls and mechanisms to help people report incidents and inappropriate behaviour.

On one side I’m watching all of the downside – the social media concern, the “control” activity but what about the huge upside?

Social media is now a really valuable life skill that we all should learn – most of our clients would grab job applicants who are social media savvy. Is there a dilemma?

Teaching Social MediaTeach not Preach!

From my considerable exposure to this huge Cyberbullying issue my conclusion is that we need to embrace the social media tools from a sensible, early age and we should encourage the positive use of these platforms in schools (probably the best place to ensure this happens).

How about:
– students publishing their essays on their own personal blogs
– classes that show the children how to set up their social media accounts including their privacy settings
– setting up Facebook groups for use by each of the classes
– setting up Twitter accounts for the Economics, History, Science and Geography classes and following and interacting with other relevant accounts to facilitate learning and staying up to date with current issues

At the same time I do feel that the social media providers must self regulate, put in the controls and aids, be proactive around privacy settings and act sensibly – however, the main solution is in the users hands.

While I know it won’t be easy, while I know it will require a lot of training, I know social media is a valuable skill, which will be critical to every young person in the future.

Why not concentrate on teaching and forget the preaching?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion.

Fuzion provide social media consultancy and training services from the offices in Dublin and Cork.

Jimmy Saville – the price of staying silent

October 24, 2012
Jimmy Saville

Untouchable ?

Oh my god, it’s all over the TV and radio – that image of the man with the mad hair, the big glasses and the ever present giant cigar.

Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, OBE, KCSG was an English disc jockey, television presenter and media personality who passed away at the age of 84- this is how he is described on Wikipedia.

No doubt the description and the extra information that is generated about him on that site will expand and change quite substantially as the next few months unravel.

The investigations into the case will continue and no doubt the level of revelations will increase exponentially. This is a truly shocking case and it seems unbelievable that so many victims and witnesses stayed silent allowing this behaviour to continue over and over, drawing more and more innocent victims into his net.

Now that “Jim Will Fix It” is dead many victims and witnesses are prepared to divulge the most sordid of information about him.

Why could people not have opened their mouths earlier is an obvious question to ask? How many victims would have been saved from the most horrible, sordid, predatory experiences if this was the case?

The truth is people are and were frightened – would they be believed, would they be supported, would they be crushed for “speaking out” without sufficient proof, would they find themselves in trouble, would it be better to just stay silent? Even better .. I don’t want to get involved!

Some of the “silent many” were innocent and vulnerable victims. Others were senior media figures, his friends and his peers who lived through this period and in many cases according to reports actually witnessed some of the incidents.

Many innocent people paid a huge price for this silence in the case of Jimmy Saville. We are seeing so many other instances of people paying a huge price for silence in some many other areas. We help them to get away with their behaviour, we help them to be untouchable. The vulnerable must feel safe enough to talk and everyone else who knows better must be compelled to.

We need to look carefully at our legal systems, our values, our structures and figure out who we are really protecting ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

When you come undone

October 10, 2012
Duran Duran - The Wedding Album

Who do you need?

I was listening to the incredible song by Duran DuranCome Undone“, which is on their excellent (1993) Wedding Album – the album is actually untitled but there are wedding photos (these are actually pictures of the band members parent’s wedding photos) on the cover!

This gorgeous song has some very profound lyrics that stop me in my tracks every time I hear them:

Who do you need, who do you love, when you come undone?

I think that is a huge question that we all should think about ..

What’s your answer? …..look after them, give them a call today.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Are you doing Laps or going on a Journey?

July 7, 2012
Ballincollig Park, Cork

Laps or a Journey?

Often at weekends we meet our great friends Tommy and Joan Doyle down at the gorgeous Ballincollig Park in Cork.

It’s a huge facility with the River Lee flowing through it, it has football fields, river walks and the ruins from the Gunpowder Mills can be seen as you explore the different spots at the park.

When we go there myself and Dee like to take a full route around the park, moving from the first football field, along the river, exploring the fields further back and coming back via the river letting Bing (our four legged creature) to have a little splash and a drink.

We wander back via the main entrance and have a cuppa and a bun at the fabulous Cafe Chico (Margaret runs a terrific little business there). It’s a nice route and for the most part we don’t revisit any part of the park.

When we meet up with Tommy and Joan we always end up having an argument – Tommy is obsessed with doing laps!! I can’t stand it ….he is happy to do a particular walk at the start of the park and repeat it 10 times.

Tommy is a true Irish GAA legend, winner of 7 senior All Ireland Medals with Kerry, so I guess he spent a lifetime doing laps as part of his training, which is engrained into him (we have a funny friendship as I have zero interest in GAA – we started as workmates).

Sometimes we win the argument and we get  to take our route but often we end up doing his laps routine – it really is mindless repetition, it’s so boring, over and over. I really can’t stand it and only for Tommy’s colourful conversation (he is a great character despite his obsession with laps and routine) we’d never survive it! When we meet them in the evening it’s even a battle to get Tommy to go some place new or try something different.

I get really frustrated and it makes me wonder – why bother doing laps when you can go on a journey?

Isn’t life often like this as we can end up repeating ourselves over and over, the same routine, the same job, the same clients, the same restaurants, the same shops, the same holiday locations, the same walks on a Saturday!

Sometimes routine is safe, comforting and dependable but at times we do have to break out and try something new. In the current climate change was forced on a lot of us and often people will tell you that the change has been a breath of fresh air.

I reflect back on my own journey and in many respects it has been colourful with lots of interesting twists and turns both personal and professional and of course I probably have done a few laps too many in some cases!

Tommy Doyle, GAA Star, Kerry  - 21st September 1986 v Tyrone

What a Journey!

I think of my buddy Tommy and his obsession with laps and then when I Google him I see him holding up the Sam Maguire cup as Captain of the Kerry team  in 1986 in front of a crowd of 60,000 people! How many have taken that journey?

Today I must do something new …

Are you doing laps or going on a Journey?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion PR

Fuzion are a Marketing and PR Firm with Offices in Cork and Dublin

Are the people in your “Church” allowed to speak?

February 9, 2012
Eulogy

Are you allowed to speak?

Tommy “The Scouser” called me to say that he had a little piece written out for the funeral of our Auntie May who he was particularly close to. It wasn’t a full eulogy but it was a really short piece that perfectly summed up the character and spirit of our fabulous aunt. He was really upset reading it to me.

He wanted to read it at the funeral mass but wasn’t sure if he could manage actually saying it without getting really upset. If that was the case he wanted to know that I was in reserve to read it for him. I knew he would be fine but agreed in any case.

On the day of the funeral I was asked would I do a reading along with some of the other family members. I did my piece and I wondered what was going on as the funeral mass drew to an end and there was no sign of “The Scouser” going up to the altar – maybe he decided he wasn’t up to it after all?..I wondered.

The funeral party moved on to the cemetery where Auntie May was laid to rest as the priest said the final prayers. Just as he finished I noticed Tommy making his way to the microphone (much to the surprise of the priest) and he did May proud by reading his beautiful and very emotional piece, which was greeted by a huge round of applause from everyone standing in the sunshine in the peaceful country graveyard.

This was a really special moment as it was the only true occasion during the whole funeral process where the family put a “personal” stamp on the proceedings, where a “real” voice was heard and in some small way he said what we had all felt and wanted to say.

I wondered why Tommy had left it so late in the day to read his piece and was totally shocked to hear that the priest in question “did not allow” people to say such things and would not allow it at the mass!

This has left me bewildered and quite furious and while I know it is not the usual behaviour of the church it does give you an insight into some of the odd and very old and traditional thinking that has turned so many people against them in recent times.

Whose church is it anyway I thought? Whose memory were we all honouring?

The more I thought about this the more I reflected on all the other organisations where there are people that have very important things to say but just aren’t allowed. It’s easy to lose sight of what an organisation is about and its even easier to block the real important voices from being heard.

Are the people in your “Church” allowed to speak?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Is the Grind worth it?

February 1, 2012
Tired Runner

Is the Grind worth it?

In recent months I have posted about the importance of following your passion and also about avoiding the trap of a job that does not provide fulfilment. Isn’t there a huge personal risk in letting that happen?

I received a response to one of these posts that really moved me and it did make me think long and hard about the grind of working for yourself.

Interesting sentiments Greg. Having always run my own businesses and taken risks from the perspective “you’ll regret what you didn’t do” this is something I’ve reflected upon a lot – At one stage I left a very cushy public sector job and we then went through very tough times as the recession hit.

It’s very hard to comfortably make a good living in Ireland now – fair play to anyone who can make more than they could in the corporate world once all salaries, outgoings etc. are paid. I’ve gone back into the corporate world and am making more than I did at my business at the peak of the boom- with none of the recent stress.

At the end of the day all that matters is your ability to educate your children and give them a decent lifestyle. I would guess that that guy at Guinness slept easy at night and his kids have never wanted for anything.

If you have a true vocation it makes sense to do what you do best – and follow that path. However most small business and startups are struggling – I see people grind away for years, barely surviving – and this is not a good place to be over the long term.

When I read this I started to feel a little guilty that maybe I am being a little disrespectful with my blog posts to all of those who have tried their utmost and despite everything it just still has not worked out for them.

I’ve been reflecting on this ..

If you find a better life working for someone else then well done to you – I hope that in Fuzion we are giving our team a good life.

If you find yourself without work then I would encourage you to take control of the situation and  try to start off something for yourself. It is hard but it can be great fun (and yes…very worrying and stressful at times).

But, someone somewhere always has to be the starter..

If you try and it doesn’t work … well done, at least it was your grind.

What do you think?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion