Tag Archives: thank you

On Being Kind

Be Kind

An opportunity arose this week for me to give a talk at the Chartered Institute of Marketing. My friend Sukh had been due to speak, and for family reasons he needed to be elsewhere. I was therefore offered a chance to help a friend and stretch my creative muscles – thank you.

The brief for the talk was “how can marketers challenge the status quo within their organisations – specifically how to discover the hero inside yourself and become an agent for change within your own organisation”. I confess I’m not big on heroes – most of mine are flawed, and there’s a danger of aspiring to these seemingly mythical creatures. But change agency, that’s my life. It’s what I do, it’s what I am.

I didn’t have the luxury of time to build something from scratch and rehearse it, so I used my Principles of Work as the backbone for the talk. Relevant, simple, handmade visual aids. I am an artist (keep saying it, keep saying it – one day it won’t feel wrong).

I was on after Eamon Fitzgerald from Naked Wines who gave an interesting talk on how Naked Wines is changing the wine business through its angel investment model, and how employees are trusted to deliver a great customer experience. Eamon did a great job – nothing like a little gentle, self inflicted pressure excitement to get the adrenalin going.

I’m on my feet, and in the moment I decided to pass the hero challenge back to the audience. I invited them to talk – not about their heroes as individuals, but rather to discuss the behaviours that heroes demonstrate. We were in a large room at the University of Westminster – there are an abundance of whiteboards on the walls so I asked people to transcribe the essence of their heroes conversations for all to see. In those moments, we cocreated a story.

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I added this to the mix…

Simple does not equal easy

…and off we went.

I’ll not bore you with the detail, but the time passed in a blur – we covered listening, experimenting, presence, leading by example, cocreation and more. Above all – three things stood out.

Small things make a big difference. The importance of gentle, repeated persistence.

Taking responsibility – in fact, embracing it. Absorbing negative feedback and blame, offering thanks in return, and finding ways to improve myself, yourself first. Don’t get me wrong – this is really hard – and if you can endure the initial desire to protect yourself and shift from apportioning blame to taking responsibility – you, and those around you will discover and do great things.

Kindness – in particular the ability to be kind to yourself. You know I struggle with this – and last night I had surges of imposter syndrome, even though people were smiling with me, talking, taking notes and cocreating an engaging environment. And in my head, the occasional scratch at the door of doubt…why am I here…why are they listening…I’m not good enough.

The talk over, I stayed a while for some informal Q&A, as did Eamon. People were kind to me, and I lent heavily on the words thank you as a way of accepting that kindness.

I got home late – and this morning in my inbox there’s some lovely feedback:

Hi Eamon and Doug

Many thanks for two riveting sessions tonight – it’s not just me saying that, I’ve attached the results of the feedback survey and you’ll be very pleased to see a plethora of 5s for both of you. Two of the best sessions of our current events season!

Someone, I don’t know who, added this.

Loved Doug’s speech. Innovative and simple content made it perfect. Truly inspiring.

Normally I’d come up with a dozen reasons why I don’t deserve this, but not today. To the person who sent this note, I say thank you for your kindness, I am happy things went well.


Thank You

Thank you for the conversation : Connection gives us meaning, conversations are the bond.

Thank you for the inspiration.

Thank you for the work – we’ve learned so much this year eh?

Thank you for the remuneration.

Thank you for the criticism – With your help I’ve really enjoyed focussing on understanding and taking a share of responsibility. When others see this in me – it gives them confidence that there are better ways to work than simply blaming one another.

Thank you for the encouragement – 2015 is the year I finally admitted proclaimed* I’m an artist – it feels good.

Staine Glass I and Stained Glass II

Thank you.

* Edit: My friend Janet Webb tweeted me after reading the post and had this to say:

Janet Webb Tweet

I love this observation and have amended the post accordingly 😉

Let’s Make The Future…

Paul Hebert and Doug Shaw…Look Like The Past We Want.

Paul Hebert (that’s him on the left) wrote something on Facebook in the run up to Christmas. I love what he wrote and Paul kindly agreed I could repost it here. Before that…

Thank You

Thanks to each and every one of you who has popped by to read and comment on the blog this year. Thanks to each and every one of you who has shown faith and confidence in me through hiring What Goes Around and investing in Stop Doing Dumb Things. Thanks to each and every one of you who has inspired me. Without people, you’re nothing.

Everything is mixed feelings. So thanks for the anger, thanks for the laughs. Thanks for the hate, thanks for the love.

Happy New Year. 2014 is packed with possibilities, and my hope is that as you discover them – you either act on them, or have the generosity to give them to someone else who will act on them. Proceed until apprehended. Thank you.


When you ask me to share some ideas, or to quote you for some work, please give me feedback. If I’ve made the approach then that’s my choice, my investment. In those instances I’d still appreciate feedback but hey, I started it and you can’t have everything. But if you started it – don’t leave me hanging around, please.

When we work together – please pay me promptly. Me chasing you for money you owe demeans us both. Please don’t make me do that.

When I make a mistake, tell me and give me the chance to put it right. Please.

When someone comes to you with a new idea, when that person is taking a risk – support them. Please.

Don’t be a jerk, at least not too often. Please.

Happy New Year. 2014 is packed with possibilities, and my hope is that as you discover them – you either act on them, or have the generosity to give them to someone else who will act on them. Proceed until apprehended. Please.

Everything I want for Christmas I Can’t Have – by Paul Hebert

My Christmas list is full of things I really, really want but can’t have any more.
I’m not happy with that.

I want…

My kids to be 5 and 7 again so they can do Christmas cookies poorly and still enjoy the process.

To see the kids lose it again when they get that $15 present that absolutely freakin rocks their world (and via their reaction – rocks mine.)

The last 15 years back so I can spend more time with them.

To go back and do more for my wife on Christmas – not spend more- DO more. It really is about the thought.

To reinforce more traditions and be less easy going about letting folks skip out on decorating the tree or the cookies.

To go back and save more money so we could fly home to see our parents (the Grandparents) more often instead of using that as an excuse to stay home.

To decorate the house more – to let the glow of the lights fill not only the yard but my spirit with just a little more holiday cheer.

To have spent more time on charity work than mall shopping.

To be able for my wife to spend Christmas with her parents – she misses them.

To spend more Christmases with my Dad – miss him too.

To go back about 30 years and tell myself to not pick up that cigarette – and I want to go back a year and not be diagnosed with cancer.

I want, I want, I want.
Sounds so selfish doesn’t it?

Compare that to what I have…

A wife who is more a Saint than many who have already been Canonized.

Children that still say they love me at the end of a phone call and still hug me (my 20 year old boy too) when they leave to go back to college.

A house that is warm.

A tree that is decorated.

A wonderfully fattening Christmas dinner in my immediate future.

A CAT scan with the words at the bottom that say… “No evidence of metastatic disease.”

My Mom – my brothers and sisters – my in laws and the nieces and nephews on both sides of the family.

And finally – I have the ability to start doing many of the things I wished I’d had done before.

So… Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this.

Focus on the things you can DO – not the things you haven’t done. That is my Christmas wish this year.

Let’s all be happier, healthier and wiser.

Let’s make the future look like the past we want.