Thursday, 28 February 2013

My motto on life

Cry at least once a week (normally in front of the TV but not essential)
Blog or write every day without fail (you're reading that one)
Tell someone you care about them (preferably someone you actually care about)
Laugh until it hurts (did this on holiday and remembered how good it was)
Read something inspiring (all suggestions gratefully received)

N.B. All of these are one a week unless stated otherwise.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I'm off out on a first date tonight

I'm going on a date tonight. Not been on one for years. I'm hoping the conversation will flow and I don't make a complete arse out of myself.

Don't worry I'm not having an affair or anything sordid like that. The wife and I have decided to invest in our marriage. Sounds a bit clinical put like that but have you ever considered what a false economy it is not making an effort once a week to pay for a babysitter and to get yourselves out of the house.

Tonight we are doing nothing more crazy than going to a bar in Saltaire. Next week we are off for lunch at a vineyard in Holmfirth. The week after the cinema.

We will take it in turns to organise what it is each week. The budget to pay for the childcare (we don't have relatives nearby) is being justified on the basis that were we to split up the separation would be far more expensive. Not to mention the emotional cost and turmoil obviously.

Sound a bit extreme? Maybe. But think it through. How easy is it to forget why you got together in the first place? Back in the day when you were free and single. No responsibilities, no kids to tend to, no work getting in the way of going out. Didn't know we were born did we?

The other option is waiting until the kids have left home before we start going out with each other again. But what if we really have run out of things to say by then or simply grown apart? 

So there you have it. Wish me luck. If it doesn't go well tonight I may need one of you to join me for lunch next week.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Day six of 365

Ok I admit it I'm only six days in and I'm already finding it a challenge to blog a thought of the day every day.

It's not that I don't have lots of thoughts each day it is simply picking ones worth sharing that don't end up being really repetitive or desperately dull or both.

I was struck again today though how a new North/South divide is opening up but not based on geography or where you live but more those connected to the Web and those who aren't.

The digital divide is very real, and will hit some harder than others. It will mean large sections of society will be prevented from receiving the same standard of education (homework is going online), will find it harder to apply for jobs or benefits, harder to compare prices and save money, do their banking, and access local services - call centres are moving to self help websites.

On the positive side Newsnight also ran an interesting piece last night about energy in Africa with a focus on the Rift Valley in Kenya.

They are seeking to harness steam power but not from burning coal as we did during the industrial revolution but by tapping the steam from underneath the Valley itself.

They reckon seventy per cent of Kenya's power will come from Green or renewable sources in the next ten years. But more importantly its citizens will have reliable energy enabling them in their millions to join the digital revolution.

I think I read it in +Chrisbrogan's book (see my earlier blog) that one billion more people will be online by then. One billion more human minds sharing their thoughts and ideas and helping solve the problems of tomorrow. A staggering thought in itself. Just think what will be possible.

One billion more blogs like mine trying to vie for your attention.

Oh. It has its down sides too I guess.

Monday, 25 February 2013

First day back at school

I had that first day back at school feeling today.

Day one in my new job, albeit for the same company I've worked for more than ten years, although I'm now sat with different people on another floor.

I wheeled my little drawers up to the new department placing my Facebook 'like' glove next to my new desk in an attempt to make my mark.

If I'm honest though I was actually a little nervous.

Being the sensitive soul that I am I worried being away from the busy and bustling press office could mean I'm quickly forgotten. 

Daft really, but it was a good reminder of the importance of walking the floors, seizing every opportunity to talk to colleagues about what I do and why.

But putting aside my healthy dose of paranoia, I'm also relishing the honeymoon period you get in a new job when the phone isn't ringing off the hook and people aren't emailing you every ten seconds or banging down the door (not that we have doors in our open plan offices).

I know it won't last long so I'm going to try and make the most of it while I can.

I also got confirmation of my trip to Orlando next week and where I'll be staying.

My hotel is at Sea World of all places. I'm hoping my room overlooks the clapping sea lions balancing footballs on their noses. Seems rather apt. Although it is going to be extremely hard work it will be even harder to convince people I'm not just going on a jolly.

That said someone asked me recently whether I was off to America for work or pleasure. I said "hopefully it is going to be both". After all who said you cant have fun while working?

As my dad used to say (although I later found out he'd borrowed it from Confucius), if you find a job you love you'll never work another day in your life.

Now that I like.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Heading back to blighty

This holiday has conformed to all the stereotypes. Relaxing, plenty of sunshine, quiet time away from the kids while they run riot in the soft play centre, more fillet steak than is healthy, and a fair amount of vino.

It's the first holiday I can remember going on where I felt like I actually really needed it. The final few weeks in my old job in PR were the busiest of my career. A good send off perhaps. But also brought into sharp focus the decision I made 18 months ago to change direction.

The last year or so has seen huge changes in my working life and personal life. And I'm pleased to say there is now a happy equilibrium. My bi-weekly radio presenting continues to feed my mental health (a term still wrongly shrouded in negative connotations).

I'm excited about the year ahead. Next week I fly to Orlando for a global marketing meeting. In April to San Diego for a social media conference. It's not the travelling I'm relishing it's knowing that the people I will be meeting with are going to inspire me.

I'm also determined to finish my book and get it published.

So plenty to do but I can't wait to get started.

Finally, have to say 'come on City'. Hope you win the cup. Would be great for my adopted home town.

See you back in blighty.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

My take on the infamous midlife crisis

I've been attempting to chronicle my transition from young to old as I approach middle age. It started on my 36th birthday when I set out on a journey to complete 37 resolutions in a year. It was all in a vain attempt to prevent the inevitable midlife crisis. I say inevitable, but is the concept of a crisis in your middle age simply a matter of time or is it a figment of our collective imaginations? 

There are plenty of Western studies that have tried to establish if it actually exists. According to one, only 23 per cent of Americans said they’d actually had one, with eight per cent (of the 23 per cent) attributing it to the emotional turmoil of realising they were no longer young. The remaining 15 per cent said they had experienced a turbulent period in their middle years but the crisis was caused by significant life transitions - not by aging itself.

Well, assuming all that’s true, the study still suggests nearly one in four men have had a midlife crisis, or have got one on the way, and bear in mind the study is based on people admitting it in the first place, there could be loads more like me who are simply in denial or it is yet to take hold.

Among the events that sent lives into a tailspin were 'divorce, loss of a job, the death of a child, the serious illness of a close relative or friend or severe financial problems'. Millions and millions of people in the Western World whose lives have been turned upside down through no fault of their own, albeit some of the divorces may have been self-inflicted and who knows what the financial difficulties were a result of.

The point is as men approach middle age many have a wobble. Therefore my philosophy is to try and get ahead of it.

I figure it is wise to prepare for this life changing episode rather than just waiting for it to happen by inserting lots of positive disruption. Hence the setting of 37 resolutions. I'm now 38 and a quarter, and I still haven't completed all the resolutions, but the process has been life changing in a good way. I've made new friends, got to know my family better, travelled more, written two thirds of a book (about this topic), jumped off a bridge, changed jobs, become a local radio presenter and stacks more.

My hope is to inspire more men like me to do something similar, so that my resolutions weren't in vain after all.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Swipe writing instead of typing

So I've just worked out how to do swipe writing on my phone (Samsung SIII).

It is one of those things that seems completely mad until you actually try it and realise how intuitive it is and how quick it is compared to tapping individual keys.

Apparently it also begins to learn what you were trying to type even when you swipe the wrong way.

It is one of those things that becomes completely normal overnight then you struggle to remember what life was like before.

I'm still learning the ropes but so far so good.

Technology rocks. But as always it took someone to show me in person before I gave it a go.

If you have a Samsung you should seriously give it a try.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I'm reading The Impact Equation on holiday

I've started reading the Impact Equation by @ChrisBrogan and Julien Smith It is my type of book. Easy to grasp, loads of practical tips, and really inspiring.

I've already acted on one piece of advice and taken a wild swing at a bigger goal. It paid off and as a result I'm off to Orlando next month to a meeting that a year ago I wouldn't have dreamt possible. Bring it on.

Time will tell whether my new found enthusiasm will falter. But I'm hoping the combination of leaving a very stressful job in PR and starting my new dream job in social media will set me in good stead. Being on holiday probably helps too.