What do you stand for?

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The majority of people on this planet have a voice and its up to each and every one of us how we use it. To me the important thing is that we all use it. Regardless of how big or small your voice, it should be used and used in the right way. Never forget that many little voices together can make a big noise.

If someone you knew were asked to say what you stood for, what do you think they would say? If you are passionate about something, do you let other people know? One way we make a difference and impact in this world is by letting others know how we feel and think. You are more powerful and influential than you think, your circle of friends and family will be affected by what you say and the way you think so make sure you do let them know what you think. Just by impacting one friend, which could then impact to their circle of friends and so on and so on.

Action

This weekend some friends of mine have organised a walk through the city of Plymouth to raise awareness of modern day slavery as part of a global effort to one day see an end of human trafficking. These guys saw injustice, were passionate about doing something to help and are making their voices heard. The great thing about this event is that it will see many people coming together in solidarity, in one voice, who will through their actions spread the news of human trafficking through their community.

As many on you who read this blog regularly will know I am passionate about improving dementia care and awareness around the world. If any of my friends were asked what I was passionate about, I hope that the main response that came back was something dementia related. The only way I am going to make sure that happens is by being bold, loud and outgoing with my thoughts and actions. I am proud to be making a stand for dementia and I would be even prouder to be recognised as someone that is making a difference in that area.

Power

Remember you don’t have to stand for what other people stand for. You don’t have to stand for what is popular but as the saying goes ‘if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.’ Never under estimate the power of your voice and your actions. Your voice and actions can be as loud and big as you want them to be. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your opinions don’t matter and that your voice can’t be heard.

Getting your name out there

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If you want to be noticed and recognised for something you do, you have to be prepared to put the work in. Unless you are out there telling the world about what it is you are doing, people aren’t going to know what you are doing and how good you are at something.

Taking notice

You could have created the best product, the best piece of art, the best company, the best charity, the best sports team etc. but just because something is good, it doesn’t mean people are going to take notice.

It’s like with my book at the moment. Unless I get out there and promote it – no one is going to know about it. With my book, the more people that know about it, the more lives it has the chance to impact. Something being great isn’t going to change and impact lives, it’s people knowing about it that is going to change lives.

Being the best self-promoter

Once you have a great reputation, people will get to know about you and your work through word of mouth but until you have that platform you have to be brave and be the biggest self-promoter on the planet. If you want something to take off you can’t be shy. You have to be prepared for people to laugh in your face, to criticize and to not want to listen. You can’t have too much pride, you have to keep moving, keep smiling and above everything believe in yourself.

I am constantly emailing people, ringing people and tweeting people to try and get the word out there. I am trying to make connections with influencers in the marketplace and get them on board. I am trying to get endorsements, features in publications and opportunities to speak at events. These are the key ways I have to drive this book forward. I’m not going to get that good review or endorsement that propels the book forward without going out there and finding it.

Right audience

Your life can change just by getting yourself in front of the right audience; so don’t stop until you find it. To get yourself ahead of the competition you have to be prepared to work harder, do more and think in different ways to your competition. The marketplace is very crowded so getting yourself noticed is harder than ever these days, so you have to be prepared to work harder than ever.

Set yourself goals and targets for the work you want to have done to promote yourself this week and stick to it. Remember being good at something or having something good is only one part of the battle. It’s time to start thinking of self-promotion as a positive thing and to stop letting it be the thing that stops us from getting to where we want to be.

Why do people need to listen to you?

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This is a question I wrestle with a lot professionally and personally. What makes, what you have to say important enough, that people should listen to you? If what you say is important enough that people should listen, why aren’t they?

Regardless of your position, background, experience and intelligence, most people at some point in their life have an opinion or an idea that they think will improve something in the world around them but no one will listen. When no one listens to what you have to say, you can become very bitter, very quickly. When people won’t listen, there aren’t enough people who will keep on fighting to get their voice hard.

Frustration

It can be very frustrating when people don’t listen to your ideas in the workplace. One thing you have to remember though, is that there are probably many people in the organisation with different ideas and that just because you might think your idea is the best, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best. It is so easy to get blinkered in to thinking that you know everything and know what is best but it is important that you try not to.

It is also very easy to start thinking that you are the only person with the idea you have in your head and that no one else has ever had that idea or one similar. The reality with most thoughts is that others will have already had them before you or at least ones very similar.

Research

When I have an idea, the first thing I do is research it. See if anybody else has had success with it and then really think about the idea from all sides to make it the best idea possible and turn that idea in to a plan.

There is a phrase that actions speak louder than words; I think you need to apply this school of thought if no one is listening to your idea. Can you do a small trial or experiment of your idea to show people in a tangible way what can happen if they used your idea. In todays world people seem to need numbers and evidence to believe an idea will work, so it is up to you to get those things.

Listening

Companies need to do a lot better job at listening to ideas from all levels of staff, as sadly at the moment too many only listen to consultants or managers. This is a hard dynamic to change and you can’t do it by yourself overnight. Until it does change the only thing you can keep on doing is trying to prove that your ideas are better than others. If they still don’t want them after that, then put them in front of a different audience that might want them.

People need to wake up to the fact that ideas can be birthed in anyone, you don’t have to be an expert, a consultant or manager to have an idea that could change the way a company does business.

100 and counting

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Last week WordPress sent me a notification to let me know I had just posted my 100th blog. I have achieved this in a little over a year and the great thing is that I don’t think subjects to talk about are drying up.

That means on average, I have shared my thoughts on a subject in the form of a blog every 4 days. When I started this blog, I didn’t know how long I would keep it up for or how regular it would become. I started with one blog a week, but found I had lots more to say than one blog a week, so I upped it to 3 quite quickly and since then I have kept it up. Without fail every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will now post a blog here.

Understanding the world around us

I think the world evolves faster than we can think about it at times and there is so much going on, that you will never be able to have an opinion or thought on everything. That being said however I am a huge fan of people sharing their thoughts and experiences and it is only by people doing, this that we can try and understand the world around us.

Through my blog I have been able to talk with some very interesting people and I have seen my blogs read in countries, that I might never get the chance to visit. That’s the great thing about a blog, it may not change the world but it can impact lives around the world. We all possess enormous power to influence people for the better and I for one am determined to use it to its fullest.

Your opinion matters

For those that have never blogged or too worried about what people may think if they did – I have one thing to say to you – your opinion is no less valid than anyone else’s and by voicing your opinion, you might empower others to do the same.

No one has to listen to what I say, but no one has the right to stop you from speaking. So many people would love the opportunity to speak their mind and speak up, but because of their situation they can’t, so don’t let your opportunity go to waste.

There is an audience out there for you

People out there want to read other peoples stories and thoughts. There is an audience out there for everyone and the Internet, social media and blogs have made it easy for bloggers, to reach an audience and for people to find blogs, which interest them.

So thanks to everyone who has joined me on my blogging journey so far. I hope I have entertained you or inspired you in some way. Here is to the next 100 blogs.

Getting Your Voice Heard

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I think it is easier today than it ever was before to share our opinion with the world. A post, a tweet, an email, a status, a blog, there are now many ways that we can instantly share how we are feeling, our opinions and our thoughts with anyone who wants to read them.

Back just twenty years ago there weren’t these opportunities that we have today to communicate with the world around us. To complain about a newspaper article you would have to write a letter and post it, now you can post a comment online underneath the article. To complain to a company about poor service you would have to phone them up or go to the business premises, now you can tweet them or message them on Facebook and get a response.

If you had an opinion about something it used to be a case of just verbalising them with your friends and family, now you can write a blog or post them on social media to start conversation. Your opinion can then quickly get exposure to millions of people you will never meet and before you know it people are talking about it.

It’s a jungle out there

The problem we have though is that because there are so many people, trying to share so many opinions, it is so easy for them to get lost in the jungle, which is the online world. Sharing your thoughts is very easy now but trying to gain an audience, I believe is harder than ever. For a thought or opinion to make a difference it needs an audience and a pretty big audience to make an impact.

When you have an audience, you then need the right people in your audience. Online there are so many automated, bot and spam accounts, you never know how many actual people are reading your words. There is a huge difference between viewing and reading. So many people just scroll through their social media newsfeeds, just scanning and not actually reading, that many people will just scroll on past what you are trying to share with the world.

Real world engagement

For your voice truly to be heard you need real world engagement, not online engagement. A like or a favourite on social media isn’t going to get your voice heard. What will get your voice heard is someone reading what you type, taking it on board and doing something about it in the real world.

Don’t think just because something you said got a bunch of retweets that it is making a difference. With social media and the Internet the term ‘5 minutes of fame’ must have been taken down to ‘a few seconds of fame.’ What trends this morning probably won’t this afternoon.

If you’ve got an opinion that you want the world to hear, don’t get complacent with it. Couple your opinion with some action and keep going with it. Make sure you are talking to the right people, not just anyone. One right person hearing your thoughts and opinions can be worth more than a million of the wrong ones.

Share what you want to share

I would encourage everyone to share what they have a burning passion to share, just make sure you are always aware of you are sharing it with. Just because we have the ability to share so easily these days lets not get lazy with it, as I think in todays world it is even harder to stand out, as with this new power at our finger tips everyone is at it.

I think social media is too much about encouraging us to have our own personal accounts and I think this just leads to more isolation. I think it is more important than ever to actually work with people and band together. It’s a big world out there online and just because you are a member it doesn’t always mean you are connected or feel connected.