Monthly Archives: September 2014

I CAN’T DO THAT

This is a phrase I’ve been telling myself on and off for as long as I can remember – a lot of us say this to ourselves.

I hear it all the time from people: “I can’t do this. I could never do that. Uh-uh, there’s no way.”

A couple of years ago, a friend asked if I wanted to do the Around the Bay Road Race, which is a 30 km run around Hamilton Bay. I had only started running four months before that and the farthest I had ever run was 5 km, and that was really tough for me. When I read the email, I laughed out loud, then immediately responded without thinking by saying I could never do that, but thanks for the offer.

Something about that left me cold afterwards. It preyed on me for a few days. I kept thinking, why couldn’t I? I’ve got two legs. I can put one in front of the other. What’s stopping me? So I said to myself, you most definitely CAN do this.  In fact, you NEED to do this to PROVE it to yourself.

So, enlisting a couple friends and getting a schedule together, I trained through the winter. Believe me, getting up at 8 am on a Sunday morning to run in a windy minus 20 with snow blowing at you is NOT fun. But I kept at it and come the following February, I ran the race.

Crossing the finish line was an immensely satisfying moment. I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest. I had proved something to myself. See what you can do when you put your mind to it?

Over the years, I have come to realize the biggest reason you’re unable to do something is because you don’t allow yourself to do it. You believe it’s impossible and you don’t even try.

It’s true of the business we are in, too. Our business is filled with unknowns and unproven paths to create and follow.

It takes a leap of faith in yourself, whether you’re the designer, account manager, or client, to try out a new creative concept, to take a chance and do something outside of your comfort zone, to follow that path knowing full well the outcome is a mystery. But, if you stick to it, adjust as necessary and put in the work, the outcome will be rewarding.

Now, if this was a movie, it would be time for the end credits. Character fixed! Happily ever after.

But this is real life.

I was telling my brother about the race and he asked me, “That’s great. So what’s next? A marathon?”

I laughed. “I can’t do that”.

ARE WE TOO CONNECTED?

With the recent announcement of Apple’s plans to launch the “Apple Watch”, the device that makes it easier to be connected and capitalizes on the quantified self revolution, I was reminded of an article I read – “The Most Connected Man is You, Just a Few Years From Now” (http://mashable.com/2014/08/21/most-connected-man/ Author: Samantha Murphy Kelly).

Chris Dancy, who is featured in the article as the world’s “most connected man”, uses between 300 and 700 tracking and lifelogging systems at all times.  I was drawn to the title of this article because we work in the communications industry and are constantly striving to connect and engage with an audience. The more we know about our audience, the better our message resonates. Tracking and gathering as much learning as possible from each campaign will allow us to be better equipped for battle the next time around. Clients are drawn to digital campaigns because we can track and monitor every move and react and optimize in a timely manner. From a business perspective, the more Facebook invades its users’ privacy, the better for us and our clients. When I take a step back and think about this from a personal perspective, my opinion is very different.

I will preface this by saying there are many occasions I’m without my cell phone. I am actually one who is truly, at times, disconnected. Shocker, I know! Even though I’m immersed in the digital world for our clients, I still struggle with the concept of personally being connected at all times, having companies watch and track my every move.  After reading the article, do I think technology has gone too far? Maybe.  Do I think some of it could be valuable? Yes. Does it terrify me that this could be our future and even more so, the future of my children? ABSOLUTELY! Whether good or bad, I know there is no escaping it. I see it in my job every day, we are demanding it from our suppliers and our clients are demanding it from us. Is there such thing as knowing too much?

Even the “most connected guy in the world” takes time to un-plug and has a spot in his bedroom that doesn’t have Wi-Fi or cellular service. The article also makes reference to digital detox camps for adults where no technology is allowed. We all lead busy, hectic lives and though technology is very helpful in guiding us through our day or getting us from point A to point B, it’s important we remember how to connect, communicate and function without technology. There is something to be said about the adventure of self-discovery, learning what satisfies our taste buds or what music makes us feel alive, without a piece of technology confirming it for us. As tempting as it is, even us working in the communications industry have to make sure we don’t get wrapped up in the data to leave a little room for imagination and good ol’ fashion instinct.

Kyleen Leaist