Taking the Challenge of 26.2


The last time I blogged it was a while ago. There is not a worse feeling than knowing that you have left your blog, and its followers, in the lurch as to when your next post will arrive. After a long time of no time, I’ve finally found a window to update my blog and tell the world about the last two months where I have been endlessly busy and ultimately, living the dream.

On 23rd September I took a step and moved from client side marketing to agency side, a move I was told would not be a clever one but I did it anyway. I think that’s the [bad] thing about me, I’ll take the advice, I’ll take the direction but ultimately in my heart if I feel it’s going to be a good move, I’ll do it anyway. Maybe that’s not a bad thing and maybe that’s why I’m where I am today. For everyone wondering, it’s been the best move of my entire life and I’ve never been as happy as I am today.

For the past two months I have been using my experience in social media strategy and community management to help all sorts of clients extend their reach and deliver parts of their KPI’s and it’s a great feeling. The other day I said to my colleagues “it’s amazing to see results” and it really is amazing to see something that you truly believe in work for so many different companies and industries.

This is why I’ve had no time to post, I’ve been wrapped up in my world of social and absolutely loving it to make sure that I can control my career in a way I want it to go, and it’s working. There’s nothing more I love than feeling in control and for once in my life I finally feel settled in where I am and I’m ready for where the next however many years are going to take me.

In the last few months another amazing thing has happened to me, I got into the Virgin London Marathon! I’m not a runner, never have been, but last year when I was watching it on the television I said to myself, “I want to do that one day”, so I applied. Now, you don’t really realise how long 26.2 miles is until you get the phone call to say you’re in and going to be running it!

I’m running for Mind, a mental health charity, due to in the past when I suffered depression and needed the help. I didn’t use Mind at the time however it is nice to know that now, there are charities out there that offer support at these difficult times and therefore I want to raise awareness of this. I’m currently up to 10 miles with three months to go and I’m loving seeing the progress I have made since I started.

So, please support me in taking this challenge by donating to Mind, who help people who may be suffering in silence, like I did.

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The Future is Something Which Everyone Reaches…

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This week was a year since I finished University, that last exam which I was so worried about, that one final moment when I knew it was all over, was a year ago. It’s ridiculous how time flies and it’s funny how the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is so very very wrong. The fact is, time flies either way and whatever you do to stop it, doesn’t work. However, what I’ve came to realise these last few months is that it’s not necessarily a bad thing as passing time is also progress and progress no matter which way you look at it, is moving forward.

2012 was a big year for me; I finished University, went travelling, moved back home and started a grown up job. It’s hard when you finish university as you feel so out of control and unable to understand how everything is going to work out. The only lifeline you have is if one employer sees that spark in you, the special thing that others may not see and takes a chance on a graduate that has no experience. It’s unlikely but it happens and it happened to me and I am forever grateful for the opportunity I was given and am being given now.

It’s got to that time of year, the time that I experienced last year, when all 3rd year students are finishing their last piece of coursework and their last exam and they will all be getting the same questions from their parents regarding what they are going to do now. It’s a hard question to answer as as I said before, it is mostly out of your hands. It’s interesting to think back and look at the advice I was given when I finished uni; “just apply for as many jobs as possible”, “take what your given” “the job market is awful so don’t be picky”, it was all bad advice and advice I would never dream of giving out if I was trying to help.

I suppose the point of this post is to give out some advice to all of those graduates out there that will now be applying for the inevitable graduate schemes and entry level jobs. It may be awful advice to say that you should hold off until you find something perfect for you but that’s what I did and it truly worked out. I am aware that at the moment the job market and certain professions are hard to come by and some people may feel forced to take the first job that comes along but hold off and think are you going to be happy? If no, say no and carry on regardless!

If you had a part time job like I did and an amazing boss like I did then they will understand that you are looking for a new job for career progression and they will do whatever they can to help you in the process. If not it doesn’t matter, that’s when the words part time, come into play! The most important advice is to be confident, know your strengths and remember that this is your life, your career and you can do whatever you want to and the only person that can make it happen is you.

This all comes down to the fact that what you don’t realise when you finish University is that time is in fact on your side and as much as people tell you to hurry you don’t have to. C.S. Lewis once said “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

So chill it, calm down and take it slow because you’re going to get there eventually just in your own way with your own rules.

Stop and Look Fear in the Face

Well this week’s been slightly tough! So tough that I fell asleep at half 9 last night! I know what you’re thinking, I’m such a rockstar! However it’s the weekend now and on Monday it will be a new week and hopefully a week that will be nice and smooth.

As some of you may know, I’ve started training for the London Marathon, I haven’t got a place yet and it’s not guaranteed but you have to start training early and realise what you’ve done is a big mistake! Now do you know how long 26 miles really is? Well I can tell you, it’s long. Currently I can run 3.5 miles without breaking anything, but only just. So as you can see this is a real challenge for me, one that I am desperate to achieve. I’m hoping that I can run for a charity and hopefully one that helps young people with mental health.

Today ends a week which is quite close to me and that’s Mental Health Awareness Week. I look back over this week and think about all the tears and emotion I have experienced (like I said, tough week) and it takes me back to a time where I myself suffered with a Mental illness, depression. It was a really tough time for me and everyone around me as I was a completely different person to what I am now, and a completely different person to what I was before. It’s a strange feeling knowing you don’t feel right and that something is stopping you from being yourself. Most of the time people blame themselves for this illness but its impossible to do that as it is not anybody’s fault.

Luckily through a lot of cognitive behavioural therapy (which I outright recommend against medication) I am stood here today enjoying the person I have become and looking back, I am so proud of how I got through it. It was seriously hard and some people just couldn’t handle it, but it wasn’t their fault and it wasn’t mine, it was just life and another challenge that it put in the way.

As a result I’m hoping I will get the opportunity to run for a charity, like Mind or the Mental Health Foundation, who support people like me, who suffered or may still suffer from depression, or any type of mental health illness. I’m keen to raise awareness and help those who suffer as it really is something that can be helped.

So I’ll leave you with one of those everlasting thoughts I sometimes do and this one’s from Eleanor Roosevelt:

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.

and that’s exactly what I did with a little help from my friends!

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Social Media – How and Why it Should be Introduced into Education

So a week ago today I took the next step in “growing up” and moved into my new flat with my boyfriend. After a lot of looking, a lot of debating, we finally found “the one” and decided to take the leap and move in as quickly as possible. For the last few weeks we’ve been acting a lot like Goldilocks really… some flats were too big, some were too small and after a long search, we found this one, which is just right. It’s in the perfect location, it’s the perfect size, it has the perfect kitchen and not surprisingly overall, it’s just perfect!

As you can imagine, the last week has been crazy! We have spent (what felt like) days in IKEA, we spent hours sitting on sofas in showrooms trying to find the perfect “lazy-boy” and now it’s all starting to come together and look like a proper home and somewhere we can relax at the end of the day (but we still haven’t found that sofa…)

Last week I had a really good week with my trip to London for Our Social Times Social Media conference and it really opened my eyes to the world of Social Media. I wrote last week about my experience of the workshop on the Tuesday and how important I felt that Social was to the younger generation. I’ve been thinking about it more really and I thought what a great opportunity schools have to make Social Media and its importance of measuring and monitoring a part of the school curriculum and into something that students should learn about when they are in education as part of IT. I know what you’re thinking, a Social Media lesson would be dreadful with no focus but that’s where you’re wrong. As much as people say that I have the greatest job in the world because all I do is “Sit on Facebook and Twitter all day”, Social Media is much more than that. It’s all about Social data, trends and consumer opinions which are vital to improvements in customer service and advances in NPD for all businesses.

In addition to its importance, it could be suggested that with parents being scared of Social Networks and what they contain it may be useful to bring social media into schools so that children/students could learn to use the channels effectively and maybe spot the sign of a potential “baddie”. I’m not sure whether that would help but it would certainly be a start as children are becoming more fluent on tablets, computers and mobile phones nowadays and therefore I feel it would be useful for them as young adults to learn about one of those most effective marketing tools in the world.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to look to the future and think about what is in store for the world of Social Media. The internet itself is growing, but social media is growing even faster with 96% of 18-35 year Old’s now being on a social network (Kiss Metrics, 2012). For businesses, Social is becoming more important and that’s no surprise as it has been found that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, which is one of the main consumer uses of social media and its “sharing” aspect.

Obviously this is my own take on Social Media and how it can be introduced into the Education system and I am aware that everyone will have differing opinions on this subject.

So… what do you think?

Social at it’s Very Best…

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So I work in Social Media and I know what your thinking… that must be the greatest job in the world surely? Well let me tell you, it is! I absolutely love working with all the different platforms, I love learning by other people’s opinions and how a business can evolve by listening to consumers.

This week I have been in London for Our Social Times’s Social Media workshop/conference where I have met some amazing people and learnt some incredible facts which I know have made me grow as a person and made me that one step further to being that Social Media expert which I am desperately trying to become. Not only that but I want to help to grow my company’s social media presence and today certainly proved that we have the tools to do that.

As I sit in my London hotel room thinking about everything I have learnt today, it is eye opening at where the world of social media is going and how it has already evolved and will continue to evolve in the future. One very knowledgable woman told me today that young people, graduates and college students struggle to ‘get’ social media and where it is heading and I completely agree. People forget that social media is completely open, public and can be seen by everyone and therefore what you write, say and express is all very capable of being judged and will be if you’re not careful. Also, it is important to note that social is growing and even if you haven’t got a marketing degree, social experience or passion for social it is more likely than not that it will be, if not part of, your job one day and that is vital.

So I suppose what I’ve learnt is that this needs to be educated. Young people, grads and college students must be reminded or taught the value of social media and where it is heading and what it can do already as if they don’t know now, they never will and chances are they’ll need too.

Today has been a great experience for me to wake up and smell the roses of the potential of social and how we can integrate it into every day of our working lives. I’ve met some great people who know their stuff and how they can help to turn the dreams into reality and the goals into reachable KPIs so that nothing is impossible.

Someone once told me there is no such word as can’t. As I sat there and wondered how there definitely is because I use it all the time, I didn’t really get it as I couldn’t see the potential. Today I got it, I saw the potential and my dreams started to feel real and achievable.

So thanks, Our Social Times, it was a great, eye-opening experience where a lot was learnt and many of those lessons will be put into practice in the coming weeks!

What a day… bring on tomorrow!

A Girl Can Dream… Can’t She?

So the last time I posted I had just paid for my personal trainer! Now I’m 4 sessions in and it’s absolutely killing me! However, as much as I wake up the day after thinking the only way I’m going to get around is by wheelchair, I love it! It’s the thing I look forward to each week, a bit of a challenge as at the moment most of the things asked of me, I can’t do! It’s a great feeling when I do them though and for the first time yesterday, I felt like I was getting somewhere with my fitness and I’m hoping that I’m one step closer to that Beyonce body. A girl can dream… Can’t she?

I’m not unfit (according to me) and I don’t live unhealthily (according to me), but as I found out this week I just don’t live to the best I can be. I’ve learnt the rules of nutrition and how I can still eat all the (reasonably) good things but just at the right times so that my body knows how to digest and break down the fat. It’s times like these where I feel that I should have listened in P.E! I know all the words but struggle with their meaning and frankly, I’m the least sportiest person I know (I once pulled my leg muscle throwing…).

It’s came to a time in my life where I feel that looking after myself is high priority. I know that I’m only young at 22 but as someone told me last week “the sooner you start the better”. It’s true! I now have a skin routine, a personal trainer and a nutritional diet and so I’m hoping that in the next few weeks I’m going to start to look like a young Jennifer Aniston. A girl can dream… Can’t she?

Living in the UK can sometimes be a bit of a downer as there is no way, unless I go on holiday, that I will be getting my newly washboard abs out this side of summer. You see these programmes, adverts, documentaries with all these girls with their great bodies out and if I’m honest I want to be them! I want a beach down the road, I want to be able to roller-skate and I want to look incredible in short shorts! A girl can dream… Can’t she?

So my next task is to book a holiday (or at least go swimming at the gym) so that my Beyonce body can get its show time. I mean that’s not for a while yet as at the moment the macaroons I ate last week are still catching up on me and I’m looking more like Ke$ha than Beyonce! The thing is, with finances, a holiday may not be feasible but I don’t care and I’ll book one either way.

So on my long journey to a girl’s perfect world I am at the stage of trying to love myself which I mentioned last time. I’m not becoming vain or anything just trying to get a bit of confidence back in these pipes! It’s fun, I’m having a great time and for once, I’m not really moaning about anything (how strange). I’m not a very confident person and if I’m honest the only place that I’m truly myself is here in my blog. However, I’m trying to change that to be the person I know that I want to be as in this world if your not confident, your nobody and that’s not what I want to be.

So I leave you with an ever lasting thought. Whether it’s fitness, weight loss, confidence or love, do what I did and stop dreaming because…

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you absolutely, positively do have the power to change!

Watch out B, S is coming for you…