Category Archives: Learnings

What’s Cool Nowadays?

I did a google search on what’s cool nowadays and guess what? I got a whole lot of results of articles on what’s cool for teens!

Like only teens are the masters of cool!

I need your help here – we need to prove to google that it’s not only teens that are cool. Coolness comes in all shapes, guises and sizes. And ages too. And you don’t have to be a celebrity either.

The urban dictionary defines cool as:

The best way to say something is neat-o, awesome, or swell. The phrase “cool” is very relaxed, never goes out of style, and people will never laugh at you for using it, very conveniant (sic) for people like me who don’t care about what’s “in.”

This is what I think is cool and I need you to tell me what you think is cool too.

I think having a blog is cool and hot – it’s hot having a blog – that’s cool man!

I think driving fast is cool – teens can’t drive for most of their teen years.

I think folding your tongue into a roll is cool – how cool is that? I can do that. I’m cool.

Click on image to go to source

I think this 80 year old body builder is cool. I want to be like her when I’m 80.

Click on photo to go to source

I think Wang Deshun is cool. Don’t know who Wang Deshun is? Check below. He’s 80 years old too!

Click on image to go to source

I think 80 year olds are cool! My Dad is almost 80. And my Mom too and I think they’re cool. My Dad still works an 8 hour day in his business and my Mom is an assessor and moderator for an education board – how cool is that?

I think teachers are cool – helping to shape young minds into the adults of tomorrow.

If you’ve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro – I think you’re cool. You’ve done what I chickened out of.

I think street art is cool.

©2017 Regina Martins

Audrey Hepburn is cool – she never goes out of style.

Click on image to go to source

The same goes for Princess Diana…I copied that hairstyle once.

Click on image to go to source

I think kindness is cool.

So is generosity.

And patience.

Honesty.

Integrity.

Humility.

Acceptance.

Now I need your help here. What else is cool nowadays?

 

Find Your Voice Instead

For years I was told to build my brand at work, my professional one. This was new because I had never thought it applied to me. I equated brands to products and companies, not people. I thought people had to work hard and be known for their contribution.

Building my brand

Without knowing anything better I set about building my brand. At the time I started working for a competitive and entrepreneurial company where networks were the currency of the culture, and having a brand was important for how people perceived you.

Feelings of anxiety

This led to heightened feelings of anxiety for me. One of the unintended consequences of this type of culture was that you were only as successful as your last project. But what if your last project wasn’t successful? The halo-effect was alive and well which was mitigated by having regular performance assessments.

All was not dire though. This company had some great aspects too, like encouraging autonomy, mastery and purpose – both professional and personal. Performance reviews were driven by the employee and not the manager which meant that I could have one as soon as a project was completed.

I think I built a good brand, I was told many times this was so. But when it came to moving upwards or even sideways to new opportunities it didn’t help me much.

General or local brands

That is the thing with brands – most are localised and only a few are generalised. Everyone knows Coke, MacDonalds and KFC. But not everyone knows Mugg and Bean, Liqui Fruit and Mrs Balls Chutney because they are localised to South African culture.

The same applies to people as brands – I imagine that the whole world knows Elon Musk but that only South Africans know Richard Maponya. Both are business visionaries, leaders in their field and respected widely for their accomplishments. And they changed or are changing a bit of the world.

Find your voice instead

Leaving two-dimensional brand building for people behind, Sheryl Sandberg proposes to find your voice instead.

The idea of developing your personal brand is a bad one, according to Sandberg. “People aren’t brands,” she says. “That’s what products need. They need to be packaged cleanly, neatly, concretely. People aren’t like that.” (Source).

People are multi-dimensional and more than what the world sees. Often our voices are drowned out by the cacophony of multiple other voices louder than ours, divergent voices, angry voices, dissenting and contrarian ones. But they are voices nonetheless.

“Who am I?” asks Sandberg. “I am the COO of Facebook, a company I deeply believe in. I’m an author. I’m a mom. I’m a widow. At some level, I’m still deeply heartbroken. I am a friend and I am a sister. I am a lot of very messy, complicated things. I don’t have a brand, but I have a voice.” (Source).

Focus on developing your voice, she says. Figuring out what’s important to you and being willing to use your voice for that purpose is incredibly valuable. “If you are doing it to develop your personal brand, it’s empty and self-serving and not about what you’re talking about,” she says. “If you’re doing it because there is something you want to see changed in the world, that’s where it will have value and depth and integrity.” (Source).

After years of so-called brand-building, I now am exploring what my voice is. The idea is more in tune with what I feel to be true, without the clouding aspects of money and status, and open to making a real difference to the world, no matter how small. This blog is playing a role in this exploration, much like a trusted travel companion, comforting at times and challenging me to go outside of that comfort at others.

I would like this piece to open up a conversation on what is a voice, what does it mean and how it can be expressed. Please accept this as an invitation to have the conversation and let us see where it takes us.


Reference:

Kinni, T. (2017, July 17). Sheryl Sandberg: Develop Your Voice, Not Your Brand. Retrieved August 09, 2017, from https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/sheryl-sandberg-develop-your-voice-not-your-brand

 

I Dare You To Yodel More And Yawn Less

Hello friends and forgive me for my radio silence.

via GIPHY

But I have been learning how to yodel.

via GIPHY

It’s been such a daring experience so much so that all I’ve had time for was to photograph interesting posters stuck to the back of toilet doors.  You know when all you have time for is to take photos of such things?

In any event, the daring poster above which someone dared to pin to the back of a toilet door set me thinking about what I have dared to do lately.

via GIPHY

So I have to come clean…I wasn’t learning how to yodel but the .gif looked cool and I wanted to include it. But the part about only being able to take photos of posters stuck to the back of toilet doors is true. But only the one above.

It feels like someone has flipped the crazy button on the world and we’re on this crazy ride for who knows how long.

So all we can do is dare…

…to do the right thing

…to live in the moment

…to overcome adversity

…reinvent oneself

…to love oneself

…to love everyone else

…to block out negativity

…to not watch the news channels

…to digitally detox

…to spend time with family

…drink wine

…eat chocolate

…cry

…laugh

…laugh

…laugh

…laugh

Have you dared lately? What kind of daring have you dared? What else can you add to this list?

 

Infused With Excitement

I spent the last two days on a training course, this time as a delegate. For the introductions we had to interview another person and write key attributes on separate stickie notes. As I look on how the other person interpreted what I said, I saw something unexpected, surprising and pleasant reflected back at me…a gradual and gentle shift awakening to a new version of me infused with excitement. Take a look at the photo below.

Infuse.