Saturday, 20 July 2013

How Many Sides have You Got?

One of my 'sides' - fundraiser for Hounds For Heroes
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is finding out more about the people I work with and the people that I come into contact with. Yes, we all usually have weddings as a large part of our make-up but there's more to us all than that.

Hobbies, interests, passions, likes - they all come together to make us, well, us and it's always really interesting to see these wonderful wedding professionals as multi-dimensional, multi-faceted people that have so much more experience and knowledge than is often seen and we bring all of this to our work life too. We don't switch off between places - what we learn in one part of our life comes with us to another. All experiences, good and bad stay with us. So it's important to get a grip of this. How can you hope to get the best out of people when you only know a tiny part of what makes them tick?

It's quite often the things that sit behind the work facade that provide the depth to the person. Yes, we love our jobs and we're passionate about them but they're not 'the whole us'. There's more to be seen, there's more to find out and there's more to understand.

So, have a think - what do you bring to your work party? What comes with you to work from the rest of your life? What experiences have you had that might be holding you back? What are your private 'best bits' that could be used to get your professional life moving? What do you have that sets you apart from everyone else?

Because ultimately, that's what we're looking for - those oh-so special bits of you that no-one else has. You're always going to have competitors (and imitators too if you're unlucky/so good that people can't help but copy) but what no-one else can ever have is your unique mix of life experiences and your approach to your life. And I mean your whole life, not just work, not just your non-work life, the whole crazy, special mix. This is why 'behind the scenes' tweets are so popular and why personal snapshots and insights into our wider lives work so well with clients - because we show ourselves as real people, not simply as wedding automatons.

In an industry where clients buy into people, into personalities they trust, don't you think it's really important to know who you are? Because until you know who you are, how can you even begin to standout?

Monday, 1 July 2013

My New Favourite Word...

Last Friday, my son's school held its annual Speech Day. I love Speech Day as it's a wonderful opportunity to see all the work the children have put in through the year, there are performances from the choirs and orchestras, the parents all dress up (ooo, get me!) and there's tea and cakes in the quad. But, undoubtedly, the main purpose of Speech Day is, well, the speeches.

Aside from children being given prizes, the Headmaster giving the highlights of the year and some of the 13 year old Leavers giving speeches, there's always a guest speaker, a head from another school and this year, the guest of honour was Thomas Garnier from Pangbourne College.

And his speech was fifteen minutes of fantastic.

Encouraging the children to 'live life like a Labrador puppy', he talked about the three qualities that make Labradors so great - they're curious, they spread joy and they're wholehearted.

Now, you might know I have a Labrador myself so this was bound to connect with me but it was that last word, wholehearted, that really struck a cord and is indeed, my new favourite word.

I am so happy to work with a group of fabulous wedding professionals, all of whom are completely wholehearted about what they do. They love their work and they are utterly committed to doing something special, something different, something amazing and they all do it wholeheartedly.

You see, we all want to see passion in others. We are enthused, motivated and inspired when we are in the company of people who love what they do and who throw themselves completely into their work, their hobbies or their projects.

By being wholehearted, not only do we act like lovely little radiators to others, warming them up and sharing our dedication and enjoyment with them but we allow ourselves to be happy. If you're secretly (or not so secretly) resenting what you're doing, it's pretty impossible to be happy with your lot. Yes, we've all got those ever-present things on the to-do list that we don't enjoy but it's important to keep an eye on the bigger picture and getting those tiny tasks off the list frees us to get on with the things that really push our buttons.

Look at the dictionary definition above. Aren't those all the things you'd want to see in your colleagues and aren't they also the things your clients want to see in you? Being wholehearted seems like a bit of a business imperative doesn't it?

We all need a little reminder every now and again of the things that are really important, the things that make us stand out and the things that make us us. And we need to remember, in the middle of wedding crazy season when the days are long and the working day seems longer, why we love what we do and why we're all really rather lucky to be able to do it. Let's throw ourselves into the opportunities of every day rather than dancing around on the sidelines, hoping to be picked for the team.

So perhaps wholehearted might be a word to remember for us all...