What type of PT do you need?

If you follow a lot of fitness people on social media (and to be honest if you read this blog you probably do unless your one of my friends and I made you follow it!) you’ll notice they fall broadly into a couple of camps.

Camp one – people saying drink this, do this, take this and you’ll get results like me. These are the ones doing ‘what I eat in a day’ ‘How I train’ ‘I can’t live without this’ sort of posts

Camp two- people calling those in camp one out and saying ‘don’t fall into the trap of believing the hype, editing, filtering that these PTs post’ and ‘there are no quick fixes or magic formulas’.

I guess I fall into camp two as do most of the PTs I know, but I don’t want to over simplify things, because it’s not always a simple as that’s ridiculous don’t follow that advice.

So for instance, a PT or coaching programe that states that Intermittent Fasting is THE solution to weight loss, and if you sign up and follow our diet and training plan you’ll be 2 stone lighter in three months. The magic ingredient here is you are only going to eat between 11 am and 7 pm so you won’t be having breakfast, we’ll also make some small ‘tweaks’ to what you eat right now. I’d say this a camp one type PT – one method, one size fits all and will get you results. Now let’s be fair. If 10 people all signed up, all followed it completely to the letter they’d probably all lose weight, and to be fair they’d also do so quite safely. Why would that be the case though? Well because they all cut out breakfast, made a few small adjustments to lunch, dinner and snacks and so reduced the amount of calories they consumed. The magic ingredient here was an eating window which meant they ate less each day, a rule that stopped them eating more because they followed it. They could have achieved the same results eating at whatever time they wanted but just counting calories. Equally if they had stuck to the window but not cut out breakfast or made any tweaks they wouldn’t have lost weight, because the eating window wasn’t the magic ingredient their energy balance was. The camp one PT isn’t bad or dangerous here and they may well be getting their clients results, they just aren’t educating them, so if Intermittent Fasting doesn’t actually suit that person and they can’t sustain it long term they are more likely to end up back where they started. This is the same argument I’d make about Slimming Clubs.

Much the same can be said about other ‘tips and tricks’ people post to ‘help people get results’.

‘I drink hot water and lemon every morning upon rising and have abs because it curbs hunger and helps melt away fat as well as detoxing your body.’ – Now having water upon rising will help hydrate you after several hours asleep, it can help wake you up, adds a bit of natural flavour to the water and it has been said water and lemon can aid digestion. I like to start my day with this, but not because I think it will make me thinner, it’s a part of my morning routine that helps me start the day feeling relaxed an alert and means I’ve had at least a little water before I start on the coffee. The PT claiming doing this will help you get abs is bullshitting you and neglecting to tell yo about the very low calorie diet, genetics and training that also contribute to those abs. Again it isn’t a lie, I’m sure they incorporate this as part of their routine but it isn’t the truth either is it.

‘Here’s what I eat in a day’. Great. I mean nothing wrong with giving people food ideas, I might see that salad and think oooh that looks tasty I might try and make that. But what you eat in a day, no matter how great you look, does not help me. Are you the same height and weight as me, with the same activity levels? Nope? Then what you eat isn’t going to be appropriate to me because I need to eat differing amounts. It doesn’t harm me to see what you eat, but it doesn’t help me reach my goal. It could make me feel bad though!

You’d recommend these Supplements would you? Great, they could benefit you, I mean I certainly do take supplements myself and there are some supplements that selections of the population could generally benefit from. You know what the word supplement means though right? Extra. So yes you could buy that supplement and you might feel some benefits. he supplement will not get you the results though if the rest of your diet isn’t working for you.

My point here is, none of these posts or types of actions you see from some PTs are wrong or bad for you or from a bad place but they fail to acknowledge the overall function of a positive diet for weight loss or any other goal.

One method of eating isn’t intrinsically better than all others, one supplement or habit won’t change your life in isolation. What Bob down the road or Sam on the internet did won’t automatically work for you in the same way it did for them. When you see dramatic testimonials from people remember that, yes they probably did do that plan, but they also probably found themselves in the right mindset with the determination to work really hard to get results at that point. In other words had they joined a different plan at that time they may well have also got the same results, because that was the time they were ready to commit to making a change. That’s not knocking any coaches. The coaching and support and tools need to be there for people to use and get the results, I’m just saying the chances are the people who went from the love handles before pic to the six pack after pic probably weren’t reluctantly dragged onto the program, did the bare minimum and still saw those results, they were probably the ones who’d decided it was time to make a commitment to see change and went all in.

Camp one PTs always appeal to people because they make things look simple, make one small change and that’s it and I’ll get you the body you want. What if I told you you could eat whatever you want but take this shake as well and you’ll be three sizes smaller by Christmas. I mean if it were true we’d all be up for that. Camp two PTs are a bit duller, honesty is much less of a big seller and the idea that actually you will need to create a few new habits, lose a few old ones, change your eating habits and exercise is just not as appealing as drinking a glass of lemon and hot water first thing each day.

Generally though, whatever a camp one PT says on their posts online if you sign up to their program you’ll probably find a fair few hidden changes you need to make that a camp two PT will just upfront honestly tell you to make, in fact the type of changes they’ll probably tell you to make in free content online. The value from a camp two type PT comes from the support to make those changes, the education to help you understand those changes and the overall understanding that there is no one size fits all solution and whilst Intermittent fasting might work really well for Gary it sure as hell isn’t going to work for Susan so she’s going to be using MyFitnessPal whereas Jane isn’t looking to lose weight at all so she’s not even looking at calories or eating windows but we are looking at how much fruit and veg she eats in a day.

That’s where the two camps differ really in my opinion. A good PT should be able to help YOU. If they promote one type of way of training, eating or living they are helping one type of person, probably someone like them and if you aren’t like them will they be able to help you reach your potential? The type of PT that can listen to you, your goals and your needs and work out what will work best for you and help you set realistic goals and timeframes is much more likely to help you be successful and enjoy the process.

Privilege and Fitness

Thin Privilege. I get the concept but I’m not totally sure I really get it.

Yes of course it’s potentially easier for a PT or fitness who is ‘thin’ and has been training for years to advise a client to do x y and z because their body and people’s reaction to them make it easier. Yes, maybe it’s easier for them to say love your body and embrace the process than it is someone starting from a different position.

But actually do we need to start referencing posts or advice with an acknowledgement that we may be different from the people the advice is aimed at? Maybe it is good to acknowledge and some readers may appreciate the self awareness but really, should only PTs themselves following a calorie deficit coach people to hit one? Should all fitness professionals only work with clients who are like them so they are not preaching to people ‘less privileged’ than they? I’d of course say not, people educate themselves, gain knowledge and experience to allow them to impart advice. If we were all limited to only things we had direct experience with that would be a loss to the industry in general.

But beyond that, fact is we are all privileged in some way or another. Things about our body, genetics, health, background, birth place, parents, education and more will naturally make us more privileged than someone else in many given situations (and of course disadvantaged in others). There will be situations in which we could say well do this that and the other and it be far easier than it would be for someone else. Case in point over the last year. Stay at home Save Lives is a far easier prospect for someone of Furlough, knowing their job is safe or able to work from home, living with family members they have a good relationship with in a nice house with a garden than someone who has lost their income, qualified for not support a lives in a flat with no outdoor space. Should people reference their social media posts with #economicprivilige?

I’m not saying that awareness is a bad thing but I that being aware and that awareness impacting your actions is a far more powerful thing than referencing awareness of something alone. Almost a case of walking the walk rather than talking the talk.

Which Camp Do You Sit In?

Recently my consumption of social media has got me back to thinking about something I touched upon in a podcast back in January.

Possibly because I follow a lot of fitness based accounts and pages I feel like there are lots of different messages out there at the moment. I mean they’ve always been out there but Lockdown and the impact of the fitness industry feels like it has made more noticeable- perhaps I’ve just got more time to notice, perhaps people are putting their messages out there more forcibly.

There are accounts pushing weight loss, accounts pushing detoxes, accounts pushing fitness transformations and the ideas around obesity and it’s connection with Covid (even Boris has said he struggled to fight it because he was fat). At the other end of the spectrum there are accounts promoting body positivity, health over size, intuitive eating. Between these two camps (if you like) some overlap in moderation between the two whilst others are firmly in one camp and critical of the other. Trigger Warning is something I’ve recently started to see on posts more frequently, with the notion that someone posting about food or training or body image in a way that disagrees with the reader in any way may trigger some terrible emotional response.

Is it any wonder people get confused about diet and fitness. When there are so many conflicting and emotive messages on a topic someone is already a little confused about anyway they muddy the water.

Personally I tend to agree with both sides of this coin. I don’t believe you should be made to feel like you need to look a certain way or be a certain size or eat a certain way. Equally however, whether you are overweight or not, if you are not happy with something and want to change it in a healthy way then you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about that and like you are betraying a body positivity movement. Much like feminism shouldn’t mean women who chose to stay at home over becoming a CEO shouldn’t be made to feel like they are betraying women kind, people who want to work towards a physical goal shouldn’t be made to feel bad.

Again, I’d say many fitness professionals would agree – it’s a balancing act. We don’t go up to people in the street and tell them they must work with us to lose weight. People come to us, they have seen our services advertised and they want the service offered. Equally, whilst many PTs these days specialise in the type of work they do, not all our clients are the same. Some may be looking to lose weight, find motivation, need encouragement to stick to workout schedules. Other clients may be the opposite and need help training sensibly or gaining weight. Advice that works for one person could potentially be damaging for another.

Of course that’s where the internet and posting about fitness gets tricky. Generally a post will have a target audience. If it’s about losing weight for instance, the writer really wants to get across the importance of reducing calories. Could someone with a potential eating disorder latch onto that advice? Maybe, in the same way that people who need to lose weight could latch onto something about intuitive eating which could be very useful to someone who needs to move away from calorie counting because it sounds appealing but in actual fact is unlikely to help them lose the weight. We always tend to manage to seek out the information that fits our agenda lets face it.

But this is the point, not everything written on social media will be for you or relate to you or be relevant to you. If you are recovering from something and know certain things could be triggering, removing those types of accounts from your feed until you are in a position to be able to read without feeling a reaction is surely a better move than the writer not writing the post (assuming here it’s a responsible, factual post). If you don’t agree with calorie counting and you are happy with your diet then don’t do it, if you find it useful, do it. Lose weight if you want to, if you don’t, don’t. I do believe that obesity is an underlying health condition that predisposes you to be more adversely affected by certain illnesses. So does smoking and drinking. Whilst I’d always encourage people to look after their health whether they want to exercise or eat a balanced diet is no more of my business as how much they drink or whether they smoke is, unless that is, they make it my business by coming to me as a client.

I also believe education is important. It is everyone’s choice to decide what to do with their body, but I’d like it to be an educated choice and there are many basic blocks of health and fitness and diet that people often do not understand, and in place have a series of myths and misconceptions about food. When people say you should eat and do what you enjoy that’s right, but what if you you enjoy is the food and lack of movement that is causing you health issues, at that point a message which is inspiring to already active people who maybe put too much pressure on themselves and need to be reminded they are enough could be damaging to someone who really does need to make changes and maybe needs more structure.

I think judgement is negative, from both sides of the coin. We need to remember that our message normally has a desired audience, an avatar, yet anyone can see it. Therefore it could potentially affect someone in a way we didn’t mean it to. I don’t think there is much we can do about that but that’s why I prefer a more measured message- a message which gets your point across without dismissing the other side. There is never one right way with diet or fitness, when people in fitness struggle with that notion it’s not hard to see how confusing that would be for consumers.

Understanding points of view other than your own and seeing their merit even if you disagree it’s automatically a bad thing or something that weakens your own standpoint.

Don’t be a Fitness Jack of All Trades

If you follow a lot of fitness type accounts on Instagram / Facebook and scroll at any one time you’ll see posts telling you to eat clean, eat intuitively, eat in moderation, have that chocolate, fast, cut out carbs, eat a high protein diet, count calories, don’t count calories, train hard, train in a way you enjoy, only do classes, never do classes, do CrossFit, don’t do CrossFit, lift heavy, lift for reps, run, walk as the absolute key to reaching your goals. You’ll be encouraged to love your body as it is, lose weight, gain muscle, work on your butt, train for a PB, train for fun, never skip a Monday, not over train. You’ll see posts telling you to reach out to someone if you need support alongside positive vibe only quotes.

My point is that there are so many, often contradictory messages out there. That can make knowing what your goal is and how to get there confusing. It can make knowing when to push and when to rest hard. It can make dealing with your own mental health effectively difficult.

Let’s take exercise intensity as an example. Messages about there being no such thing as a bad workout and the sessions you really don’t want to do being the ones you should do are potentially useful for someone who is struggling to motivate themselves to train, hasn’t trained for a while and needs a bit of accountability. Yet if you are someone who trains religiously every day (or more than once a day), ae showing signs of injury and fatigue and really should dial back your training to avoid burnout, those same messages are not useful. For those people an exercise philosophy that encourages listening to your body and resting when you feel you need to works better. Of course if you flip it that message wouldn’t be useful to someone who often tells themselves excuses not to train as it won’t get them moving.

Of course your social media viewing is largely a prism of your own ideology- we choose who we follow but still not every post you see will be applicable to you, that can make knowing how to approach your fitness difficult. That’s where bringing in a fitness professional can be beneficial.

Most PTs have their preferred methods- things they believe will work best in terms of training and nutrition, however they will also have the knowledge to adapt plans to work for you. That means what your PT prescribes for you won’t be the same as every other client they have, because we are all different and what motivates you effectively won’t motivate every other person to the same level.

Social media is a great tool for ideas and inspiration but as much as we often hear about being careful not to fall into the comparison trap, also remember to not fall into the trap of trying to do every single thing in a quest for the ultimate level of fitness. The most successful people at most things are not successful at everything – they specialise, and in the same way the most effective way for you to get results is to focus on they key things that will most benefit you.

You Can’t Take Likes To the Bank

Blog 10 of my mini series…

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At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I traveled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the final blog where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given by Alan Wallace, an account brand and project manager from Northern Ireland.

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‘You can’t take likes to the bank’ said Allan.

How many likes your photos on Instagram get or how many shares are not a metric to bank on.

I think whether you use your social media accounts for personal reasons, for business or both this can be easy to forget.

It’s easy to see someone else getting hundreds of likes or shares and compare yourself to them and wonder what you are doing wrong.

After writing nine previous blogs about social media in this series, how you can use it to aid your own personal brand (regardless whether you use that brand as part of a business or just for you) it feels right to finish on that thought, and it felt a good way for the summit itself to end.

A reminder that when we post content we want the content to matter to us and be true to our own personal beliefs and values.  When it is, if it doesn’t get the kind of traction we had hoped we can still feel good about the content because we know it’s worthwhile.

Golden Handcuffs

Blog 9 of my mini series…

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At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I traveled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the blog nine of ten where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given by Tyler Babin, creative resident at Adobe and former creative for Gary Vee.

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Among other things Tyler talked about how being happy is strategically better than making a strategic decision for financial gain.

When you are looking to make changes in your career, whether you be self employed or employed it can be easy to look at the route that will offer the most money in the least amount of time.

But Tyler talked of this being like ‘golden handcuffs’ in that you get material value from this route but it can be detrimental to your mental health and your happiness.

It can sometimes therefore be better to look towards opportunities that align with your values and benefit your life in a more rounded way and work towards monetary goals this way instead.  Whilst undoubtedly taking longer, you are more likely to enjoy what you do during this period or growth and so get more personal value from it and be happier in general.  This in turn can make you more willing to put the work in to reach your ultimate goals.

I think this is an important idea to remember, we live in a society where we are used to getting things instantly and encouraged to attain high salaries and buy a lot of material things.  In tandem to this however we also live in a society where mental health problems are common and many people report being dissatisfied with their work life balance.

Therefore taking  a step back and deciding what works best for you, rather than what on appear looks like the best option, could make you happier in the long run.  Of all the messages from this Summit I think this is one of the most powerful.

 

 

Anyone can have a platform

Blog 8 of my mini series…

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At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I traveled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the blog eight of ten where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given Melanie Murphy, a YouTube creator and best selling author from Ireland.

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Melanie talked about brand and how to make yourself a successful brand.

The thing I took from this talk that I want to share here is that anyone can have a platform.  Whatever you do or are interested in or would like to talk about, you can create a platform that suits our personality and find an audience.

When we think of brand we think of business, logos and slogans.  Of course big brands have all of those things but as I have mentioned repeatedly over this mini series in the current age of social media (and even more so during this lockdown period where life takes place online) we are all our own brand.  Our beliefs, principles, ethos creates ‘us’ whether we are a business, self employed or not.

So if your interest is cats or books or Olympic weight lifting or Harry Potter or anything else, there will be people who are interested in what you have to say, so if you start a blog or podcast or youtube channel there will be people who will watch.

This brings me to the second point on this.  If you start a platform to put content out on, every view counts.  Whether you have an audience of 5 or 500 if you are talking about the things you are really passionate about you will find satisfaction from this.  Ironically this is also the best way to grow over time.

Inevitably it can take time to build an audience and the key is not to be disheartened at the beginning when it feels like you are talking to yourself.  When you care about your subject it’s a lot easier to keep pushing.

Right now if you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and a passion why not try and start a blog or podcast or something where you can develop your passion, it could be a brilliant Covid-19 legacy!

Putting Your Face Out There

Blog 7 of my mini series…

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At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I traveled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the blog seven of ten where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given by Video Marketing Manager of Purple Dot Media, Niamh Macauley.

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Niamh focused on Linkedin, what we tend to see as the business world Facebook and I think for a lot of us a bit of a ‘little bit pointless’ platform.  But as I mentioned in the second blog in this series it’s a potentially valuable source for those of us that want to promote ourselves online.

This talk focused on using videos on LinkedIn, something which I’m terrible at on almost all platforms to be honest.  I have poor filming skills and am not overly keen on how I sound or look on camera.

But people prefer seeing faces, videos with your face in it will get more interaction so if we want to progress ourselves as a brand, whether that be for your business or your own personal brand for employment getting over the idea of putting ourselves online is something we need to do.

The second biggest tip I got from this talk was when you’re trying to provide value for people with your posts (which all posts should do, pointless posts are, well, pointless) don’t assume everyone knows what you know.

Videos or posts with 3-4 tips on a topic can be really useful to people.  You may think well these tips are obvious so where’s the value.  But if you are posting about your topic of expertise the tips might be obvious to you, that doesn’t mean they are to everyone else.

So as we all think more about our online branding as Lockdown progresses, seriously consider getting your face out there online more as a tool to allowing you to provide valuable content that gets people engaging with you and allows you to build authority within your field.  I truly believe that this doesn’t just apply to self employed people or business owners right now, those of us that are employed can apply it also and show case our professional abilities and our company’s brand on sites such as Linkedin and increase our value to that company as we all quickly become more digital due to circumstances.

When Learning Is Pointless

Blog 6 of my mini series…

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At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I traveled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the blog five of ten where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given by Creative Director for Ryan Serhant, Adrian Vasquez.

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Adrian talked about brand and his experiences around this, something which I’ve mentioned lots over the last few mini blogs in this series.

Your brand is your reputation. If you can do things differently but also consistently you can help your brand thrive.  Lot’s of ideas were cemented for me.  Yell out your wins, enthusiasm/ passion for your product converts to sales, try things and see how they work out, trust what you are doing even if others don’t understand.  These things allow you to build your reputation (your brand).  These are useful lessons.

My biggest take out from his talk however –

Learning only matters if you put it into action. 

I went to this summit and left planning to write these blogs.  It took me a month to get started.  I left with that take out ringing in my ear and ignored it.

Now to be fair – that’s mainly because as well as Covid-19 creating an immense amount of work for me soon after, I was starting to put into action actual products I wanted to create as a PT.

But the blog posts on this summit I wanted to produce were as part of my Virtual PA role.  they were content that would be useful to that part of my brand.  As much as the products I started to create were useful to my business (and I was acting) they were covering a different aspect of my brand (the fitness element) and I was leaving content for my VA branding hanging.

Coming back to the idea that learning is great but action is what matters has given me the kick up the bum needed to start taking that action.

This meant two things.

Firstly, planning my time better.  I have several roles – fitness roles and Virtual Assistant roles and then roles which merge the two together and overlap.  I know I can’t always focus on both equally – I’ll always need to be more focused on one to move something along but need better planning to know the others to continue ticking over whilst I do that.  This week quite simply I wrote a list of things I need to do for all roles.  Some things will take focus but nothing will be ignored.  I took some action.

Secondly, for me it meant just jumping in and doing things, not waiting for the ideal circumstances and times, being willing to change my overall plans to react to circumstances better and to take advantage of opportunities rather than sticking to plans already in place at the risk of missing opportunities.

In the last few weeks I’ve done a lot of this.  Everything I’m doing is still within my ethos, my brand, but what I thought I’d be working on at the start of Lockdown is not what I’m actually doing now.  I’ll come back to those projects – but there are things that make more sense to do now – both in terms of short term and long term value to me and my business.  From all the education and mentorship I’ve had in recent years I know this, even though I’m someone who doesn’t really like deviating from plans once set – If I don’t act on this knowledge, having attended all those seminars, days of learning etc will have been wasted.

The message that learning means little if you do nothing with the knowledge is universal to all of life.  Putting ideas in practice, being a doer.  Whether it’s your fitness, your job, your business, your relationships you want to apply it to – learning new skills is something we should all try to do but we must look to apply the learning to benefit from it.  That might mean I have to do things right now that feel like a deviation from what I’d planned, and I might be uncomfortable with that but I’m applying what I’ve learnt to my situation right now.

Toxic?

Blog 5 of my mini series…

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At the end of February (feels like a life time ago now) I traveled to Belfast to attend the Only Just media Summit.  This was just as Corona Virus was starting to become a ‘thing’, before Social Distancing had become a ‘thing’ and the week that Northern Ireland had just had their first case.

The event was a full day of speakers, all experts in their fields, talking to a room full of bloggers, Vloggers, content creators and brands.  My plan immediately after the event was to write some blogs on the speakers and my key takeouts.  Life then got in the way, CoronaVirus exploded and took up all my time at work and this idea got left in the notes section of my phone.  Until now.

Today is the blog five of ten where I want to outline my key take outs for the day.

Why?  To be honest it’s probably multipurpose (like that kind of cleaning product you but to clean the kitchen and bathroom if like me you are not a ‘Mrs. Hincher’.  Partly I think it will help me solidify the key points I took away from the day, because although I’ve not written about them here until now I have started to take action.  But also because I think you as the reader could also benefit from these takeouts.  You might not be interested in branding or social media or content creation but some of the ideas I took away could just be useful for your approach to your job or you life in general.

So introductions over today’s blog will focus on the talk given by Gabriel Desanti, a content creator and influencer from New York.

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Gabriel talked very honestly about his own experiences and Fulfillment versus Cost.

He spoke about how the concept of a toxic environment is very real and can have a negative effect on your whole well being.  Your environment can both assist in making you feel happy and also unhappy.  Now, perhaps surprisingly for a social media influencer, he stressed that isn’t to say corporate environments are always going to make you unhappy and working for yourself is the goal for everyone, rather its finding the environment and balance that works for you.

Initially this sounds like a weird topic to bring into a blog series about personal branding / social media branding.  However if you recall my recent blogs have all focused on the goal that whether you are branding yourself or a business you need to be authentic and that is going to be very unique to you.  If you find yourself funneling yourself into a particular environment because you think it’s the right one for where you ‘should’ be, and it makes you miserable then that will not benefit you’re professional progression.

Your happy place may not seem ‘right’ to other people, but that is ok if it suits you.  A lot of people do not understand why my current working situation works for me, perhaps some people think I could earn more than I do.  But I know that what I do suits my purpose, makes me happy and I enjoy the balance I have and the mix of ‘corporate’ and self employed.  Removing toxicity isn’t always about removing people which is what we tend to automatically think about when we hear the word toxic, your environment is also important, potentially more so, not just the walls which you are within but the model you work within, so you need to find a way of working which works for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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