Don’t do as I do, do as I Say

I’ll come clean. I have been to networking events, spotted someone I know and huddled in a corner eating nibbles, gossiping and sipping free wine. I’ve also sat infront of my PC and found my mind blank with barely the motivation to click on the latest snow picture posted by a stranger on Twitter. I’m not the only one, am I?

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I read all the relentless positive posts on Facebook and Linkedin. Posts by ex work colleagues who have taken the plunge: roamed the world on the back of a llama; launched their latest literary oeuvre to critical acclaim; spoken to deafening applause at global conferences; offered life coaching, food and fuel to the needy… and I’m overwhelmed. And frankly a tiny bit sceptical.

And while I don’t want to hear tales of misery, despondency and inactivity I do sometimes wish we could admit we are a little bit fallible without fearing professional disapproval. So, while it’s good to hang out with creative, positive people – those for whom the sun always seems to shine, who stand on the greenest patch of grass and whose toast never falls butter side down – don’t be fooled. I bet they’ve also stared at a blank screen or an empty canvas. They’ve probably huddled in corners with their mates at networking events and discovered they left their busines cards in another jacket pocket. And that’s the point. We’re all a little nervous about meeting new contacts and most of us have wondered where our next idea will come from.

And why are these thoughts at the forefront of my – occasionally tumbleweed troubled – mind? Well I am supposed to be positive by profession. I coach the nervous networker, I aim to stimulate the blogger’s creative juices, encourage the tentative Tweeter. I read all the latest articles urging us all on, telling us all what we should be doing in our professional lives, armed with our “Elevator Pitches” and freshly printed business cards. I know best practice marketing principles, I enjoy creative writing and I know how to network. But it’s hard.

So, as I head out to talk to others about what I occasionally struggle to do myself I finally understand those words my Mother often said to me when, as a child I dared to question her authority, “Don’t do as I do, do as I Say”.

Oh, and before I go – if you are a creative blogger struggling to come up with ideas why not join me at Artillery’s Blogging Stories Surgery on Tuesday 5 February, in E17.

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