I thought it would be good to look at 2014… About 2 weeks ago, I started this article and then flu (mine and other people’s) and all that Christmas stuff got in the way. And now, it’s 2015 and everything feels new and fresh so I’m not sure I want to harp on about the past but still, 2014 deserves a mention. It was HUGE. So here we go, this is what I wanted to say.
2014. What a year. There will be a million reviews out there of all the stuff that happened in internet-land, so I’m sticking to looking at my own year professionally and personally. And actually, they are pretty much one and the same because they’re not that easy to keep separate (although when it comes to being a parent I do my best.)
Here we go. 5 things that made a big difference to me this year (in no particular order, the big things are sometimes the little things and the little things are sometimes the big things):
1. Going to San Francisco
Thanks to a bit of luck I was selected for the incredible Special Edition of the Cross Creative training programme run by TRC in Glasgow. We did 8 months of training sessions here and then flew out to San Francisco which totally blew my mind.
It blew my mind in two ways.
One was personal. I’m half American but I’ve never really explored that part of my identity. But my experience of America and Americans in SF was fab. I wanted to be part of it. I couldn’t help telling people that I was really half American. But they liked the Scottish part better because that’s more interesting to them.
The other was work. I wanted to move over there and work there immediately. Drop everything and join the feeling that you were really part of something amazing that was happening. But when I reflected on it, after I’d been back in flipping Glasgow for a couple of weeks I thought it would be way cooler to do something amazing here. Perhaps because the summer of 2014 in Glasgow was completely amazing, it felt like we were at the centre of the universe here for a change. There are fantastic things happening in Glasgow, we just have to be better at telling people about them.
We need more confidence about our own abilities and we need to move faster to make the world a better place, to progress rather than hark back to a past that discriminated against most people. The referendum in Scotland showed that there is a sizeable number of people in Scotland who want to do things differently – just it’d be good if we could combine that desire for change with a bit more action and less talking maybe? I don’t know. I loved the power we felt we had during the referendum campaign and how social media allowed us to share information*, and feel like part of a movement, like we had a voice. Our votes counted in 2014. 2015 is going to see some huge political shifts – hopefully positive ones.
3. The Rapha Women’s 100
On July 20th I got on my bike and then a train (then jumped off the train and ran back to Starbucks where I’d left my purse, then ran back and only just caught the train) to catch a boat to cycle round Arran and do 100K at the same time as thousands of other women. The Rapha Women’s 100 is a virtual event, made possible by how connected we all are through social media. So although I was solo, I knew I was not alone.
Arran is pretty tough to cycle round. I felt that doing it on my own was a pretty significant achievement. Thinking back on how I was screaming inside by the last 10K but still made the 16.40 ferry home helps me when I need to muster up a bit more determination to get through whatever I’m struggling with. Cycling’s like that. A lot of it’s horrible and painful but the buzz you get afterwards is like nothing else.
4. Building a team
In 2014 our strategy team grew bigger by about 200% and we are now developing new skills and specialisms to add more value to the services we offer our clients at Equator. I’m really excited about the things we’re going to do in 2015. Watch this space!
5. The changing nature of what we do
One of the reasons for the growth of our team, in size and skillsets, was because what we do is changing. We are adapting to the changing needs of our clients and the market – breaking down silos and coming up with better, stronger strategies and ideas. Again, watch this space!
6. Small blogging achievements
And finally, I recently found that my post on assimilation was listed by @misentropy – so that’s really inspiring me to write more. More about what I do as a strategist than this kind of personal stuff, which is not so easy to write about, I guess because it’s more for my benefit than for anyone else. So – hopefully you’ll hear from me a bit more this year.