Presence instead of Presents

Date night?

For you, my dear
Presence is the gift.
My heart is here.
My thoughts not adrift.
I pack away
The source of distraction
for a pause of play
and intent interaction.
For if all were amiss
And this moment passed
The devices are cold
My heart would not last.
Presents are things
Of which I’ve no need.
Your presence it sings,
my heart is does feed.
-Heidi Forbes Öste (2012)

The house is prepared for the holidays. We settle in as the snow begins to fall. It’s the time of year again where the wish lists come out and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions start buzzing. There is only one gift that I wish to give and to get for my family this year: Presence.

All too often we find ourselves with iPad or phone holding our concentration. From the breakfast table to date night, there never seems to be a sacred moment without it. We used to say the world would not stop if we disappeared. Now each vibration causes a habitual pattern of thought even if we do not respond be checking to see the source. Most times, we cannot resist sneaking a peek just to make sure it is not “critical.”

Each year we struggle to find ways to reconnect, to discover who we are and where we are going. In our over-connected lives this often means one thing: remote location, no wifi. I look forward to a pause in the buzz. I long for the uninterrupted conversation, thought and silence. I crave a hike in the mountains, a walk on the beach, a game of cards, a snuggle in a hammock, sharing a nice bottle of wine with presence.

I hope you all will consider giving and receiving presence and the value of that gift. Extend it beyond your family, as you go about your holiday parties. Ask about people’s passions and take the time to listen with presence. You might be surprised what you learn. It might just be a present in itself. How will you share presence this holiday?

This post is dedicated to Björn; my hero, partner, playmate and champion who I look forward to sharing presence with.

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Embrace Social Media

Social media is a “cost efficient experiment” according to the Social Computing Journal. Smart Brief says polls on LinkedIn and AdWeek show “Recession will yield ad improvements in ROI, Web, social media”. Bryan Eisenberg of ClickZ states that “social media should be a part of any forward-thinking and transparent company.” Smart Brief has gone so far as to recognise the importance by creating its own section of Smart Brief on Social Media.

So what does this all mean? Social Media has hit the mainstream and we need to learn to manage our interactions with it, as individuals and businesses. It has enormous possibilities and we are all invited to partake, in fact we cannot avoid it once we go online. It was not so long ago we were learning how to deal with ratings and comments being the extent of the online interactions. Now we are creating global communities everywhere. In Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations we are drawn deeper into the impact of communities or organisations that are self created. As marketers we need to learn to not simply “harness” the communities but become active participants. As receivers we need to embrace the wealth of knowledge to be obtained and learn to optmise our interactions so that we do not become even more overwhelmed by the influx of information. Do not resist, but take the time to take part and learn what is out there to make the most of it.

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A new look at Entrepreneurs from old eyes

“Today’s smart entrepreneurs start global” -The Economist

Yes even the conservative Economist is recognising the much lies in the hands of Entrepreneurs, and even goes so far as to mention some social entrepreneurs while they are at it. According to the article Entrepreneurialism has Become Cool, the outlook has changed. “Today entrepreneurship is very much part of economics. Economists have realised that, in a knowledge-based economy, entrepreneurs play a central role in creating new companies, commercialising new ideas and, just as importantly, engaging in sustained experiments in what works and what does not. William Baumol has put entrepreneurs at the centre of his theory of growth. Paul Romer, of Stanford University, argues that “economic growth occurs whenever people take resources and rearrange them in ways that are more valuable…[It] springs from better recipes, not just more cooking.” Edmund Phelps, a Nobel prize-winner, argues that attitudes to entrepreneurship have a big impact on economic growth.”

Sweden’s Dagens Industri, states that creative start ups are on the rise and the economy falls. “What is now perceived as a crisis, perhaps many people in three or four years will think back on that it was the best thing that happened to them,” says Ashkan Pouya, MBA and entrepreneur.

Combining this energy to support the entrepreneurial spirit, the hopes are high on a new global economy rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

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