Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Where to find me now

You can go to http://natashagolding.wordpress.com to read what I'm saying these days.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Urrr, just been thinking about how lovely it is when you you give or receive permission. When you cheerlead for an idea or have someone say ‘you totally know what to do next’. Got 20 mins until a meeting, can I write and publish by then?

I like thinking of personalities as having different parts. Everyday different parts of us come up and lead and affect what we say, what we think and how we feel. Most the time 'me' is in charge.

Deviation: I've heard some people use the classroom analogy (thanks Andrea) and the parent of family analogy (thanks Helen). Another lovely friend uses the idea of a coven of witches that fly together into a clearing, but they're all her.

Continuation: Sometimes a part takes the lead and 'me' becomes quiet and tricky to be/hear. Parts that are hurt can make us experience doubt, self-criticism and injustice. 'Me' can normally remind us that this is a part, 'me' can say 'OK, part thanks but I'm in charge and I don't think that's true'. This is difficult to do when parts are really hurt.

Main point: Anyway, cheerleading is about bigging up the 'me'. Giving the 'me' permission to be in charge, to follow her/his instincts and ideas. Parts are useful to listen to and gain wisdom from - they are like barometers. They can tell you when you've had a button pressed or not paid attention to a festering feeling.

Wow, this is getting rather far out.

Simple conclusion type bit: Another more palatable version of the same ideas is giving people permission to be themselves. Reminding them about their own sovereignty. I think we spend a lot of time doing what we think we need to do (the land of 'should'). Adventuring around the perimeters of my own personality has been a bit of a life long mission. I like encouraging others on their own adventures and seeing their eyes glint when they feel they know themselves better.

(Written but not published in time!)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Some as yet incomplete thinking about purpose

Complex version
I'm beginning to see a process that gets you on the path to creating a smart piece of communication.
i) Understand the intent - what do you want people to do
ii) Understand how the style, the execution, materials etc. reflect the way your business is, its personality - I'm bored ***tless of the word but 'brand' is often used here.
iii) Explain the logic of your decisions based on point ii).

It all seems a bit complicated. Here's version two

Getting more refined...
1) Work out what you're about
2) Decide who you're talking to and what you want them to do, make sure these things fit with 1)
3) Explain the logic to yourself - I'm all about community, I want to talk to people I make sense to, I want them to trade with me and/or introduce people to me who I can trade with.
4) Take action, execute - given what I know, investing time into connecting with people through the people I know and being open about my world view would make for a smart plan of action.

I'm back to business argument thinking - once you know what's at the core of your business you can make decisions with confidence. We're about XYZ so we should definitely make an invetsment in ABC becuase it makes sense.

The final edit
Know your purpose and ask yourself whether your choice gets you closer to it.

Examples in action..

Purpose: get people to feel good about being active
Decision to be made: need to plan coaching sessions for clients
Thinking routes: What makes people feel good about getting active? What do they need - space, refreshment, positive reinforcement, privacy, systems for counteracting self criticism that comes when they don't do enough.

Purpose: help female led small businesses feel confident about handling their finances.
Decision: ways to get more business?
Thinking routes: When do we accept help on a topic we feel low in confidence about? Where do we go for sources of help when we're in this situation? What gets in the way of us taking action?

Think I've moved on to something more...hmmm...need some extra brain space to run this through. Will report back once the thinking is done.

Monday, 8 February 2010

A year of thinking

I took a year off it seems. It felt shorter. I took a year off yoga. I took a year off blogging. Never planned to take a year. Just stopped. Much like I stopped smoking one day in 2000. Haven't found a good reason to start smoking again since then. But think yoga and writing might be different.

Lesson learnt during the year no.1
Something to do with intent. I wonder if everything is neutral in the first instance, neither preferable nor unwanted. The intent a thing has affects the thing itself. Peaceful intent makes for peaceful things. Harmful intent makes for harm.

Lesson learnt no.2
Something to do with complexity. I could never make the division of the world by good/evil or good/bad make sense to me, seems a bit too simple. I wonder how opinion operates in a new world where there are a million different ways to be. I like the idea that confusion is the default human state of mind.

Can we make any of this relevant to communication?
1) The truth will out, as Mr Shakespeare explained, so if your intent is not one you'd like to reveal to yourself or your readers you should know that it can only ever be thinly veiled.

2) We live in a time when much of the communications we interact with are aimed at helping us define ourselves as a consumer. They help us feel part of 'lifestyle type' that has it's own clothing, foods, postal addresses, cars, credit card, choice of hardware and more. Communication that lets an individual truly define their own opinions, without fear of judgment, would be a breathe of fresh, sweet, very human air.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Managing our brains

We had a great workshop on Tuesday evening. The subject was "what you need to know before you start work on your website". Since then I've been reflecting on the ways our brains, and our selves, affect the way we do, or don't do, our work.

I procrastinate. There is a small pile of receipts laying in a box in testimony to that fact. These days I manage it. I know how to trick my brain into doing. I also know how to see the guilt feeling and not get in a whirlwind of reactions.

Whether or not you procrastinate, you have a brain that enables and disables you in different ways. Ultimately living, and working, is about learning how to manage yourself and your brain. It's about knowing how to use your brain skilfully and how to nurture it.

It amazes me that doing work, as an employee or a business owner, is always about dealing with our own humanity. No, hang on. It's not the fact that amazes me, but that I thought the world was telling me that business was somehow separate from humans.

There is more to be thought of and said about this. I'm looking forward to the conversations.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

I’m a text supremacist because…

Before you design your logo, before you communicate anything, you have to know what you are and what you want to say. Your message and the way your business feels are first captured in words. Well it’s in someone’s brain first, as a concept, but then it gets written down.

TWO The way your business looks, from the colours to the website and the office sign, communicates your message and your feel. The people who design this stuff have to know what you seek to say. That’s why you have to start with point one.

THREE I think you should write your website text before you create the design. A website is a piece of communication. It should be designed to enable people to read it, use it, understand the message and experience the feel of your business. It’s illogical that the words come last and get rushed because everyone's had enough and just wants to go live, now!

FOUR I would love to see more well designed text online. Huge swathes of blocky, fully justified text looks dull and can be difficult to read. I think some sort of online typesetting revolution is in order.

FIVE I think you should only ever employ designers who can, and do, read and understand the words you give them to turn into newsletters, websites and printed communications.

Wo ho, text is best.

Friday, 12 December 2008

What the hell websites have to do with decision-making

A website is trying to get me, the reader, to do something. But, before I take action I have a whole bunch of questions that need answering. There are many decisions I have to take before I do anything. No 1. "Should I even bother reading this?".

I’m on a journey to find something useful, interesting or entertaining. The website is hoping to be my destination. Once there perhaps I bookmark the page for later, physically go visit the business, send a link to a friend, join the mailing list, buy something or call up for an appointment.

At every stage I’m deciding whether to carry on. I’m matching what I find against my internal criteria. In each second there are a list of doubts and concerns that what I see has to overcome. After all I’m human, I’m brilliant at finding the reasons why not.

As a human I’m also all about relating. Every time my needs are met I feel more secure and I feel more trusting. As my anxiety decreases I’m ready to start thinking about action.

Your website needs to be a beautiful place for your audience’s minds to be in. They should float along on clouds of useful information, insight and friendly service. They should be embraced by your credibility and trustworthiness. Ahh...now they’re ready to call you up.