Faster horses and brighter candles

The week was full of opportunities to connect and communicate. There’s lots of the latter happening, as we market what we do into a world clamouring ever-more loudly for a different way. The highlight of the week was Matthew’s birthday weekend, a time of celebration with friends and family.

A week of connecting, communicating and celebrating. Some weeks are slow and some weeks are full. This past week was full. A week full of connecting with people we have not seen or spoken to for some time and some we have. A week communicating with organisations and individuals about our work and a celebratory week for Matthew’s birthday. Hip hip hooray!

Marketing and communication is fun to study, with its promotions and creative campaigns, its five forces and seven P’s, but in reality can be incredibly arduous. It requires focus, desire and energy. It requires a plan, an ability to implement it and the tenacity to keep going in the face of resistance, dismissal and avoidance.

That sounds quite negative and it is not all negative by any means. The challenge is, when one is passionate, committed and purpose-driven doing work that to all intents and purposes is ahead of the curve, finding ways to speak to people so they get what we are doing and why it is important can be exhausting.


Birthday macarons with one of Matthew’s favourite literary characters

Of interviewers and interviewees

I can hear some of you thinking, well maybe what you are doing is not wanted right now? If you had asked in the day of horse drawn carriages and candlelight what they wanted, they probably would have said “faster horses” and “brighter candles”. No-one had a concept of a car nor the electric light bulb. People need our work, desperately.

Here are some statistics on why our work is needed, everywhere.

Mental health conditions cost the South African economy more than R200bn a year through people missing work and presenteeism.

94% of HR professionals in the United States believe that by offering mental health resources, organisations can improve the overall health of employees.

Suicide accounts for 1 in 100 deaths globally.

Depression is the fourth leading cause of illness and disability among young people aged 15-19.

We could go on but you get the idea. The problem is everywhere, and it is growing.

If this doesn’t sway you because, perhaps, you think emotions aren’t that important and we should focus on rationality and cognition, then consider this sagely perspective from David D. Franks, a Professor Emeritus of Sociology, who said in 2006. “[There is the] consistent finding that unconscious preferences and emotional leanings exert significantly more influence over our thoughts and behaviours than do conscious preferences. We cannot exert conscious controls over ‘things we know not of.’

And then there’s this from Professor Joseph LeDoux in 2000: “Emotional arousal has powerful influences over cognitive processing. Attention, perception, memory, decision-making and the conscious concomitants of each are all swayed in emotional states. The reason for this is simple: emotional arousal organises and coordinates brain activity.

It reminds us of the 5th Place principle: I am because I feel. It says: Because we feel, we remember, because we remember, we have a history, because we have a history, we have an identity. I am because I feel.

In light if these examples, we are determined to keep speaking to them (you), their (your) organisations and communities and so the marketing and communication continues.


Drumming around the fire and making new friends

Rhythmic inspiration with conversation and friendship

Our podcast for this week was one about connecting through networking. We interviewed a remarkable man who works for an innovative job platform for healthcare workers in Canada. Our conversation was about his passion for networking and community building and the important conversations we can have.

Coming out of that we did some generative connecting this past week with those that we were meeting for the first time, those we had not seen for a while and those who we call our friends.

On Friday night we drummed, with more or less dexterity, around a flickering fire on an unusually warm winter’s night. We met a tapestry of people, known and newly met. While we dipped soft bread in a kaleidoscope of soups and nibbled rich chocolate desserts we shared sparkling stories and laughed a lot. We left feeling warm inside and out.


Monika (left) first celebrated a birthday with Matthew when he turned 14

Who doesn't love birthdays?

Birthdays are days that can be over imbued with meaning that can lend them a sometimes contentious air. Who hasn’t cried on their birthday? For unexpressed expectations unhappily unfulfilled or expressed expectations denied, or disappointment at wishes not met. That pressure we place on ourselves as parents for our precious little people. Do we bake or buy in? Is it pony rides or parrots on a string? Will there be enough goody bags? What to make for the moms and the dads and whoever else arrives?

In spite of all of that we believe that birthdays should be celebrated. Both as an honouring of the auspicious entry of your being into this world and as a celebration of having lived another year. This year Matthew had a birthday weekend.

Cappuccinos and poached eggs in Parkview with his favourite friend from high school. Time flew as even the mundane was made interesting thanks to resonating energy and an easy laughter. Matthew spent the afternoon clearing out and cataloguing a computer groaning under the weight of too many open tabs. One person’s work, is another’s peace and calm and this is what Matthew calls pottering and he says he doesn’t do enough of it.


Pizza time!

Connecting with friends and family

Sunday was half a duvet day and breakfast for lunch. Collecting leaves for the compost and a surprise gift bag too, from another set of fabulous friends hiding out to get over colds and loss. Later pizza and salad with Matthew’s favourite son and a rowdy chat with his father in France. A birthday of significance as all birthdays should be.

There is nothing better than knowing the warmth and good will of connectedness. It spreads through one like a hearty soup. You feel embraced even if a hug isn’t included. There is a verve that leaves you feeling stronger, smiling longer. We really are hardwired for connection.

The challenge for you today is to seek someone you really like and enjoy being with but that you have not seen for a while. Make a plan to connect with them. Connect, communicate and celebrate.

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About the author

5th Place

5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.

We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.

Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.

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