As we enter the closing weeks of 2018, and the holiday season, I want to share some personal reflections that may be helpful for you and the people you work and live with. This week, I am focusing on all that we take in from the media, and how we can maintain balance and focus in the midst of often discouraging, divisive and demoralizing news. We need to tune some information out in order to more effectively tune in to our purpose as individuals and professionals.
I believe that there are two big echo chambers that have the potential to damage our spirits and sap our focus, energy and productivity: Washington and Wall Street. I am personally very interested in what goes on in government, business and the economy because these affect the daily lives and futures of all of us. I make it a point to stay informed. But, I have also observed and learned that unchecked consumption and regurgitation of news, opinions and prognostications can create unhealthy outcomes on both a personal and collective level.
Since we live in such a hyper-networked world, it is important to be aware that the collective moods, mindsets and energies of people and organizations can be quickly absorbed in negative ways that hold us back from moving forward in our personal and work lives with conviction, commitment and collaboration.
Let’s start with Wall Street. The market’s up. The market’s down. Last week, conventional wisdom suggested more boom times ahead with a recession likely in 2022. This week, much of the conventional wisdom suggests a recession is more likely to occur in 2019. While short-term trends in the stock market both reflect and affect consumer and business confidence, it has less of an impact on the long-term growth trends of the economy than many other fundamental factors like population growth, educational attainment and a skilled and adaptable workforce. So, while I do tune into business and economic news, I tune out many of the short-term prognostications, which keeps me more relaxed and more focused – a state of being that helps me to be more productive.
Now, let’s go to Washington. No, let’s not. Rather than turning my head from left to right and right to left, like a tennis match spectator, I am trying to focus on the most important assets we share in America – our founding principles and values which support individual and collective achievement and service. We are celebrating those values in the life of a former president. So, I choose to tune out much of the national-level political rhetoric, and focus on the collective efforts of non-profits, businesses and volunteers that are lifting up people in my home region of central New Jersey. I focus on and support the organizations that leverage our diversity, creativity and collaboration to build relationships, solve problems and humbly celebrate success.
Now, for brand marketers, a bit of friendly advice – You will be more effective in building long-term brand value by reducing the quantity of your selling messages in the advertising echo chambers. Shift your focus by tuning out the noise and tuning into the question, “How do we create more value and trust by supporting a more sustainable, equitable society?” Make that your 2019 new year’s resolution, and maybe we’ll all be a little happier next holiday season.
December 6, 2018
Written by Tom Sullivan
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