So what is freedom? It’s the ability to choose.

So many people are locked down, some people’s lives have ended and many people’s livelihoods have been wrecked.

There are a million arguments for differing actions and thousands now graduating with a degree in hindsight. The absurdity of our current situation was summed up by a man wearing nothing but his underpants trying to shop in a Tesco store in Wales. Apparently, other items apart from food can be ‘essential’. The images reflected what many of us are thinking. Have we lost our minds and our hearts?

Is there a solution? 

The best solution for the present is to make a choice. A choice not to lose our faith and our hope for a better future. Rather than concentrating on a colour coded message of fear we can start preparing our own colours. There’s a picture to be painted when the blank canvas of 2021 is revealed. No more ‘tears for fears’, let’s start ‘sowing the seeds of love’… now.

The greatest marketing strategy in the world is to CARE, and I believe that this is how we can plant the beginnings of a comeback from what has been one of the strangest of setbacks.

But in order to do this we have to make choices…

In business we all have to make tough choices. They’re tough because they are in opposition to the way we feel. Emotions are important but we have to make sure that we are in control of them. If we aren’t it’s time to seek help. 

So here are a few choices to make for the next season. 

We can choose to love.

Love, in essence, is selfless. It chooses to put others first. Love listens and sees others who need a conversation and a helping hand. A moment of inconvenience for us can be a Godsend for someone else.

We can choose to give.

Marcus Rashford made a choice with his actions. He chose to be a hungry child’s solution. So, whether it’s a free meal program or choosing to pay for someone else’s shopping, giving solves someone else’s problem, even when it feels a bit uncomfortable. I remember when some friends of ours had been through some hard times. We decided to give them a holiday, which was big for us! We committed. We were all in.

Then, due to various circumstances, our money got tight. But something started to happen. It was as if the money that we had grew. Purchasing food I started to come across yellow labels on luxury items… meat for a king! Then lots of people started inviting us for dinner. We got through. Then… the free holidays started to appear… we were given a summer holiday with a VIP pass at a holiday park… we won a winter holiday… (flights included)… then we got a crazy deal on another… and, bar the pandemic, would have had an all expenses paid trip to watch LFC play with 5 star hotel included! 

You reap what you sow.

We can choose to be optimistic.

Don’t be the person who has a problem for every solution. It’s not about ignoring the situation, but it’s not time to discuss people, it’s time to discuss ideas. Give your dreams a deadline and put conviction ahead of comfort.

We can choose to be happy.

Taylor Swift once said… “Shake it off.” The negativity. Happiness is about making the right choices. You can make excuses for why other people make you feel bad or you can look in the mirror and make a choice for you. True happiness isn’t about what you have, it’s more to do with who you choose to become. Stop drinking if it makes you unhappy before you find you can’t stop. Replace stubbornness for tenacity and anger for passion. 

We can choose to forgive.

We all get affected by each others’ mistakes. You may have every right to demand justice but you can forgive whether justice has been served, or not. The quickest way to depression is to never forgive. Forgiveness gives us an opportunity for freedom. Forgiveness is a reminder to us that we get it wrong sometimes too. We also need to forgive ourselves and give ourselves permission to move on.

We can choose to speak out

Lately, many have spoken out against injustice. Those that suffer in silence need a voice. We can make a choice to champion the cause that moves us most. My cause is ensuring people live a purposeful life. Giving each person something to believe in. Helping them answer that question, ‘Why am I here?’ It’s about empowering people. 

We can choose to show respect.

Everyone has a right to be respected. Humankind should be just that… kind to each other. Respecting isn’t just about hearing that voice, it’s listening and doing something about it. Empathy is the short cut to respect. When you choose to put yourself in another’s shoes and see things their way, you begin to understand the conclusions they have reached. The true depth of respect is understanding how someone reached their opinion without necessarily agreeing with it. True conversation allows us to exchange ideas and can transform our beliefs. Why? Because we’ve been humble enough to listen.

We can choose to show gratitude.

The biggest one. Gratitude. The quest of getting can override appreciation for what we have been given. We need to practice gratitude. I thank God daily for knowing Him, having a wife and family and the tools to trade with: my time, talent and treasure. That’s enough to keep me thankful. It’s not about stuff, it’s about love. If I’m thankful I’ll always find opportunities to show others gratitude.  

In business as well as in life, making better choices is hard work and the more we practice the more we improve. Our choices are communicated through our actions and they become our marketing message. Anyone can make a choice to focus on message above method. Then, when you have a great message we can help you find the best method to get your narrative heard above the madness.

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