In the saddle reflecting on 2018

In the saddle: reflect, reflecting, reflections

Josh Nuttall is a freelance thinker who works with CN&CO on a number of projects. He is an avid cyclist, data/digital nerd, and often shares his thoughts on our blog from in the saddle. Here’s his latest instalment:

Have you ever looked at your reflection in a still body of water and been amazed at everything that is around you? Take a moment, take a step back and take in your surrounds. You may even surprise yourself with how you ended up there.

I will be honest with you, I starting writing this blog back in December 2018 but never got around to finishing it. It was on my mind, but the inspiration to put the finishing touches on it just wasn’t there and so I decided not to push through and finish it “for the sake of”.

Over the past couple of years I have learnt that merely doing something “for the sake of” often isn’t the best way to do things. If someone asks you to do something, or rather tells you to do something, ask a couple of questions before tearing off and doing it. If you don’t, you may find yourself redoing it or not doing it to the best of your ability. I have burnt my fingers doing this before. We should all ask, “who, why and for what?” a lot more.

Towards the end of 2018 my mind began reflecting on the year – the happenings, learnings, challenges and opportunities that had presented themselves. To describe a time period with one word or feeling is hard, but gratitude come pretty close when thinking back over everything that happened in 2018.

It was a full year. It had lots of changes and it has been exciting to embrace it, something that I would not have been comfortable with a couple of years ago. Change is difficult at times, but it’s exciting and full of learnings. 2018 taught me a lot about myself and the concept of change, being comfortable with this and learning to adapt are two areas that now excite me, as opposed to scaring me.

Time. Some describe it as a scarce commodity and say that we can never get enough of it. While it is definitely a valuable resource, we must be wise how and where we spend it. After all, as the famous Dr Seuss says, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose…” So be mindful when you say. “I don’t have enough time” or “I didn’t have time”, if it’s something that you really want/need to do, you will be able to make the time to do it.

Data, tech and all things digital continue to amaze me and the speed at which they are developing is tremendous; staying abreast of everything is tough but thank heavens there are numerous ways to do this. These include focus groups, industry commentators, blog, podcasts and social media – among other things.

With the 2019 calendar year kicking into gear, here are a few digital and data things that provided great value for me in 2018.

Google has developed at a rate of knots this year. This may be because I am paying more attention to these changes, but from the platform interface changes to the use of AI in Gmail, Google is taking big steps to use data to improve the experience of using its applications.

The Think with Google platform provides great insights that are easy to read. Here are four reads that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The podcast space is evolving around the world. It’s a form of accelerated learning and while I haven’t yet grasped listening to podcasts at 1.5 times the normal speed, the insights received from listening to experts (people who have spent an extended time in an industry or build up a team) is incredible.

Podcast were one of my greatest finds for 2018. While in a digital age, where data and screen time are a dominant part of our lives, we must constantly remind ourselves of the importance of people and relationships. Here are three of the podcast series that were a regular go to, over the last couple of months.

Twitter, the digital and modern-day newspaper. It’s a daily go-to for me to stay up to date with all that happens in the world — from news and sport to client developments and a lot more. It’s helped me expand my knowledge and exposed me to numerous thoughts and ideas from a variety of people, including friends, mentors and industry leaders. You will be surprised how quickly word on social media travels and the digital library that has been built by hashtags.

2018 was a year that broadened my horizons. I am fascinated by how much we can learn from people and things around us. The world is diverse, complex, political and full of different people from whom we can all learn something. Thank goodness we are all different. Can you imagine living on a planet where we were all identical?

The journey certainly doesn’t run along a straight line. Having accepted this and embraced it, I have been able to and continue exploring opportunities as they present themselves. Reflecting is important. Take time to appreciate the space you find yourself in and what you can learn from it.

Have a cracking 2019!