Radiators and Drains

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Perhaps my favourite book in the whole world is by Charlie Mackesy. ‘The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse’. It is, as Richard Curtis puts it, ‘A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart.’

If you haven’t read it, buy it today. You won’t regret it. 

I mention this book because of one of the exchanges in it. ‘We have come such a long way’, sighed the boy. ‘Yes, but look how far we’ve come’, said the horse. Contained within this simple conversation is one of the most important lessons for us all. Why being positive matters more than almost anything. They say that there are two types of people in the world. Those who climb halfway up a mountain and look up, worried about how far there is left to climb. Then some make the same journey, stop to enjoy the view and congratulate themselves on how far they’ve come. Which one of these people is being kindest to themselves and, in doing so, is putting their mental wellbeing first? I think we all know the answer. 

I prefer to think of the world as being driven by two types of people. In my experience, you can tell which type you’re with inside ninety seconds. Some people smile, inspire, engage, enthuse, laugh and celebrate other people’s success. I call these people radiators, and I spend my life trying to meet as many as possible as often as possible. I even know a few people who could rightly claim to be entire central heating systems. And then there are those who, when you meet them, you know. Before they’ve even opened their mouths, you feel worse about yourself and everything around you. They can suck the energy out of a room just by being there. I call these people drains, and I try and avoid them like the plague. Sadly, I’ve met quite a few in my career and even those who could easily upgrade themselves to sewage farm status. 

Why does all this matter? Well, because many of the fundamental emotional needs we all have revolve around our relationships with others. Intimacy, compassion, empathy and support for others are all prerequisites for how we feel about ourselves. That, in turn, is the most significant factor behind our wellbeing. So, start today by embracing the radiators in your life and jettisoning the drains. You’ll feel all the better for it, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. 

It will make a difference in your business too. A positive, happy, caring culture at work not only improves employee wellbeing and productivity, but it improves how your clients feel about you as well. We’ve seen this time and again from all of the work we do at Let’s Reset. Those clients that are willing to embrace the importance of positively impacting their teams through wellbeing and culture are giving themselves the best possible competitive advantage. And in turn, the best possible chance of having an army of radiators, not drains. 

In Charlie Mackesy’s brilliant book, the mole asks, ‘Is your glass half empty or half full?’ The boy’s reply is a timely reminder to us all of the power of positive thought. ‘I think I’m grateful to have a glass.’

Suki Thompson

Founder CEO , Let's Reset

Suki Thompson is well-known in the media and communications industry as a serial entrepreneur; co-founder of the award winning Oystercatchers, marketing consultancy, Haystack and Bunker Gin and now Founder of Let’s Reset, the cultural change transformation company. She is also Executive Director Xeim/Centaur Media and NED Gateley Plc. As a transformational business leader with a passion for promoting business cultures founded on commercial effectiveness, wellbeing and resilience, Suki is regularly named as one of the most powerful people in advertising by industry bible Campaign, was a previous Chair of The Marketing Society, a member of WACL, received an Honorary Doctorate from Coventry University for Marketing & Entrepreneurship and in 2018 landed Entrepreneur of the Year by WinTrade. She has advised some of the most powerful brands globally including, McDonald’s, Samsung, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Barclay’s and Landmark and worked with the top agency groups including WPP, Omnicom, Havas, Publicis and Interpublic. Suki was a Trustee of Macmillan Cancer Support for eight years, following her first of four cancer diagnoses in 2008. Since then she has discovered she holds the BRCA gene. This has led her to think carefully about her own wellbeing and contributed to her enormous resilience which led her to writing the book, Let’s Reset. Suki has two children Jaz, who heads up Let’s Reset Education and Sam, both of whom appear in her book, Let's Reset with Rankin.
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