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Tuesday Insight: Propellers and Brakes


I’ve become a little disillusioned with Facebook. In the early days, it had, like Friends Reunited that preceded it, provided a space in which to reconnect with old friends and cement new friendships. But in recent years, and this is very much a personal opinion based on recent experience, it seems to have become a murky pond where misinformation and lies can spread like a virus, dividing us against one another. (I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to redress the balance by asking questions and providing relevant links to fact check websites, which I'm sure has made me deeply unpopular with those who don't want their viewpoints challenged.)

It’s also increasingly become a space where bullies can cause real harm from behind faceless profiles. One of my team was the victim of a petty, negative comment on Facebook when they shared the story on a community page about the 30 food bank parcels they’d collected and the additional donation Glasstap had made to the local food bank!

Whilst most of my Facebook interactions generate feelings of hope, love, pride and joy, there are also those that cause me to feel angry, frustrated and stressed. Feelings that can then be reflected in my own social media posts.

In both the virtual and the real world, our lives are touched by what I’m going to call Propellers and Brakes. And I believe that the mix of both that we’re exposed to can have serious implications not only for personal levels of happiness and satisfaction, but for what we achieve too.

Propellers give us momentum. They are the people whose energy and enthusiasm inspires our own. They give us the confidence and motivation to achieve things we might never have imagined possible. They highlight opportunities, offer hope, build bridges and encourage us to expand our horizons. They challenge us with questions, listen to us and encourage us to consider other viewpoints. 

Brakes, on the other hand, hold us back. Their negativity sucks at our energy and motivation. They block ideas, emphasise problems, seed doubt and close doors on progress. They often deliver their opinion as fact.

Trying to achieve positive outcomes in an environment with too many Brakes is a bit like trying to run through treacle. A team of Propellers on the other hand, can achieve remarkable things together.

The end of the year gives us all a valuable opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved and the role that others have played in the success we’ve had. It’s a great time to thank the Propellers who have helped us realise our potential and achieve more than we expected. And with that in mind, I’d like to thank my remarkable team of dedicated friends at Glasstap.

It’s a great time too to reflect on the Propellers who will help us bring our dreams to fruition in 2020 and how we can tap into their support, enthusiasm and positive energy. 

And it’s a chance to reflect on our own behaviours. When have we been Propellers, helping give flight to other people’s dreams and ambitions? And when have we, perhaps inadvertently when tired, or angry, been the Brakes? 

And my final thought on this topic is that behaviour breeds behaviour; being around Propellers is more likely to bring out Propeller behaviour in ourselves. I don’t propose you reject the Brakes in your life; they need Propellers in their lives more than anyone! But recognise them and ration your time carefully to ensure you spend enough time engaging with Propellers, particularly in the extremities of social media.

And may you all be propelled to new heights in 2020!

Until next time…

December 18 2019Rod Webb



Rod Webb





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