Do you feel like you are living? I mean really living? That big fat life that you're grabbing with both hands whilst shouting 'hell yeah' -- running alongside every challenge that comes your way? Or do you feel like you're drifting? Ambling along in a fug of the daily grind? Getting up each morning feeling like you are simply existing day-to-day?
In life being different is a strength not a weakness. As an entrepreneur I have always wanted to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate my individuality. I learnt very early in my business life that you do not need to imitate others and found many people try so hard to be different that they actually just become poor clones of someone else.
It's easier to describe the presence of something than the absence of something but the feeling I had really was an absence; I noticed fear wasn't there. I listened for it, I tried to feel it, I waited for a fleeting thought to come and it simply didn't appear. It was the first time in years I was able to enjoy the moment without those nagging doubts in my head.
Ever since I was a schoolboy on work experience at my local newspaper, the Basingstoke Gazette, I'd dreamed of being a journalist and editor of a national newspaper. The world has changed a lot since those days and newspapers aren't what they once were. But one thing that has remained constant; being a great leader is one of the most valuable things any boss can be to his or her staff. So when I saw Dave Brailsford after the London leg of Le Tour I made sure I grabbed him for some advice. 'What makes a good leader?' I asked. After taking a moment to congratulate me on my promotion he paused, looked at me and said: 'Be authentic'. It was that simple.
When we experience someone being genuine we believe them. Be that a politician, someone asking for help at work, or the member of staff in a store who genuinely seems interested in helping us. We notice when people are being real, when they forget about trying to impress but come from a genuine desire to connect with us in that moment.
I tried an experiment when I took to the stage to give a talk on "failing to relate authentically" at this year's TEDxBristol. After walking on boldly (or as boldly as my nerves would allow), I spent the first minute or so telling the audience about my various accomplishments. Then I stopped. I walked off, re-entered and started again...
Social Media is about people, about your audience; Social Media is not about buzz words. Action speaks louder in Social Media. So it is not about your number of followers on Twitter or number of Likes on your Facebook page; it is about showing your brand's human side and let your customers know that you care about them.
This week Wayne Rooney received a slap on the wrists from the Advertising Standards Authority for passing off a blatant advertisement for Nike as a personal tweet. It's the latest in a long line of examples of major companies getting it wrong - and getting caught out - when it comes to 'hidden' marketing on social networks.