25 Nov, 2020081 Interview with Andrew Bloch – Thinking Outside The Box
Andrew Bloch is the Founder of Andrew Bloch & Associates. He is also a non-executive director at Frank, the PR agency he founded in 2000. With Frank PR he became known for some of the most imaginative campaigns, including the HP Sauce campaign which changes Jimmy White’s name to Jimmy Brown and caused mayhem with the coverage of the 2005 Master’s snooker tournament.
Together we explore how disruption and looking at this difference doesn’t have to be a negative thing. By seeing things differently and being unconventional we have the opportunity to become stronger or better. This is particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Andrew touches on this and the opportunities it offers amidst the challenges.
Andrew gives his views on optimism and what drives him every day as well as looking at what is wildly important to him and the legacy he wants to leave behind.
To follow Andrew and find out more about him: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewbloch/
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Happy beautiful day. It is the Mi365 podcasts. It is Pete Cohen and this is a special podcast episode to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, the 11th of November at the 11th hour on the 11th day to remember. Get ready for a game changing podcast. See you after the theme tune.
Happy beautiful day. Thank you so much for joining me for this podcast. We're releasing this on the 11th hour on the 11th day to commemorate the fallen. To commemorate people that are no longer here.
You know this is a podcast that I thought long and hard about. Our team, we kind of discussed, you know what's going on and what would be a good idea and this idea came up. And I have to tell you, I kind of thought do people really want to think back right now? I mean, personally I think it is really important.
And this day has a special place in my heart. Because of the place that it had in the heart of my dad and my mom. My dad was a fanatic of the First World War, which is where this all started the whole Remembrance Sunday. It really really started after the end of the First World War and has gone on, ever since it was known as "Armistice Day".
And now it's Remembrance Sunday and people all over the world, or take time out two minutes on the 11th hour on the 11th day. Just literally just take two minutes. Just to stop and think and reflect about the people that basically forged the way for us. And as I was thinking about this. I was thinking, Okay do people really want to hear this? This is a time where people really want to remember. Because, don't people already have enough going on inside their life right now. You can be the judge of that. But I really wanted to kind of just go rogue on this and just speak from the heart. Because the world that I love is in a very interesting place right now I think it's been in a very interesting place for a long time in terms of what is happening.
And the denial that I think a lot of people have about what's going on and maybe the denial of just how fragile this world actually is and also maybe to actually really think about what really really is important. What matters. What am I actually here to do?
I mean these are questions that I think sometimes people don't really want to ask, or even think about. Who am I? Who am I being? Am I happy? What's really important to me? And the world has gone crazy. I think we all know how fragile the world is. And there's probably never been a time where there's so many people all over the world right now who are in a fundamentally a very different place, to where they were. A few months ago. I mean, if I was to tell you this time last year that this was what was going to happen, that there'd be a virus that basically just locked down the world that kills people. It stops people from doing what they would normally do. Their businesses disappear, organizations go underground. And just the whole world changes that we all end up wearing masks.
I would have probably said, That's not going to happen. But really, is it any surprise. Is it really any surprised that this type of thing has happened. Is it really any surprise, what's going on in America right now. On this day, which is, I think it's the fifth thing is a Guy Fawkes Night tonight. When we're actually recording this podcast, which is a strange thing in itself, celebrating. I think it's about celebrating the fact that the Houses of Parliament weren't actually blown up. But we celebrated. I think Halloween is another thing that we, a strange thing that we celebrate I mean some people might say Christmas and Easter is a strange thing that we celebrate but ultimately, it's really up to you.
And that's one of the things I've learned in my life is it's not for me to tell anyone what's right and wrong. It's not to tell people what they think, should think or. It's just my role on this earth is basically to share different perspectives of people with people and give people the opportunity to perhaps look at things from a fresh pair of eyes.
So growing up, my father was really interested in the First World War, and I was always interested in where that interest actually came from. It actually came from a film that was called "All Quiet on the Western Front". This was a black and white film, and it was about a German soldier and being in the trenches and he was. He loved to draw. And I think ultimately he was shot. And this had a big effect on my father. And years later I discussed this with him, and actually saw a remake of the film that was made, I think I saw that in the 80s and I saw it with him.
But really, when you unpack things which is one of the things I love to do. You know as a coach is my background in Psychology if someone comes to work with me I'm just curious as to what's driving the show, what does this person actually want what's in their way. And let's help these people achieve whatever it is they want.
My father has always wanted companionship. Always wanted people to back each other and his real love of the First World War, was the brotherhood of people in the trenches. The fact that a lot of these people went to fight. Often extremely young people who didn't really know what they were letting themselves in for, and there was a film called 1917 which came out last year, I saw that. My father is no longer here I'm sure if he saw that film he would have been blown away by it. Pardon that expression because there weren't many people that were blown away by it. In fact, at my dad's funeral where he was cremated. I made a joke. I didn't mean to make it but about going up in flames, you know, and everyone laughed because that was one of the things that my dad had. And my dad had an incredible sense of humor.
And as I've talked about this podcast and Remembrance day, you know what am I remembering? I'm remembering my dad, and it's up to you what you remember,or you don't have to remember anything.
But maybe it's time to remember what's really important. Or for me to remind you or for you just to reflect. I think there's words beginning with the letter are coming to mind, maybe it's a day that we can start to redesign. Rethink really what actually is important, because ultimately we all have a choice. And I remember my dad telling me stories of being in the trenches and what it was like. And the fact that it was you know just terrifying because often they didn't actually know how far away the opposition were. How far the enemy was aware. They might have been just a few meters away and then being given that command of "Let's go. Let's, let's go". Over the top the whistle blows and they go and not knowing and boy that that really hit me. When I started to understand, but I understood it a lot more when I went there with my dad. We went to Belgium, we went to the battlefields and eat prep, and you see the devastation you see the graves. And then actually we went to see the German graves, and many of those graves weren't given the decency that the other soldiers were given. In fact they buried. many of the German graves had 6,7,8,9,10 people didn't even have it always have the names of the people on there. And you just see the devastation of war. And you think, Well, why? why? It's a good question. You know why do people go to war, I'm sure again there are reasons why. But ultimately man has fundamentally a few issues in himself, really, really do man has an ability to create, but man has an ability to destroy. And I'm not talking just externally, I'm talking internally, like spray painting are in size. But are a reflection of what is going on inside is often reflected in what we see outside in the world. In terms of how people move through the world in a way where they're quite comfortable to blame people and quite comfortable at pointing the finger. And I'm asking you to consider. Pointing the finger at yourself and asking yourself a few questions. You know really what is important. And let me be your friend. You know, in the First World War, my dad told me stories that when people were shot in many cases, they were taken to little hospitals down the road that were built. And many of those soldiers wouldn't want to stay there. They'd want to go back on the frontlines and they find a way. They crawl back to be with their comrades, their brothers and arms.
And maybe it sounds a little bit like a cliche but don't you think that that's what we should be doing more than ever? Coming together and asking you know can I help? What can I do for you? See the Poppy is a real symbol of remembrance of growth of rebirth, that whole thing came about with with one of the battlefields Flanders fields where, you know, huge devastation, thousands upon thousands of people killed, and many people saw that the the Poppy. The red poppy was the first thing that was a real sign of life and there were fields and fields and Flanders Fields was a poem. This is where just so you know it's sometimes I think it's really nice to know where something comes from. I didn't know where this came from and I have to go and remind myself and I'm very pleased that I did. Because I'm sure my dad would be really happy because I want my dad to be proud of me. Because my dad was my hero. My dad showed me so many things in life that I'm passing forwards to you. And my dad was so proud.
And this is one of the reasons he would have struggled to be here because he wouldn't have been able to do what he did for so many years. To go to a memorial service and literally go through and read, read this poem by John McCurry, who was a in the candidate who was Canadian, and this is the poem.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce head amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die.
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
I mean look, ultimately when something like that. You can take whatever it is that you want. What I take from that, having read it a couple of times, is how lucky we are still to be here. The fact that we can feel the dawn, that sunsets still close. Maybe not right at this moment in time. But it depends where you are in the world that we still have a chance. We still have an opportunity to be humane, to be a good human being, and to make a difference.
In our world has changed so much and I don't know what you think I'd love to know because I'm genuinely curious. But the world has changed so much in a way that I think many of us are just going. In a way that, that gives us some sort of comfort but doesn't really give us a deep sense of fulfillment. The real fulfillment and real growth comes from contributing. To making a difference to people's lives and asking the question, "hey, how can I help you?".
Today we've started a second lockdown which is going to go on for a month. And this one is probably going to be profoundly different to the one before. This is like a big battle for a lot of people, you might not say it's a first world war, a second world war. But it's all relative. It's all relative if someone is suffering right now, which many people are. Maybe we should ask the question, How can I help you? how are you feeling? what do you need? to be the difference.
If you think about all of the people that have gone before you and this is part of what remembrance is. About people who forged the way for you in their own way, might not have been your parents, might have been their parents, it doesn't matter but people that forged the way for us. Can you not see that we have to forge the way. For others, for our children.
I was having a conversation with someone the other day about this. About what's the world going to be like for children now who is seeing fundamentally different things of people wearing masks and going to school, not going to school and just things breaking down. But I think there is hope. I really believe that there is hope. I really, really do. And yesterday, I kind of this whole thing just hit me a little bit just in terms of I allowed it to hit me just the magnitude of what is going on. And I do think we need hope and I do actually think we all need to kind of look at ourselves. And say you know what this is going to be very difficult. This is going to be very challenging, the structures that we're so used to kind of been broken down, and maybe they will be built up again. But my philosophy or my way, my way of my philosophy is look at a wonderful great life. It doesn't happen just by chance right it happens by design. It's something called work. It's something we have to do, you know, you never stop until you die. You never stop having to work at things and create and do. You can't just be passive in this situation, you know, you really, you can. You can actually do whatever you want. You don't have to do anything you can just carry on doing what you were doing but I don't know where that's going to take you. And ultimately, I always think to myself with people that aren't here anymore. What would they want, what would they say. Because we have the opportunity to apply wisdom. We have the opportunity to be courageous, we have the opportunity to be loving to our fellow human beings. We have the opportunity to be the difference that makes a difference.
You know this was the year where I've quoted two people probably more than anybody else that I've ever quoted. That's Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Mahatma Ghandi said "We should be the change that we want to see" and Martin Luther King said "The most important question we should be asking is, What can I do for you? How can I help you? What are we really here to do?
Now, this podcast will probably divide some people because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And whatever your opinion is, you know what, I would respect that. I would also encourage you, whether you do this at the 11th hour, the 11th day, to stop and reflect, which is what I'm going to ask you to do right now.
In a moment, I'm going to leave, two minutes of silence on this podcast. I'm sure most people will just turn it off. But maybe some of you will just stop and think, okay, what's really important to me. And what do I want the legacy of my life to be.
Because your life isn't over right? You're still in the game. There's still opportunities. There's one thing that exists out there in the universe for all of us right now. Still, we still have possibilities. We still have opportunities to grow, to make a difference. Maybe the odds are stacked against us. Like all of the acorns that fall from a tree, realistically, how many of those acorns are going to become oak trees. I don't know, statistically. But you know what, when you want something enough, the stats, go out of the window.
And this is one of the things I want to thank my colleague, Mr Dan Jukes who said this to me yesterday, again, and it comes from Robert John C. Maxwell. John C. Maxwell who's written many books on leadership. And he was basically talking about how in life you can be going to something, or through something. And most of us will be going through this and it will batter us, in many ways, but some of us will decide to go to things that are through this that we have to go through this to something better.
But I asked you to take two minutes. Who knows you could take two minutes every day to reflect, to remind yourself of what is important and then connect to where you are going, because I want to like you to do for the two minutes is to imagine that this is the end of your life has ended. And it's your funeral. And I really encourage you to think about what mark, or marks do you want to leave on this earth. What do you want people to be saying about you? As we take two minutes to reflect.
Are you ready? 321.
So thank you for taking the time to do that. And I'd love to know what was your biggest moment of clarity what really hit you, personally I don't mind sharing it with you. I just very fortunate to have had such an amazing father, who shared so much with me and did so much for me. I mean, what he did for me in my life. I was so truly blessed. And he always used to say how proud he was of me. My dad always said, "Son, do whatever makes you happy". And what makes me happy is is growing and serving and contributing and that's what I wanted to continue to do.
Ultimately, sounds like a cliche, but this is your life and you can do what you want with it. And I want to thank you for listening, and I would really ask you to take some time, every day to reflect what's really important and connect to who you want to become to identify with a better version of yourself.
Be the change that you want to be and go to work. I appreciate you. I want to thank you. And I'm here to serve. If I can help you. Just reach out.
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Take care. Much love to you and your family during these challenging times. Bye bye.