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In this episode of The Inner Chief podcast, we speak to Paris Thomson, Founder and Creative Director of SIRAP, on manifesting success and inspiration through full-sensory visualisation, and relationship-building in the flesh.
Paris is the award-winning Founder and Creative Director of SIRAP, a full-service creative studio founded in 2013 that produces best-in-class content for some of Australia’s most prestigious and recognisable brands including Lexus, David Jones, Visit Victoria and Crown Casino.
She is a globally in-demand creative and her work has also taken her internationally to Venice, Hong Kong, Milan and New York.
Paris has earned a reputation as a highly-respected leader, entrepreneur, and businesswoman. She was named best Film Director in the inaugural B&T ‘Best of the Best’ Awards category in 2021, and shortlisted for B&T’s 2021 Women in Media Awards in the Creative category.
In this episode we talk about:
- Her experiences with meditation, flow and her full-sensory visualisation techniques
- What she does in moments of pressure and how she has built up her “resilience bank”
- Her creative process and how she harnesses moments of inspiration, and
- Stepping back so as to step up and empower her team to make decisions.
Connecting with Paris Thomson
You can connect with Paris via LinkedIn.
Books and resources
- Courage for Profit – by Steve McLeod
- Georgia Tech Institute Commencement speech by Coca-Cola's former CEO, Brian Dyson – see transcript below
“A plan executed aggressively now is better than a plan executed perfectly in a week's time. Let's just get on with it and we can finesse and refine as we go, as opposed to sitting on it and dreaming for another week.”
On early lessons from her parents
- My parents always had their own home businesses and I was really enmeshed in that concept of driving your own success, but also finding a balance between parenting and running a business. There wasn't this concept of a 9-5 job.
- They were brilliant parents; they absolutely supported me, they had no expectation of me to go and study, but just find something that I was passionate about.
- Ultimately, whatever it is you want to do, have a crack, don't just sit around trying to figure it out. I think there's a lot of time wasted in thinking about doing something, but instead just do it and try it and have a crack.
- The more that I've really tried to anchor myself in the present and not get too caught up in the future and concerned about that, the more I'm able to tackle the uncertainties or the curveballs or change, the constant state of flux that is inevitably happening in the business world.
On learning meditation as a teenager
- I was probably only 14 or 15 and this idea of just sitting on the ground and doing nothing, it's something that a lot of people struggle with,
- It's something that I still practise today, and include visualisation. I have this beautiful, clean, pure white light which is representative of breathing in through your nose and that floods your whole body and comes back out.
- I could feel the benefit instantly. And so the more I did it, the better I felt, and I would then meditate before school or in the evenings and I felt a real clarity and a grounding. It became something that I then used before exams at school or competitive sport.
On incorporating meditation into her business
- This idea of burnout is real and our world is very fast-paced.
- We block out five or 10 minute sessions at the start of the day a few times a week and just sit there and go through a guided meditation as a group. And I think that it's something that is beneficial on a personal level, but it's something that is really powerful from a high performance team level as well.
- The reality is, I think we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to have to tick it off every morning or whatever it might be, but I've got a very humanistic approach to it and sometimes I don't do it, I don't feel like doing it and I don't prioritise it, and that's okay too.
- With meditation in my life I can really distance my emotions and myself from a scenario, or I can really separate myself from stress more easily.
- I feel like it's positively slowed my mind down and I think I'd probably be a ball of stress without it to be honest with you.
- Typically I find visualisation is strongest for me when I'm really in this state of flow or relaxation, and that will typically come about off the back of meditation or while I'm meditating. Or also while I'm running.
- It’s about really seeing and feeling and smelling what that looks like and actually painting myself in that picture with the team in that scenario, having those discussions with clients.
On cultivating resilience
- The thoughts that you possess are ultimately what you will manifest. And it's not only thoughts but it's the all-encompassing feeling from the emotion, the energy.
- It's about creating an emotional connection to a particular moment as well. Because that is something that you can then use and trigger when you're actually living it out as well.
- Touching on those elements like meditation and visualisation, they are certainly pieces of the puzzle. There's not just one thing that I fall back on to build resilience but I think that it's incredibly important to remember the bigger picture. We can get so caught in the weeds as businesspeople and get caught in either the knock backs or ultimately the successes.
- Resilience is something that comes with time and experience.
- Being able to separate yourself from that scenario and look at things more objectively and take the emotion out of it and go, “Well, if this one doesn't work, what's the worst thing that's going to happen? They'll say no and we'll pick up the phone and try the next one.”
On finding inspiration
- You can easily get distracted. So for me, there are a few elements to it. There's making sure that I'm constantly engaged, so it's not about just being in the moment where all of a sudden I've got to pull out an idea or I've got to pull out a creative concept, it's got to be something that is constantly flowing.
- Where the team's concerned as well, I think collaboration is key. So being able to be really open to creating that space for conversation creatively too and bouncing ideas off each other.
- It’s important to try to jot ideas down and harness it, no matter what time of the day or night.
On stepping back as a leader
- What has been most challenging is scaling a business that was inherently so built upon my lens and my vision. It was a real test in trusting the team to realise an idea and also execute it with them behind the camera instead of myself.
- It's really taught me patience, and also the importance of ensuring that the people you have around you have a really strong framework and ability to make decisions.
- It was a real lesson in sitting on my hands and learning how to articulate and better direct a scenario or a solution as opposed to just jumping in and taking over.
- Most businesses were built on relationships, but I think now more than ever, we're just so glued to our devices and emails. So I spend a lot of time now getting in front of clients and new prospects, and also just our creative network.
- Work is really important, we take what we do really seriously, but there's more to life than what we're doing here together, we've got to have perspective. And ultimately, what you do outside work will inherently feed into what you do inside, be it from an energy point of view, an attitude point of view and vice versa. And you spend a lot of hours in this group as a team and it's important that you're happy. And I understand that success is not just about what you're achieving here in the workplace, it's also about what the tapestry of life looks like for you.
- One of the things that I've learnt along the journey is to just address problems or challenges quickly, don't let it linger around. If something's happened, make the meeting, have the phone call, have the conversation and nip it in the bud. But also ensure the discussion is very collaborative and framed In a way in which the person or people involved really feel as though they've got ownership in the decision-making and the strategy moving forward.
- Create a list, do, delegate, delete. And stop kidding yourself that you can only drive success and growth by being in the weeds, it's just not true.
- Great work begets great work, so brilliant briefs will come off the back of the brilliant work that you produce.
Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders
- Get off the phone and never underestimate the power of relationships built in the flesh, so just continue to nurture those.
Former CEO of Coca Cola, Brian Dyson, delivered a speech at the 172nd commencement of the Georgia Tech Institute, on September 6, 1991. This is a short excerpt:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends, and spirit and you're keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that ‘work’ is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Don't set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.
Don't give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Don't be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly: and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been, but also where you are going.
Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
Don't be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
Don't use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a Mystery and Today is a gift: that's why we call it ‘The Present’.”
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