Wouldn’t it be fun if we could randomly pause our day and grab a virtual coffee with anyone we chose? Today I pick you, because I’m grateful you’re in my world. What’ll you have? Cappuccino, americano, chocolate latte or maybe vanilla chai tea? I’m going with a red (rooibos) cappuccino on the pretext that it’s healthier. Well, apart from the milk 🙂

While we sip, I want to share what happened yesterday when I popped into our local pharmacy to pick up my monthly HRT pills (with thanks to modern medicine for maintaining my body’s thermostat and restoring the sanity of sleep, except when Smurf deprives me). Standing at the till, I was tempted by a Dipped Flake that gazed up at me from the counter.

“I’ll take this as well,” I said to the shop assistant. “How can I resist it right under my nose?”
“I know what you mean,” she laughed. “I think I’ll have one too.”
“Here, I’ll get it for you,” I responded, spontaneously adding a second chocolate to my pile.
“No worries,” she laughed, “I’ll pay for it myself.”
“It’s on me,” I smiled, “the least I can do.”
She’s greeted me so often over the years, brightening my days with her beautiful demeanour. It felt lovely to give her something, however small.
“That wasn’t my intention,” she insisted sweetly.
“I know,” I winked. “Just don’t say I’m a bad influence on your diet.”
“Never,” she laughed. “We can all use a little chocolate on Mondays.”
“Thank you” she smiled as I paid, accepting her gift with the simple grace of gratitude.

It was a fluid moment of fun and genuine joy. I’m grateful to her for that. In the afterglow I realized how often I fail to offer this grace to my friends, typically insisting on paying for our ‘coffee’, for example. So I resolve to be more mindful and spread the love more fairly. What about you? How good are you at balancing the scales of give and take? As women in particular, we’re often more comfortable giving than receiving, but both feed our souls, as I was reminded recently at an inspiring Mastermind Day hosted by Kate Emmerson.

Perhaps this is a reason why many of us also shy away from close attention. It can feel too much like ‘taking’, which brings me to personal branding photo and video shoots. A key objective of shoots is to graciously receive the multitude of personal and professional benefits they can bring you, but also to give to others by way of sharing the best of who you are and what you offer, for their benefit. Your shoots can provide the perfect circle of give and take – and thanks to the camera, we can constantly ‘make the circle bigger‘.

On that note: who would you choose to share a virtual coffee with and what ‘ideas worth spreading‘ would you contribute to the conversation? Please leave a comment below to let me know. They may even form the basis for your next videos! In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed our virtual coffee. I’m happy to pick up the tab, or you can if you prefer 😉