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Managing unhelpful pressure in your creative agency: the human approach

Paul Hutchings, founder of fox&cat, answers the questions: what does it mean to be human in 2021? Are we putting ourselves under too much pressure?

“Working with Paul at fox&cat is a pleasure. He’s a kind, caring professional and understands the pressures of working as a creative. Not once have I felt overwhelmed despite looming deadlines. I think it’s because he knows first-hand what an impact pressure can have on your mental health.”

– Susan Hammond, Mental Health and Wellbeing Copywriter

And that’s the human element of what we do here at fox&cat – what we all need to thrive in creative agencies.

But what does it mean to be human in 2021? Are we putting ourselves under too much pressure?

Humans in the 21st century

Its tricky living in the 21st century.

We’re so caught up in the constructs of modern society, our drive to make money and our wish to be seen as better than our peers, that we’ve lost touch with who we are as human beings. In this world it’s almost impossible to notice what our minds and bodies are trying to tell us.

But it isn’t our fault.

Over time we’ve evolved in response to cues from our ancient past which has hard-wired us as problem-solvers driven by success (more on this here). Unfortunately, our modern bodies haven’t caught up with modern life and we struggle to grow and survive in this crazy world, success constantly snapping at our heels.

This made me wonder what our chimpanzee cousins would think…

“Why on earth would you sit in a weird moving box for hours on end to get from your man-made cave-house to your man-made cave-office just to do crazy, stress-inducing activities? Lazy, stupid creatures.”

But of course, there is a reason.

It’s a bit like when we looked at ants as children and thought they’re just picking up leaves and popping them down again because they can. Yet with our adult brains we know that underneath is a complex society that only survives because of this ‘strange’ behaviour.

Our own ‘strange’ behaviour has come about through the incredible evolution of our brains. Where once we were living simpler lives in real caves, our increased intelligence has led us to impact the world in unbelievable ways – not all good. Our bodies have adapted as best they can to survive in this world, but we’ve reached breaking point…

Is your work a stumbling block?

Our work is the number one place we try to be successful with many opportunities for self-promotion, achievement and reward. But this also poses problems when we want (or need) to switch off. Even more so in creative agencies where the next thrill comes from success.

Along with the other unhelpful pressures you’ll encounter in your agency, this can wreak havoc with your own and your company’s cultural wellbeing.

So what can you do?

You can accept your humanity and flourish.

The human brain is brilliant! It’s given us is the ability to stop and think for ourselves. So we can choose to switch off, take time for ourselves and tap back into our innate humanity. When you stop you get the chance to take stock of where you are, assess the situation and work out a plan to address it.

At fox&cat we call this adapt. It’s our strategic planning approach that helps you stop and think about the pressures your agency is facing, whether they’re the right sort of pressures or not, and if not, to address them in a human way.

What’s your next step?

Our innate humanity clearly impacts how we manage unhelpful pressure in creative agencies. I struggled with my own mental health for years before realising my mind and body were trying to tell me something.

The best thing I did was stop and address it.

I got help. Then learned not to over-complicate or over-think, to keep things in the present moment, to spot signs I was under too much or too little pressure and restore some balance. Importantly, I learned to change how I respond to life’s challenges, both small and large. And true to my personal learnings, fox&cat values keeping things simple, present, in balance and novel.

I believe we’re putting ourselves under too much pressure in creative agencies. But it is possible to relieve the strain and build a robust agency – one that’s able to evolve and respond to change – by being open, honest and above all, human.

Let’s use our wisdom wisely and impress that chimp!

Fox&cat works with brave, forward-thinking agencies who accept that things aren’t perfect and never will be. With those who want to make positive and lasting change. And with those who aren’t afraid to tackle pressure as a holistic issue.

For more about how we can help do get in touch and book your free introduction. Or simply give us a call on 07753 920105

28th July 2021



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07753 920 105

Contact Website

United Kingdom

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