December 2020

Finding purpose in a pandemic

Finding purpose in a pandemic

During the last 15 years, Conquest Ink has worked with myriad business and community leaders to help define or redefine their organisation’s vision, mission and purpose.

2020 was not the year any of us planned and COVID-19 coaxed many, including our team, to rethink our purpose. There is nothing quite like stillness of the body and mind to stir the spirit and assess what truly matters.

Initially, the 2020 ‘lockdown’ in Melbourne was met with an air of intrigue and restrained enthusiasm as Melbournians enjoyed the slower and simpler life with their loved ones while autumn beckoned. It was challenging but manageable, and we felt lucky to have previously established home offices. Before we knew it, lockdown was over, and we were pleased to enjoy our new ‘COVID normal’ freedoms again.

But as local COVID cases soared, we collectively recoiled and were put in ‘iso’ again as the infamous Melbourne winter set in. The days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. We enjoyed our ‘pandemic memes, family movie nights and making sourdough until we didn’t. Headline news featuring Hotel Quarantine, JobKeeper and border closure fast became part of our everyday language.

Our big why?

About then the Conquest Ink team started asking questions and began to assess our very own purpose and what drives us to do this work. During the last 15 years of building a reputation as a place where strategy, storytelling and creativity converge, we too questioned our big why?

At this crossroad something interesting happened. Our office meetings became walking meetings and authenticity, vulnerability, and creativity flowed in each and every conversation amongst ourselves and our clients.

These walks and talks gravitated to the sea as we all searched for additional calm to the mind, body and spirit as the global COVID numbers soared. Inspired by Julia Baird’s book, Phosphorescence, we became increasingly mesmerised by the sea until she lured us to swim in mid-winter when the water was an icy 13 degrees.

It was shocking to every cell in our bodies and delightfully invigorating. We ventured further with each dip and were fast comparing deals on thermal wetsuits as we ventured to swim a kilometre or more to the boat markers. Word spread and now there are 10 dedicated ‘Phosphorescence’ swimmers. This cold-water immersion fast became our joy and the rich conversations, belly laughter, support and ideas cemented friendships while also creating inspiration for each of us in our personal and professional lives.

Julia Baird’s book is a soothing insight on the power of nature and awe in overcoming despair. The sea was our tonic and she kept us buoyant – literally while we floated on our backs some days, and figuratively when the uncertainty of an unprecedented pandemic overwhelmed us on others.

The sea also kept Conquest Ink buoyant as client curiosity and conversation grew about the intrigue of the benefits of cold water. In between swims, highlights for the Conquest Ink team during this time included:

  • Developing a brand identity and website for an onsite flu vaccination and COVID-19 testing called Onsite Medical Hub;
  • Providing business development and communications support to our friends at Yia Yia Next Door who proudly launched their social enterprise, website and merchandise range;
  • Co-directing a marketing and digital advertising campaign designed to grow business at a leading Melbourne law firm; and
  • Securing funding to research sustainability of the Victorian fashion industry in a COVID-19 climate – standby for the results!

These achievements and more were made possible thanks to brilliant collaborations and regular adventures to the sea where cold water running, swimming and floating became our newfound addiction and inspiration.

Always learning

During this time we also learned:

  • Stillness and ‘me time’ matters - the growing speed of technology makes the quietening of the mind and an occasional meditative state a game changer for improved productivity and contentment;
  • Good friends and generosity of spirit is priceless– we’ve been riding the same COVID-19 storm, but in different boats as we shared our individual challenges and feats at sea;
  • Nature is our healer if we take the time to pay attention - our little swimming group agree there is a reason why the ocean is revered as ‘the doctor’. The cold water has done wonders for the mental health, skin conditions, chronic pain and even libido in our little circle; and
  • Life balance is about holding space for self, family, friends and work – not always in equal measure but in the best harmony we can manage at the time.

All of the above swirling in the deep blue water helped us redefine our own true north - Big Picture Thinking and Big Hearted Storytelling.

Our purpose: To create and craft stories designed with purpose and meaningful impact that leads to opportunities for profit, people and planet.

Our mission: We help business leaders share their best story and build brands with heart and fresh perspective which ultimately leads to conscious commercial growth.

Our vision: Local and global leaders use the power of story to move people and help make the world a better place.

Stay tuned and stay safe as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.

By Sanna Conquest
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