Sunday was a day of huge emotional contrasts for me. I participated in the London Marathon for the first time and I'm writing this blog, not as a blatant piece of trumpet blowing but to record the new lessons learned in terms of what I unexpectedly managed to achieve through pure mental grit. I now know what is possible for anyone when they dig deep (even a particularly lazy bugger like myself).

Our LinkedIn profiles are designed to project both our professional life and the ethos of the companies we work for. But behind every profile, a real person exists full of passions, imperfections, the history of numerous decisions - not always good, frustrations, regrets and loss. Let's face it who really "lives and breathes the ongoing development of data driven advertising technology"?

Its often as a result of losing someone close to them that people without any past experience decide to run 26.2 miles and I know many of you that are reading this would have been doing the same thing around London on Sunday.

It's a fairly obvious equation that if you approach a task with a positive focus it will improve your sense of well-being. Although I have always strived to be a decent person, I hadn't always looked after myself physically or mentally as well as I should have especially in my 20s. I needed a focus and a target that I had to deliver on. Getting myself fit enough to run in April required a monumental effort and change in my daily habits. Fortunately I was invited by an old colleague and friend to join his running club "Chasing Lights Collective" who were instrumental in giving me the support required to turn things around and really motivated me to pound the pavement as much as possible. The mental barriers were harder than the physical ones to break down but the more you train, the easier it becomes.

I'm digressing here.

There was a lot of preparation leading up to the big day and with record temperatures predicted, it was still always bound to be tough. I told myself that it wasn't about setting a time, I just had to get around the course at a slow and steady pace. 'Slow and steady' is my natural pace in everything I do so, in some respects, conditions were perfect for Mo Dineen.

I got off to a nice start and fell into a comfortable rhythm; in control and feeling good especially after seeing my wife and various groups of friends rooting for me along the way. Everything felt great and I was set not only to finish an event I had previously considered impossible but also at a respectable time.

Then disaster struck.

At the twelfth mile - less than half way round, my left knee gave way. I buckled, putting any pressure on it was excruciating. Limping to the sidelines I thought I might be able to click something back into place but I struggled to hobble in any direction and came to the painful conclusion that my race was probably over. At this stage, you are acutely aware of the pressure you feel to complete the marathon and what it has come to mean to you.

Not completing the course would make me feel I'd let down not just the charity but all the people who generously donated and my friends and family who made the effort to come and support me on the day. I'd spent the past 6 months training for this moment and boring everyone about it. I didn't want to start out a participant and become observer at the same event or let this be the one new thing I'd attempt and fail at already. There was also the substantial emotional investment associated with my late father.

The weight of all these factors took me from my previous euphoria to utter devastation and I don't mind admitting, self-pity. I will never forget thinking that this was as far as I was ever going to get.

You can either sit at the St John's Ambulance point clutching a couple of paracetamol and thinking about the 6 months preparation down the pan and wonder how you are going to find your loved ones in the crowds and go home. OR you can stop feeling sorry for yourself and... just carry on. So I decided I was going to finish this thing even if it took me until Monday.

I was handed a leg support from some friends which allowed me to get to back to a snail's pace but 13 miles is a long way. The advantage of going so slowly is that I was able to take in the sights and sounds of an incredible event and appreciate what a great city I live in. London is full of amazing people both competing and supporting and in many cases both, there was a real sense of 'everyone in this together'.

Six and a half hours after I set off, I finally made it to the finishing line.

Of course I'll always wonder what time I would have been capable of if it hadn't been for injury but I doubt it would have felt as big an achievement as actually making it to the end when the end felt like a painful impossibility. I have always been able to find an excuse for not pushing myself physically and instead go for the easy option sitting in the pub garden "having to take a client or candidate for a few beers" and this could have been one of those situations. Just because you have been that person in the past, doesn't mean that defines you going forward.

Don't give up because you don't think you have the ability or because you've tried and failed in the past. You may just surprise yourself.

(From what I understand, spectating was equally tiring so you could do that instead.)

Adam Dineen
Managing Consultant – Ad Tech | Programmatic | Agency Sales


Published inNews

WHAT TO WEAR FOR INTERVIEWS? relentless, ever-changing, season in, season out. Now more than ever styles are recycled, reinvented, stolen, borrowed and mutated. So how not to get lost in this maelstrom of fabrics, styles and colours? How do you dress appropriately for an interview? Should it be plain and smart? Can it be casual? But just how casual is acceptable? How do you send the right message and what is the right message?

I'll confess I have been both – the underdressed and the overdressed person in the interview room and I can tell you that being 9 times out of 10 overdressed is better than underdressed. Of course in this day and age it would be great to think you could just rock up in your PJs, nail it and still get the job. But let's face it, appearance still matters.


So, my first advice would be to think about the workplace you are trying to make your new home. Is it a bank, a media agency, a retailer, a café, a hotel? As with any interview, research and preparation are paramount; go on the company's website, social media channels, inside the store or café, check out that bank or hotel and take a good look around. How are the people dressed that already work there? Take your cues from them to show you belong there too.


The safest option is in terms of colour if you're unsure is black or navy perhaps teamed with a crisp white shirt. Well fitting matching clothes that make you feel good and look clean, freshly pressed and smart are always a plus. Monochrome never goes out of style and always looks classic. Even if you opt for a smart tailored dress it is also a good idea to have a blazer with you to throw on if it turns out to be a smarter (or colder) setting than you expected, or to help you hide by the 'nervous chills'.


Don't forget about your shoes. Just make sure they're well polished and not brand new! There's nothing worse than trying to enter a room and not being able to walk with confidence because your feet have rubbed and hurt on unworn edges on the journey in. Or staggering in on high heels if you're just not used to wearing them and looking like a lopsided chicken.

Flat or slightly heeled court shoes or lace-ups for ladies and smart black shoes for the guys (or dark brown if you're not wearing black trousers) will normally do the trick.

Conservative dressing is the best bet for certain corporate sectors like finance but if you're going for a creative industry there is nothing wrong with expressing your personal style more flamboyantly if you're happy to. If you're erring on the side of caution and want some middle ground, just add pops of colour with accessories – a scarf around the neck is a great way to be subtle and lift a plain outfit or bright and patterned socks if you're male.

If you think that the workplace is more laid back, you could always wear a pair of jeans with a shirt/blouse and throw on a more casual blazer with a pair of casual shoes, ankle boots or maybe even trainers (that's nearly PJs right?). Just save the flip-flops and over exposed flesh for the beach.

In my experience, if you're going for interviews for a retail store, restaurant/café or hotel, the safest bet is all black from head to toe – that is most likely their uniform of choice anyway. be emulating the style of the current employees shows you understand their culture and can easily slot in to it.


There's no point in nailing that outfit if you forget to pay attention to your hair (and make-up) Lip gloss and mascara always gives a subtle polish at the very least and give the impression of polish. For guys, being well groomed also makes sure you're giving a good first impression; run a comb though your 'clean' hair, maybe even shave? These things make you look put together, presentable and leave an impression that you that not only could you do the job but could comfortably represent the company environment you want to be stepping in to. Even in the most casual of places, attention to detail makes you look look detail oriented, self respecting and confident and that you'd go the extra mile to impress the company. Something else that although obvious is often overlooked but - NAILS! Make sure they are clean. A handshake however firm is still going to be undermined if you look grubby enough to be exchanging germs and if you have nail varnish, make sure that it isn't chipped or peeling. Treat yourself to a discreet french manicure if you're not sure not all creative agencies will be prepared to overlook your mermaid nail art.

And lastly, good manners and a personable demeanour go a long way. Make sure you wear a smile.

You only have one opportunity to present the best side of yourself and get that job. Confidence comes from feeling appropriate and comfortable and doing just the right amount of preparation.


Published inNews
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