Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Goodbye, and thank you.

Aren't routines funny! We fall into patterns of behaviour and routines for all sorts of reasons, comfort, expediency, or sometimes because it is the only way we know. My morning routine is pretty much the same every day: up; dressed; walk the dog; breakfast with the dog; watch Jerry Springer; then off to work.  I usually listen to BBC Radio 2 on the way to work as I find the mix of cheerful music, current news and a little bit of madness sets me up nicely for the day.

Funnily enough this morning the breakfast show was entitled "just because you are breathing does not mean you are alive". Wow: How very true! We plod along, following that well trodden way, new day, same old same old. How often do we actively think about our behaviours and make a positive solution focussed change?

This year is just a month old, and I have already been touched by bereavement.

Marie was one of those people that are filled to the brim with light and life. She always sparkled,  and always worked very hard to find a positive solution and a way forward, not only for herself, but for the people she worked with, her clients, and for pretty much anyone she could help. She was always smart, and always smiling. Marie was never seen without her sparkly rings or her sparkly smile! She was not a loud, brash person, but rather a very centred person who inspired a quiet confidence.

Marie lost her long battle this morning.

One of our mutual colleagues came and broke the news to me in person, and for that I thank her. We comforted each other, as we knew we had both been touched by this special ladies magic.

Reflecting this evening about this special lady, I am smiling. Smiling at the memory of her smile, basking in the warmth of the memories.

Some cultures believe than when a person passes their spirit is released back into the universe, where it is free to wander at will, before settling.We have all, at times, experienced this loss, some more closely than others, and we all have our own belief about the time after we leave this plane, and we often look to the heavens to see a bright new star.

I hope that Marie's spirit sprinkles its magic, on you and your stars, as it passes.

God bless you Marie, and thank you for reminding me to live.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The power of NO!

I have just re-read "The Yes Man" by Danny Wallace, where he decided, for a year, to say yes to everything! The book is a record of all his adventures on his journey to yes-dom.

Saying yes to everything is probably a bit extreme! My blog this evening is about the power of making a positive choice: The choice to say yes, and the choice to say no.

Sometimes we are so busy that we just keep getting loaded up with more and more and more jobs to do. Imagine a juggler, steadily managing his load of three balls, and someone throws him another. Then another, then another, and suddenly three balls are twelve, and what started as a simple balancing act is suddenly all consuming, and takes all your focus. One ball drops, then another. STOP! Do you ever say "No, what do you want me to not do?" Prioritise, delegate (this works upwards as well as downwards), and focus on the tasks that have to be done, and the ones it has to be you doing them!One of my "lovely boys" said to me the other day that it was hard saying no to a peer. I pointed out that if he could say no to me, and not always politely, then he had the ability to do it, but just needed support to develop the skill to be used in a more solution focussed way.

Learning to say yes is, I believe,at times more challenging than saying no. We are often so caught up in the juggling act that we forget to say yes to the opportunities that will enrich our day. Yes, I would love  a cup of tea ( and the chat that goes with it); Yes, I would like to go and see a film ( and spend some time with you); yes, I would love to go and have a hot bubble bath (and get some peace and quiet!). In short we need to say yes, to get a "win"

So what is a "win"? In order to convince someone to do something, or not do something, there needs to ba a "win" in it for them, they need to benefit by that action. A true win is where both parties win, and you both move forward with your relationship intact.

So, your homework today. In the next 24 hours identify one opportunity where you can say No, or Yes with authority, and offering a win. Make a positive choice, make a decision, and go for the win! Let me know how you get on.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

In-vesting in me...

Today was a momentous day. Today was the day that I officially became an old lady.

A big statement! You see the weather here is somewhat inclement, it is cold, damp, and weary, the kind of lazy weather that cuts right through you, and leaves you nithered*. The kind of weather which leads you to walk round looking like an Inuit with layer upon layer of clothing. As I sit typing this I am wearing my sheepskin boots, thick socks, fleece pj bottoms, bra, long sleeved t shirt, blouse, fleece, scarf and a fur trappers hat... a very glamorous look. The poor dog hates the cold too, being a whippet he has little fur, so he is luxuriating beneath a red velvet blanket. Not daft my dog!

So why did I become an old lady?

I forgot to put my vest on.

It was not the wearing of a vest, nor the forgetting of the vest that was the signifier, it was the fact that I missed it! I missed the extra layer of warmth around my back, and the lack of draught when I stretched, and just that tiny thin under shirt made all the difference whilst walking the dog to keep the frosty fingers of winter away from my skin.

So, what am I going to do? I am going to embrace my inner old lady, and not only wear a vest, I am going to treat myself to a lovely new snuggly thermal one to replace the summer ones I wear at the moment.

Embracing my inner old lady is a way of acknowledging that changing one small thing, in this case my clothing layers, shows that I am listening to myself and valuing myself. Making that one small change will help me stay warmer, both physically and emotionally as I will be able to be more focussed, and more able to respond to the needs of others as well as myself.

Your homework this evening: When you get dressed in the morning make one small change. Add a vest, undo a button, wear jolly socks, pretty earrings, a slick of lipstick,  wear your best shirt... Why save your best for later? Today is the day to feel your best, to be your best. Make one small change and enjoy!


* Nithered is a word from my childhood. It means cold right through to your bones, the feeling you get on a cold, damp day.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Fraud? Floored!

I nearly threw up today!

Today was the blessed day of Pay, so I eagerly went to the cash point at about 7.30am this morning to get some cash so I could fill my car up as I have been running on fumes and a prayer for the last day or so... The cash point did not cough up, I presumed it was not working, and thought no more of it, and drove the 17 miles to work very economically.

After a busy busy busy day I picked up my fogeys, brought them to mine where they got their hair cut, I made tea, took them home, picked up the gorgeous one, collected her friend, went to the cash point and .... nothing! Cash point said "refer to bank". (Well, it didn't actually talk, but you get my point...)

I came home and rang the bank, and they said my account had been blocked because of fraud. I felt physically sick. Pay day and a fraud. AAAArrrrrrrHgGHgHGHGgggghhhhhh!

Anyhow it was all soon sorted out, apparently some of my recent transactions had flagged up as "in line with current fraud patterns" and so they had blocked my account as a prevention!

So, what has this got to do with the price of scotch eggs?

The thing is, you see, in my private life I am a great procrastinator, and I tend to try and put things off if I can, In my professional life I am very good at making decisions very quickly and acting on them, I have to be as such is the nature of the role.Of course today was a situation that had to be dealt with as soon as possible.

It set me thinking though about all the things I have missed out on by putting them off. How many people have I missed, how many rainbows? How many missed opportunities?

Anyhow my New Day's resolution for tomorrow is to say YES! I once read a book called The Yes man, by Danny Wallace, where he deciede he would stop missing out on things, and if asked he would say yes! He had some really amazing times. I am not ready to commit for a year like he did, but I reckon a day is a good start. That is the best thing about New Day's Resolutons: If you like them you can keep them another day, if not then at least you gave it a shot!

I'll let you know how I get on! Maybe you would like to join me in saying yes for a day! See where it will lead you!

Have fun! xxxx


Sunday, 1 January 2012

New year? New day's resolution!

I saw 2012 in at a party where I watched a lady of 104 dancing the twist! She was so full of life, so full of love, and having such a good time! At the actual chimes I stepped out into the night air with Boots, and watched the fireworks over the city. We had resolved to do this, to have a precious moment together, rather than joining in the "jollity" as one second ticks over into another. Somehow the significance of that simple tick is built up to be more than the sum of its parts. We feel we ought to embrace the calender turning as a portent of change for ourselves.

Some change can be painful. The numb and raw grief of a bereavement, a leave taking, a marriage ending, an uncertain future: Where will I be this time next year? Will I be ok? Will I manage?.. all heightened at this time of year, as all around it seems everyone is celebrating, and making plans for their future.

Have you made a "New Year's resolution"? Made big plans to change your world?

Here is a simpler, and more achievable way: Make a "New Day's resolution". Make a decision to make a change for only 24 hours. For 24 hours make the effort to give up the fags, have more baths, read a book, go for a walk, At the end of the 24 hours let it go! You can then choose to make the same resolution, or, if you prefer, make a different one. This way you are setting yourself up to succeed.If you like the status quo you can resolve to remain the same: If it aint broke don't fix it! Once you have established you can achieve the little things you can then work on the bigger things: talk to your GP, get some counselling, dye your hair purple.....

Just a little over 29952 hours (or five years ago) I made a resolution to step into the sunshine, and kiss someone. I liked it so much I kept on doing it! We have celebrated with a bottle of bubbly, written the date and "5 years <3" on the cork, and put it in our cork vase. When I am 90 I shall enjoy looking through the corks! Who knows, I may even celebrate by doing the twist!

So your homework is simple: make a new day's resolution, step into the sunshine, and swim out to meet it! x