it’s intentional

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Have you ever been driving somewhere and needed to get there on time, or you’re simply in a hurry, keen to arrive?

Ahead of you on the motorway, vehicles slow. Hazard lights are pulsed to warn you of rapid deceleration. Stretching into the distance is a long line of red dots; blinking illuminations signalling stationary or slowing modes of supposed transport. A queue.

How do you respond? Maybe your mind turns to being late? Maybe to the impact of that? Maybe you feel frustrated? Maybe annoyed? Maybe you sense a loss of control, your destiny in the hands of circumstance? Maybe that creates anger? Maybe your thoughts turn to those you are driving to? Maybe you worry? Maybe you begin switching lanes in an attempt to get some advantage over your fellow car crawlers, telling yourself you are winning and outsmarting those around you? Thereby generating a somewhat false sense of progress and movement. Maybe that makes you feel good?

Once your thoughts lead to a state change. Once the thoughts and feelings are connected in dubious harmony, you have set your intent. You will be anxious. You will be frustrated. You will be angry. Whether you want to or not, it will happen. It won’t get you what you want of course. It won’t move you forward. And not just literally.

If instead you were able to think about enjoying the scenery, or listening to some stirring music, or calling a friend to catch up. If you were able to set a positive, productive, happy intent. Leading to a positive, productive, enjoyable state. How would that queue be different?

Our thinking creates our state.  Our state determines our thinking.

Setting your intent, for how you want it to be, can make it so. On the motorway and elsewhere.

Today I co-facilitated a learning session with 50 people. As facilitators, we both set our intent to learn everyone’s name … and we did.

The act of setting intent, directs our attention to where we want it. We have choice, rather than simply being at the beck and call of our thoughts and feelings. We are driving ourselves, rather than being driven. Intentionally.

a new anxiety…

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I’ve been noticing how modern technology reminds us.

Some of this is helpful, but generally technology reminds us to catch up. Reminds us of what we’ve missed or not done. In this way it unconsciously builds a sense within us of being behind. It gives us an always on reminder; a visual or auditory ‘shove’ to encourage us to catch up.

My inbox tells me how many ‘unread emails’ I have.  It doesn’t tell me how many I’ve read today or how many I’ve responded to, or the hours of effort I have invested in my endless communication with those I interact with. No. Instead it reminds me what I still have to do.

My phone alerts me to ‘missed calls’.  Raising in me a sense that I’ve let someone down or maybe missed an important person or message. It nudges me towards a message, a voicemail the person has left, and then sends me a text in case I ignore the other signals I have been sent. It is like my phone is constantly whispering ‘Come on, come on, keep up’.

Meanwhile all my technology reminds me I have ‘updates’ – even my TV.  I’m always out of date it seems. Missing some vital feature or fix to make me ever more capable, or ever more efficient. Now, my i-phone and i-pad, not only tell me I have updates, but if I say I’m not ready to install them they say ‘shall I remind you later today?’  Nooooo!

The failure. The pressure. The anxiety.

What has happened here?

 

working as a pear

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When I was at school, I studied Latin. Only for a year as, despite getting an A in end of year tests, I was deemed a scientist. I therefore got to study Physics, Chemistry and Biology as separate subjects. French was my ‘permitted’ language.

Now, with the benefit of some life experience, I realise all these choices, mine or those made by the academic system, were all somewhat pointless. I haven’t really used any of this knowledge to any great degree.

The other day I was designing some training with a colleague. We were creating a storyboard with post it notes. She wrote ‘work as a pear’ on one. Instantly her face crumpled and tears of mirth welled in her eyes as she chortled over this ridiculous concept and silly spelling faux pas (French eh?). I began to snigger too. We enjoyed the moment. Together.

I wish at school I had been offered the subject ‘learning to laugh at myself’. This skill would have been much more useful. The ability to laugh at our mistakes. To laugh at our occasional ridiculousness. Hold our slip ups lightly. Know that everyone is human. Simply lighten the day with laughter and a smile. These are useful skills. De-stressing. Providing context. Perspective. Building togetherness, teamwork. Embracing human frailty. Knowing that we are all fallible yet all amazing.  Feeling good about yourself. Letting others see you, without fear. Building connection.

I recommend laughing at yourself several times each day. It’s good for the soul.

I use it more than any chemistry, physics, biology, Latin or French.

 

shall we play that game?

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Returning to work after a holiday is…

Well, what is it?

How do you complete that sentence?

Returning to work after a holiday is…

… difficult?
… to be relished?
… depressing?
… a relief?
… a right pain?
… worrying?

I wonder what is to be learned from our transitions in and out of holidays?

The rush to leave. Clearing the inbox. Completing the ‘to do’ list. Handing over. Readying the house or the family for the break. Buying what you need; food, gifts, tickets.

If you are going away, checking you have everything at point of departure (tickets, passports, money etc). Securing the house. Telling neighbours, friends, relatives.

Then the return. Knowing that work will have been piling up. Checking your emails the night before. Anything urgent? Can you clear the junk? Getting your work bag, clothes, technology ready. Dealing with the nervous tension in your stomach. Packed lunch?

First day back. Easy routine to fall back in to. So much to catch up on. Nothing has changed. Tell everyone about your break. Listen to their story. Let it all fade into memory. Focus on the work. Rhythm found.

Until the next time.

Why do we play this game?