Throughout my summer, I always enjoy having a different routine and a bit more space to think, with fewer talks to prep. So, I’ve been thinking and planning about lots of stuff – work, life, and how untidy the loft is. All of this occurred during weeks of holiday/family time/dog sitting, with some sporadic bits of work, both in and out of the loft!
Here’s how some of those thoughts linked together, please do read on, you will find them useful honest!
Joined up thought one: The weather
Like many, I enjoyed the summer warmth, and even though I did have a fan surgically attached to me for a few days – I still enjoyed the break from our normal damp English climate. But then it all changed, the jet stream moved south and all of a sudden our summer was mainly us looking at weather apps and the sky, thinking, should we, shouldn’t we? Then on the 19th August, I had a revelation – it was one that no local weather presenters will like. I now think that they don’t know what’s going to happen more than 2 hours ahead!
We’ve been watching weather apps and we even made decisions to go out or stay in for some summer activities. We even postponed a trip to Malham because the weather looking horrific. But on that day when we stayed at home, it didn’t even rain! Yep, they haven’t got a clue! We can spend ages looking and sometimes obsessing with the weather, the most oddly British of all our quaint pastimes. I can also guarantee that in the next few days the tabloids will report both a very rainy and a very sunny September! They always do.
So as Billy Connolly says “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. I for one will be spending less time trying to guess where the moving target of the weather will be this coming year and just go with it…
Joined up thought two: The moving target of happiness
I came across a short video from Nadia Bolz-Weber on Facebook who said:
“Many of us are tormented by our ideal self versus our actual self. Between our ideal income and our actual income. Our ideal personality and our actual personality. Our ideal weight and our actual weight. But here’s the thing. No one has ever become their ideal self. It’s a moving target. It’s this mirage of water in a desert. You spend all your energy trying to get to it—and that just creates more thirst.”
This wonderful quote is a real challenge to us all and particularly to the self-help and self-development industry, that, at its worse can actually make people feel more unhappy with themselves and their lives*. When I’m doing my “motivational talks” (a title that I’ve never been happy with because of its often unreal and fluffy unicorn like connotations!) I always try to research what I say well, not give false hope, but teach the proven down-to-earth stuff that will genuinely help us all to “Get Good”, in both senses.
This quote was a reminder to me to always encourage people to enjoy the journey and in their loud and quieter moments be comfortable in their own skin, knowing that they are enough as they are, but also can develop too. A tricky balance to get right, for sure…
Joined up thought three: A more realistic target we can all hit
And finally I did some research and found lots of target based diagrams useful for helping us to focus on what we can really change, so we can enjoy life and work more. So using the bare bones of an idea from the author Steven Covey and others I have designed my own target to put on your phone or wall.
When I showed it to some friends, some got it straight away and some immediately said: “Why have you put politics and government into the area of no control?!” So to clarify, I am a member of a mainstream political party and I sometimes even do some canvassing at election times. But even so, I know that my obsessing over politics in this country or abroad does not really change those situations. Sure I can vote once in a while, and campaign, but I only have a very limited influence on the government on a daily basis. So I’m not saying do not get involved in politics, but what I am saying is that we should spend more time and energy on our ‘area of control’ and not on what others think about us, the weather, the media, other peoples opinions on social media, our past and the current political climate.
Once we realise that idealism and perfection is a moving target we can never hit, we can learn to focus on what we can really influence and what really matters.
Then we can enjoy work more and focus on enjoying life.
Let me know what you think.