Friday, September 26, 2014

How To Keep Strong When The Pressure Is On

I love this blog post by Chris Savage from Wrestling Possums...


How To Keep Strong When The Pressure Is On

I gave a presentation yesterday to a room of STW colleagues. I got to a slide I’d presented a thousand times, and yet its message struck me hard- as if I was hearing it for the first time. It was a message of hope, and of resilience. Here it is.
 
Our lives and roles can’t always be a bowl of cherries- sometimes the pressure builds, tensions rise, relationships get tested, issues complicate. Constant pressure depletes energy – it pulls you down, clouds judgment. You can feel trapped in the relentlessness of it all. The fun goes. It becomes a grind. We can become, quite simply, unhappy- right there deep inside. Know what I mean?
 
And it was on slide 17 of my presentation on how to be more effective and efficient every day that I was reminded of this great piece of advice. Here it is, and how I have used it to lift my spirits. Maybe it can help you do the same when you are feeling the pinch.
 
Here’s that message from slide 17:
The happiest people in the world have trained themselves to become ‘learned optimists.’
 
Ok. How? Here’s the intent.
 
Try to become a ‘learned optimist.’ Train yourself to react positively to the things that happen to you in your job and life….to react optimistically to each setback, body blow, each issue as it winks at you. It can become a habit- a very energizing, empowering habit. ” When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
 
Armed with this reminder- to make the choice to try to react with optimistic to setbacks or problems – I then took it a step further, and worked out what else I could do to pivot my mood- from a sense of diminished hope, of entrapment… to one of increasing optimism, empowerment, freedom, energised intent.
 
First, I Resolved To Try To Respond With Cheerfulness To Every Problem That Came My Way.
 
Leonard Cohen (happy 80th birthday this week, Leonard) said: “I have tried all the religions of the world, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.”
 
Sometimes we just take things too fricken seriously. Instead of reacting to issues with furrowed brow, I have resolved to try to react with cheerfulness and a sense of adventure. This angst is just business- it’s not life and death. As Jobs said: “Remembering you’re going to die is the best way I have found to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
 
Get things into perspective. That’s the point. Problems and issues are just turbulence along your fast moving journey. Tackle them with humor, enthusiasm, a sense of playfulness- and remember- it just does not matter that much. “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
 
Also, I find this idea useful to keep front of mind– what you do every day is not a prison sentence with no release date. You have options. Powerful, inspiring, intriguing options. You turn up by choice. The power is with you. And again, referencing Steve Jobs, who said the best thing that ever happened to him was getting fired by Apple. One door closes. 20 open. You are not trapped. No! You are invincible.
 
Here’s the point. I got clarity, confidence, hope, inspiration about the fact that I am actually in control. Of my mindset. My persona. My today. My tomorrow. The world- literally- is my oyster. And it is absolutely yours too.
 
Now- I am all about making the grass greener on this side of the fence. Every one of us, you and me included, will be in a role where sometimes the pressure just feels too much. That’s normal- par for the course.
 
Have courage. Keep strong. Get your mindset right, stay the course and give it your all until you simply can no longer make a relevant contribution to your colleagues and business.
 
If you feel there is a way to go before you’re done in terms of the difference you can bring to your role, then don’t give up- rather, tackle the issues and pressure with three things in your tool kit:
 
1. An optimistic frame of mind- make a decision now to treat each set back and issue with optimism and positive intent

2. Remember- it’s simply not that serious- this is business. That’s all. It’s important. But it sure is not worth screwing with your core happiness and wellbeing. Treat it as an adventure. A game. Fun. A privilege

3. Remember, you have options- exciting options. Be clear on what they are. Keep them nurtured and fresh. Knowing they are there keeps you sane, a sense of freedom and control. You are invincible

Take control of your mindset. Pull yourself back into the groove so you can give the best you can. Use the three steps. It works for me. Well, so far so good- I am feeling a lot better today than I have for a while. Onwards!

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The ugliest walking shoes

I confess - I've bought with world's ugliest walking shoes...
 
no - they were not on sale at half price
 
no - no-one was holding a gun to my head
 
no - I didn't lose a bet
 

I have a Morton's Neuroma (a type of callus on the nerve that runs between my toe bones) in my right foot so I need to wear extra wide walking shoes.  Unfortunately New Balance extra-wide walking shoes only come in one style - UGLY!!
 
 
They are admittedly very comfortable.  But red and yellow and bright blue.  Really?!  Even Ruby thinks they're awful.
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We are family

Although we live in the same city, I don't often get to see my sister Caron or my cousin Beverly.  They both have school-going children and we all have very busy lives.  We managed to get together recently for brunch.  We really need to do this more often...
 
Melissa (Caron's daughter), Bev and her daughter Amy, Caron and I 

Caron and Amy 

My cousin and my sister - love these women!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekend in review

I spent most of the weekend doing a home blessing - washing curtains, wiping, washing, dusting, and cleaning out.  Oh my gosh - I'm totally exhausted!
 

I probably did about 18 loads of washing


and climbed up and down the step ladder 30 or 40 times
(it felt like a 100 times!)

 
re-hanging clean curtains
 
 
a box of recipe books and files to donate to the SPCA charity shop

 
in-between cleaning and watering the garden, princess Ruby and I enjoyed the warm weather by sitting outside on the patio; I did some crocheting and she slept










 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Around here

*  Buying a few Christmas gifts each month, so that it's more affordable over time and not a mad rush at the end of the year


* Searching for a venue for my birthday celebration is finally over - I've found a beautiful boutique hotel who are happy to host a small gathering for my nearest and dearest in January.  Because my birthday falls in the summer wedding season, many venues refuse to host events for less than 100 people during January
 
* Planning 2 weekend getaways during the next few months - one to visit a friend in the Western Cape and one to attend a retreat in Dullstroom
 
* Learning to crochet in the round by making a little crochet basket
 
Making progress with my deep intention to be more active - I managed to walk 3 times last week
 
* Playing with paint in my art journal
 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello Spring

Hello Spring.  My absolute favourite time of the year.  I love the changing seasons but Spring just makes me so happy.  Warmer days, rain, new growth everywhere.  Here's what's happening in my garden...




















Sunday, August 31, 2014

Top 5 regrets of the dying

 
 
I have been meaning to share this on my blog for a while.  In honour of a young man in our company who passed away earlier this week, here are the top regrets of the dying...



Top five regrets of the dying

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
 
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."
 
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
 
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
 
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
 
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
 
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
 
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."