During the week I was at a networking event. I don't really "do" networking. I feel that I should, but I feel uncomfortable in that environment. It is not "me". "Me" is having a proper deep one-to-one conversation with someone about what they're trying to achieve, what I'm trying to achieve and whether there's any congruence. It is not the happy-slappy, hale-fellow-well-met five-minute-and-business-card exchanges that go with the 'networking' territory.
So I was nervous about going. Taking Brené Brown's advice about vulnerability, I decided to just accept that I was nervous and reach out to a couple of colleagues and say: look guys, I'm outside my comfort zone here, help me out. And they did. I enjoyed the event, and I got some professional leads out of it – so thanks guys (you know who you are).
I also learned quite a bit from watching other people do this 'networking' thing. I will come back to that in a future post. What I want to talk about today stems from something one of my support team said to me on the night. I was asking about unfulfilled ambitions, and he said: "You know what: I have a fabulous life…" and he went on to tell me exactly what was fabulous about it – work, family, excitements, one ambition that may soon be pursued (but will not be totally disappointing if it has to wait a little longer). He sounded like someone with a solid grasp on what he wanted, a reality-check on whether or when it would be do-able, and above all, someone who was absolutely lapping up the cream of what he already has.
Chris, I salute you!
Too many people that I have interacted with, in every context, spend a lot of time lamenting their lot. They talk about what is wrong with their life, not what is right with it. They complain but take no action to rectify.
In my days as a manager, I probably over-stepped the mark on those occasions when I suggested to certain team members that they go home and thing about whether they really wanted to be here. I was very open about the fact that I didn't want people on my team, who didn't want to be there, didn't share the vision, the values, the sacrifices that might be needed, the work that definitely would be needed. But I don't regret that. It wasn't just that I didn't want them on my team – it was that I also thought they were wasting their life being somewhere they didn't want to be.
I still find it intensely irritating when people complain but don't act.
I also find it intensely sad, when people don't look around and figure out not just what is wrong with their life but also what is right with it.
For some, figuring out what is right with their life might just create the lightbulb moment which is: pain is the price you pay for every precious thing. That what is wrong is something they simply have to accept because what it is buying them is worth it.
For others, figuring out what is right will create not just a lightbulb moment, but a whole shining perspective on a life that is, actually, now you come to look at it, totally fabulous.
Or of course, figuring out what is right might show that so very littel is that it might just flicker into being the candle which will light their way to changing.
This linked into a conversation I'd been having with a female friend earlier in the month, which circled around the premise of "if I look at my life objectively…"
If I, personally, look at my life objectively what I find is that yes, it has been the kind of year you don't want to experience too often, but then again…how do I feel?
I feel safe. I feel an absence of pressure. I feel free. I have choices – and the intelligence (intellectual and emotional) to be able to make them – and the strength to follow up on them and see them through. I feel lucky.
"Simple Abundance" Sarah Ban Breathnach calls it, and it is for each of us to determine what such abundance might be. For me, it is the knowledge that I can still walk all day; it is unexpected beauty; it is friendship and love (in all her guises); it is good books and the ability to read them; it is new opportunities to learn new things, make new connections, ponder new ideas; it is work; it is play; it is good home-cooked, self-cooked food.
At this time of year it is candles and fairy lights. Even if this solstice will be a sad one, it will still be a turning of the year and that, by definition, brings new potential with it.
I do feel sad. I do feel loss. But, when I look at my life, I know that these are part of the fabulousness. If I did not feel this, after spending so long loving someone, what would it say about the nature of that relationship? What would it say about me? In feeling those things, I am human and I want the feelings to pass, but I also know that they come from having had the great good fortune to have loved and to have been loved. He wouldn't want me in widow's weeds, especially at this time of year. He'd want me in red and black – or denim and white and baby blue – he'd want me dancing.
And so another thing that is so right with my life is that there is still music to dance to. I'm currently listening (and dancing) to Jubilee Road…for which I have another friend to thank.
It's winter in my part of the world. I can look forward to snow and frost which make me smile more than most.
I'm writing and teaching and planning and reading and walking and learning and cooking and renovating a recently acquired property and still safe at home. I know I am loved. I am safe. I am free.
So, you know what? I also have a fabulous life. Thank you for reminding me to check it out. I extend the invitation to everyone else. As we head towards the turning of the year…have a look at your life…and notice every little good and fabulous, gorgeous, abundant thing about it.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!
OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly