The title above may seem flippant given that my absence from blogging was due to a bereavement in my close family circle. My brother-in-law passed away in December after being ill. Things got chaotic after that. I’ve been off work to support my sister and niece for a month and I go back on the 28th. On Wednesday it will be a month since he passed.
Meditation has kept stress and anxiety under control, although there are times that I wake up with the hands of anxiety trying to close around my heart. Things have begun to settle after the g-force pace of change of the last 3 weeks. I’m drained physically and emotionally. Homeopathics have helped, in particular, aconite and ignatia. So have walks with my niece followed by ice-cream 😉
I’m grateful that a misunderstanding on the time for a customer meeting meant that I arrived 2 hours early rather 2 hours late. Thank goodness for coffee shops in corporates with wifi and workspaces with power points. The wait was no problem at all.
In 2015 I came across this photo of Richard Branson lying in a hammock, on his phone, working…
He has written about it a few times, here is an article, and it’s interesting that he notes that in the UK people don’t take leave, opting instead to remain in the office. Now, for me, that would lead to an unbalanced life.
I printed that photo and stuck it up in a place that I would look at various times a day. At the time I was working in a corporate, and it represented for me a change that I wanted to make in my life.
I wanted a more balanced life, one where I could work where I wanted when I wanted.
My dissatisfaction led me to write this article, and it was not long after that that I began working for the company I am with now. I have no office I go to – I’m either at a client, or I am at home. Or travelling.
My work has taken me to Berlin, Portugal, Barcelona, beautiful parts of the country I live in, Belgium and Thailand.
So, I pretty much can work where I want (no office to go to, yay!), the first part is done with a good level of satisfaction.
What I do now is the only work I know that I can take my wax crayons to work to create posters of information that help people integrate the learning a lot faster than powerpoint slides. Like this poster I created to explain Lean Thinking:
I’m now working on the second part…the part about working when I want :-). This is proving to be a bit more challenging because it means having to let go of salary certainty and embracing uncertainty and risk.
This will come I know. I just need to stop obsessing about it and enjoy the present. In the meantime, I still have that photo up where I can look at it several times a day.
Here are 4 different ways that help me deal with uncertainty:
Meditation – it helps me focus on the present and deal with stress and anxiety. I’m not doing nearly enough meditation.
Adaptive action – taking just one move at a time while keeping a view of the big picture, much like playing chess. Just decide on what my next wise move is and focus on that because that leads me to my next wise move and so on. That way I remain adaptive to change.
Nature – being in nature grounds me and helps me keep my balance. I don’t get out to nature often enough. Sometimes just having the doors and windows open, letting the outside in and enjoying the sounds of the birds singing is enough to tide me over until I can get out into the countryside.
Journaling – writing, journaling, reflecting on my inner thoughts. This helps me see clarity, usually not in the moment of writing, but later. The act of putting thoughts down on paper is therapy in itself. Journaling doesn’t have to be long descriptive narratives. Sometimes all I have time and energy for are bullet points, and that’s ok.
Here’s to being comfortable with uncertainty, open to infinite possibilities, so that I can find a place for my hammock.
If you’ve read any of his books or articles you’ll know what he means. A perfect argument is too obvious and boring and doesn’t engage people. Maybe the first 3 paragraphs will, but that’s as far as people will get before moving on to another article.
I can attest to this – the article has got to grab me in the first paragraph, never mind 3, for me to stay with it. I need some large puzzle pieces to be left for me to figure out where they’ll fit.
I began Malcolm Gladwell’s Writing Masterclass this week. He’s an incredible storyteller, and demonstrates the imperfect narrative in his stories, as he meanders from one story to the next until, finally, he comes full circle to where he began only to leave the listener, or reader with an open-ending, for the listener, or reader, to figure out for themselves.
This is irritating but it’s what keeps people talking about the article long after they’ve finished reading it, trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Humans love puzzles because we have a need for things to fit just so, but life isn’t always a neat puzzle.
So the key to memorable writing is to write an incomplete puzzle, an imperfect narrative that draws people in and keeps them talking long after they’re done with it as they try to solve it and make it fit just so.
Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher