A lot of time is spent in planned activities whether it is going to work, attending the meeting that has been in our diary for a few weeks or doing the chores. We know what we are going to do and the day is quite predictable. This predictability is very comfortable to us and means we can breeze through the day with little stress. When things are changing it can be unsettling, so certainty is seen as good.
Having a nice surprise arrive in your life is something that should be cherished. The unexpected when it brings something good has a bigger impact than you would imagine. I had this today when out-of-the-blue and with no suggestion I was able to get my beautiful horse Edward out into the paddock for some grass, a roll and some winter sun. It might sound like a simple thing but when he will have to spend up to five months inside during the winter months it is huge. Every minute that he gets to spend rolling, eating grass and stretching his legs is to be treasured. Today, after a week of watching the rain drench the paddocks he had an hour out.
It would have always made me smile to get this benefit but that fact that it came without warning and was a good surprise made it even better. There was a lift in my spirits that was more than just because of the time outside. I realised it was the unexpected nature of it that made it even better.
If we think about the last time we had a nice surprise, was it made even more enjoyable because we had not anticipated it? I think so. As we are heading to the festive season there should be quite a few good things that appear out-of-the-blue and when they do perhaps we need to recognise the joy that the surprise brings.
It is easy to get caught up in your own world. The busy bits of day-to-day life take over and occupy our thoughts. If we are not careful we rarely look up and see what is happening around us. How are our friends and family? Who is doing well and more importantly who needs some support?
Today I made a conscious effort to try to think about other people. I wanted to be helpful where I could be and to do more for those around me. It isn’t easy and has left me realising that my thoughts are all too often focused on myself. The situation was particularly noticeable when I was being delayed on my journey be a large group of cyclists. My focus was on where I wanted to be and the frustration I was feeling. I was annoyed by their selfishness and lack of thought for others.
I continue to try and realise that I can’t change anyone else’s thoughts. The only thoughts I can change are my own. The only person who suffered from the encounter with the cyclists was me as my blood pressure was raised. Much better would be to relax and move on.
There are so many ways that we can think about others from letting people move in front of us when driving through junctions to contacting someone we haven’t seen for a while. I have blogged before about the importance of the little things and the tiny gestures that can show how much you care for those around you. It is so easy to forget these things when you are focusing on what you want to achieve in the day.
I will be trying to do this again. Watch out if you meet me in the next week or so as I am going to be finding ways to help out others but also to manage my own responses to situations I will face. If you are going to try helping others then let me know what happens.
I have just one thing on my mind after a busy day – sleep. It is something we regularly overlook. We focus on eating healthy food and being active but for many of us ensuring we get a good night’s sleep never features. But once we are deprived of it, the lack of sleep becomes a significant issue.
My mind was very active yesterday and I struggled to relax and get a decent night’s sleep. Instead I woke up about three or four times during the night and then was rudely awoken a final time when my alarm went off. What was obvious was I didn’t prepare myself for a good sleep.
Parents with young children work hard to provide the right environment that will encourage their offspring to have a good night. The focus is on winding down, getting away from stimulus like television and mobile phones, starting to move into a more meditative state. But as adults we just don’t take any care over these things.
I regularly am on the internet or social media just moments before I try to go to sleep. I move from being busy, working through issues of the day, doing hoovering, putting washing on and lots of other tasks before then trying to get to sleep. It does nothing to help me get a relaxing night’s sleep and yet I do it virtually every day. The only time I really move to a more appropriate night routine is during the weekend when I have a bit more time to deal with chores during the day.
Yesterday I blogged about the need to stop glorifying being busy and this is important if we are to really get the good night’s sleep that we need. If we stop rushing then we may have the space in the evening to properly prepare for sleep and allow ourselves to recharge the batteries.
I was reading an article this morning that was urging people to ditch the cult of being busy. It is an interesting subject to consider. We fill a lot into our days and most of us want everything. We want the career and the great job, we want to keep fit, we want to be able to spend time with friends, we want to have all the fine things in life. In short our desire for all the good things means we make ourselves extremely busy.
This is the problem I know I have. The busier I become the more it is a way of life and I just expect that every day is going to be filled with lots of stuff. I confess to being greedy with things. I want to do my job, to have my animals and to have all the hobbies and interests that I enjoy. As a result I rarely sit and do nothing. Even tonight I am sitting and writing this blog before I go to bed.
It makes me wonder whether I know how to relax and do nothing. I did manage to do it at the weekend on my reiki course but then I was learning more about how to do reiki. So while it was relaxing it was also another part of my life that I want to develop. I always have a to do list at work of what I want to achieve and I have something very similar for home. This includes having my weekends planned and trying to fit everything in.
So how do we change this position? And do I actually want to stop doing some of the things that fill my days?
In short, I don’t want to give up all the things I enjoy but I do need to realise that there has to be time to recharge my batteries. You can only go full on for so long before you end up burnt out. My life will continue to be busy but perhaps with occasional quiet times to ensure a balance in my life.
I received a nice bit of praise out of the blue this morning that really cheered my morning up. The email was a complete surprise and after reading it I thought I would file it for those days when I need a boost. There were a few other positive things that happened during the morning and it made me really buoyant.
As you can imagine this was never going to last and it wasn’t long before there was a negative interaction and experience. It left me feeling empty after being annoyed and frustrated. So what do you think was on my mind for the rest of the day, was it the positive moments I had or the negative event?
Of course my mind replayed the problems that I had experienced and tried to find where I could have amended things to achieve a better outcome. Being positive is important but changing my mind-set to one where I focus on the good elements is not easy. I have daily routines that aim to shift my perspective on events and these are helpful but when life throws challenging situations at you remembering to focus on them is difficult.
We all need to have a series of things that we can refer to when we need to improve our mood. These may be places that we went to and enjoyed, emails or letters that can lift our spirits, as well as the favourite song, movie or book that can all increase our positivity. If I had been on the right wavelength today the events I faced would not have been an issue, instead I would have thought back to the positive moments in the morning.
The situation is improving but I need to do a lot more to make positive my default position no matter what I face. This work continues.
You could go to work, do your hours, and make sure that you are doing what is set out in the job description. It will mean things are getting done but where does leadership come into the discussion. If we are operating as senior staff within an organisation do we need to be doing a bit more than the job?
Leadership is often written about, extensively discussed and for me is often forgotten by those in management roles. Being a manager and being a leader are two completely different things. The manager is all about the job description and sticking to what is asked of them. They may do it well but they do the job. However, the leader will see the wider implications, will understand the people within their responsibility and is part of the organisation.
As a leader you need to be ready to be involved in many aspects of the organisation including those that are not within your area of responsibility. You see something that needs to be addressed and you step in to deal with it. You are there at times of celebration and at times of crisis. You are prepared to share your views to help improve the business. You support your staff to ensure that they are developing, improving and that their excellent work is recognised. You step outside your comfort zone to make progress. And alongside all that you do the job and provide the direction to those you have responsibility for.
It is simple really. Well it would be if we were able to do all those things. The challenges of the modern workplace where the demands are extensive, the budgets are stretched and there may be skill and knowledge gaps make this problematic. But if we are prepared to take the salary and the job title we must be prepared to do more than just the job description.