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Don’t just do something, sit there!

“Don’t just do something, sit there!”- is a phrase I have stumbled across several times recently.

It’s extremely difficult NOT to do something these days. In the frenetic pace of life, whether it is a work task, an urgent assignment, homework, something needs fixing, the school run – taking time to “sit there” and think, rarely (if ever) tops the list of things to do.

We think far too seldomly. Conversely, we tell ourselves not to think, by saying “don’t just sit there, do something!” In several coaching sessions and workshops recently, this theme has been a topic of some healthy conversation. Ultimately, our discussion peaks at the realisation that we need to think, before we act. The lesson is that we need to put the thinking in before the doing.

In my own life, there have been many times that I have felt a bit harried, time poor and harassed. Then, some years ago, I decided and chose to change. I realised that I needed to simply “sit there” for a while every day and declutter my noisy mind. As an early riser, the first hour of every day is my precious contemplation time. Those 60 minutes of thought and study are a daily gift to myself.

A little time set aside daily to think about what really matters makes all the difference.

When will you “sit there?”

Barnacles

“What is holding me back from success?” asked a coachee. “Many things can” I responded.

I love this story, shared by Thomas S. Monson.

“Ship Captains like to tie up at Portland, Oregon. They know that as their ships travel the seas, a little saltwater shellfish called a barnacle fastens itself to the hull and stays there for the rest of its life, surrounding itself with a rocklike shell. As more and more barnacles attach themselves, they increase the ship’s drag, slow its progress, decrease its efficiency. Periodically, the ship must go into dry dock, where with great effort the barnacles are chiselled or scraped off. It’s a difficult, expensive process that ties up the ship for days. But not if the captain can get his ship to Portland. Barnacles can’t live in fresh water. There, in the sweet, fresh waters of the Willamette or Columbia, the barnacles die and some fall away, while those that remain are easily removed. Thus, the ship returns to its task lightened and renewed.”

Barnacles increase drag, slow progress and decrease efficiency. Building up one on another, eventually they could sink a ship.

What “barnacles” are holding you back from success?  What is slowing you down?

Do you need to head for some fresh waters?

What action needs to be taken to move forward?

Emotional Triggers

You’re having a lovely civil conversation, then BOOM! Suddenly your blood pressure surges, you get agitated, you gasp for air, you raise your voice and you have a noticeable urge to throttle the other person…

What just happened?

Emotions kicked in, that’s what happened.

On two occasions this week, my “hot buttons” have been triggered.

So what are emotional triggers?

They can be almost anything. People, situations, words, opinions, can all provoke extreme and disproportionate emotional reactions within all of us, usually resulting in some kind of unhelpful behaviour. Often, the triggers can unconsciously remind us of past life events or maybe even long established beliefs from childhood.

So, what can you do?

In my case, I took some time to question why I was being triggered. Then I took even more time to pause, breathe, reflect. Then I chose to write down what actually happened in my journal. Capturing what emotions surfaced and what my reaction to the events were, actually helped me to have that inner dialogue with myself and understand what happened.

Another learning experience for sure, pausing, recognising the trigger and being able to change the response is key.

What are you emotional triggers and how do you control them?

Eat Cake

How do you cope with failure? Coping with failure and disappointment are never easy…

Like you, I’ve had my fair share.

Early in my career, I was in charge of a major event that ended up being an absolute disaster. It was just awful, embarrassing, ending up with an extremely upset client.

I recall returning home late that evening considering what I should do next. Our team’s efforts had fallen woefully short of client expectations.

After wallowing in the mire for a few hours and dealing with the personal disappointment – to make me feel better, I turned to some comfort food for immediate relief! I ate cake!….For a brief moment it helped the negative emotions.

On quiet reflection I thought – “What the heck – we can do better than this”.

Key for me in that one experience included learning not to take the disaster personally, letting go of the immediate emotional baggage that arose, reflect and consider on the why of the failure, accept it, then move on.

I recall I visited the client the next day, apologised profusely, agreed some financial compensation – then moved on. Over the years though, I must confess to having eaten a few of those cakes! What have you learned from failure?

Eaten much cake lately!?

Spontaneous!

Familiar regular routine – that’s me! Yet, listening to that inner intuition, brought about a little spontaneity, helping me step outside of the norm.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently on presence and intuition in the coaching world.  On Friday morning, I started listening even more to that small little voice, it was telling me to mix things up a bit! Entering into my mind came this spontaneous thought to head off to St. Andrews for the day with my wife. It was beautiful weather after all and I didn’t have a lot to do anyway.

Spontaneity can scare a lot of people; routine is often the preferred (and safer) route for many (me included).

However, I shared the idea with my wife.  We both embraced it and off we went for a fantastic day together.  We loved it so much that when a similar thought arrived on Saturday morning to climb Alva Glen in the afternoon, we grasped hold of that idea too and off we trotted to go climb some hills.  What a wonderful day we had and coincidentally met some good friends along the way too!

“Spontaneous – having an open, natural, and uninhibited manner”

#Spontaneity – don’t silence those thoughts, relax – listen to them, value them, embrace them, share them, action them, have some fun and enjoy!

Go on – listen up and give it a go!

Waiting

“What can I do whilst I’m waiting?”- The thought passed through my mind several times yesterday.

I waited in Starbucks for a hot chocolate. I waited on the train to arrive. 90 minutes later, I waited on another train to depart. I waited on Cristi for an appointment in the bank. Later still, I waited in the queue for cinema tickets with other family members.

What do you do when waiting? How do you use that precious gift of time?

Waiting can be frustrating for many! Here is one view on waiting – “to allow time to go by, especially while staying in one place without doing very much, until someone comes, until something that you are expecting happens or until you can do something.”

Even when we have the right perspective, waiting can be hard. We’ll always be waiting for something. But a season of waiting doesn’t mean sitting still. Conversely our waiting seasons can be a time of great productivity!

Our thoughts are our seeds of action. Someone once said that life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. When you have a time to hand, rather than just waste it – be more productive.

Why not:
– Breathe & enjoy the gift of time
– Keep your eyes open for humour in the present, you can always find something to smile at!
– Pick someone and start a conversation

What can you do to use the gift of waiting?