Transitions take time …

My old office

My old workplace

I gave up full time work six years ago and I am still adjusting to the changes brought about by that decision.

Many, many times I dreamed I was back at work – usually late and a bit lost – people had moved around and I couldn’t find them.

This week I dreamed my old boss fired me! I was actually pleased, especially when he gave me a cheque for $14,000 (only in my dream)! I thought this might signal an end to my dreaming about work.

Not so! Last night I dreamed we had a work reunion and I woke up with the idea of setting up a Facebook page for my former colleagues. That idea wore off by breakfast time!

I hadn’t realised how much hold the workplace had on me. Hopefully I am ready to let go of the life I had in the workforce and enjoy in the life I have now.

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Assertive or aggressive?

I have never been very good at dealing with conflict. I just don’t like it!

Never-the-less, we are sometimes caught in situations where we either give in too easily on the one hand or, alternatively, get too angry.  I came across this little story recently and thought it was worth sharing (again) as I believe it provides an alternative to the extremes of not acting and reacting in a negative way.

Once there was a snake with a rather bad attitude. The small village near where the snake lived was very fearful of this snake because he would strike without warning and devour its prey. It was known to eat hens, dogs, and even big animals like cows. The villagers gathered at the edge of the field, and with drumming and shouting, and sticks and stones, made up their minds to find the snake and kill it.

A holy man came upon this loud and angry crowd and asked, “What is this about?” The villagers told him of the snake’s villainy. The holy man asked, “If I make this snake stop doing these evil deeds, will you spare his life?” The villagers reluctantly agreed to give the snake – and the holy man – one chance.

The holy man entered the field and commanded the snake to come to him. “What issss it?” the snake hissed. The holy man’s words were simple: “Enough! There is no need for this. There is plenty of food without eating the villager’s animals.” The holy man spoke with kindness and authority and the snake knew his words to be true. He nodded in agreement and slithered away.

It was not long before the villagers discovered that the snake would not harm them. They were grateful, but some of the villagers in their anger over what had been done, began to beat the snake with sticks and stones. The abuse continued until he could take no more and hid underneath a large rock, determined not to break its word to the holy man. “Why is this happening to me?” he said, “ I followed the holy man’s words.” Soon the fearful snake was near death from the beatings and the lack of food.

One day, he heard the footsteps of the holy man and with his last bit of strength crawled out to meet him on the path. The holy man, seeing how terribly beaten and sickly the snake looked, asked, “What has happened to you?” The snake told the story of the beatings and torment and how for days it had hidden underneath a rock to protect itself.

The holy man stood silently shaking his head. “Oh, foolish snake,” he said, “I told you not to bite but I did not tell you not to hiss.”  With this the snake understood and slithered away.

optimism

It will pass …

In my life there are times when I experience intense emotions – sometimes good and sometimes not. I am sure we all do.  I have found that the secret to riding out these emotions is to try to remember the following:

  • My emotions are not me – they are but a tool or instrument in my experience of life
  • They will pass. Sometimes it feels like an eternity but just like the tides, my feelings ebb and flow and are forever changing – and that is OK!

This too shall pass

Tools to boost self esteem

Recently I wrote about dealing with negative feelings. It helps to have some tools or ideas to counteract them when they hit with full force. I developed this acronym a while ago and try to memorise it when I need some positive input. It is an acronym for the word CONFIDENCE and reminds me of what I am capable of or what I need to do to feel more confident.

C is for capable – I have the basic knowledge to do the task

O is for often – when I do something often I become more confident in my abilities.

N is for now – I need to focus on NOW and the task at hand.

F is for follow – I can follow instructions and directions rather than just guessing what is required.

I is for interest – if I have a genuine interest in what I am doing I am more likely to do it well.

D is for determination – if I am really determined to succeed, chances are that I will.

E is for elements –  I can break a task down to its smaller components and give full attention to each part.

N is for new – I need to be open-minded and curious about learning new tasks and that will get me there in the end.

C is for cheerfulness – if I approach the task with a cheerful attitude and be friendly to those around me the job will seem a lot easier.

E is for effort – putting in an effort and a bit of hard work can produce good results.

If I experience self-doubt I try to recall the above suggestions however it doesn’t really matter if I can’t remember them because I just look for another positive word beginning with the same letter.

It works for me 🙂

I was thinking of a new one today based on the word WIMP. I sometimes accuse myself of being a wimp. How about Warm, Intelligent, Magnificent, Person? Any other suggestions?

life

I will do it later …

I am experiencing procrastination! A severe case of it. However, it has spurred me to action. I decided to put my ideas for overcoming procrastination into a post. It took some time and several diversions before I got to this page. I found a useful quote as well.

procrastination

I also put together a worksheet I have used in the past.

CATEGORIES OF IMPORTANCE

So, my next task is to work out what to do first. Obviously the best starting point is a task that is IMPORTANT AND URGENT. The funny thing is that the things I am putting off are things I want to do – just  not right this minute!

Life

I like to find image quotes online that capture how I am feeling. I came across this one this evening. I often feel like this – some days more than others!

I have this vague feeling that I missed out on getting the rule book handed out at birth :-). At least today I can accept that is just how I am and not fret about it too much.

life

A clumsy jump into retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

The post below was written for an exercise in my creative writing class.

I can’t do it any longer. It will kill me if I keep going. After all, it is only a job and there must be more to life than going through the motions and playing the games. The pay and conditions are good but they don’t make up for the emptiness of the soul in doing something that no-one cares about.

The games – well they aren’t much fun. They are word games mostly. The government agrees to being a party to a strategy or initiative. Each year some lonely public servant checks what promises were made and provides some affirmative words to demonstrate that, yes, we, the government have really done something about it. It is written down in black and white weasel words, so it must be accountable. If it is not written down, there may be hell to pay.

I worked for the Office for Women’s Policy – in fact I was the last of the team to resign – I don’t think it is called that anymore. The issues considered were important but they got lost in the midst of political battles and point scoring. Either that or they got stuck in the mud of bureaucracy. For six months I worked on a cabinet submission to encourage greater participation of women on government boards. There was no appetite for this. The public cry was that women shouldn’t be supported to get on boards. After all, men don’t get support – they get appointed on merit. What – are you suggesting that every man on a board has more skills, knowledge and experience than the average female applicant? No, that doesn’t hold water.

Working full-time meant I left home at 7.30am each morning and got home at around 5.30pm each evening. I had little energy to enjoy my leisure time. Work consumed me. Some people can switch off after a day at the office but to me it was personal. The quality of my life was questionable.

We got away for weekends down south as often as we could. I couldn’t wait to get hold of the local papers and check out the real estate pages. We looked at houses and drove down the streets of Busselton and wondered what it would be like to live there. We dined out and pretended we were locals – could we make it a reality?

Unbeknown to me, Tom had done some research online about Busselton. I found a brochure in the mail one day about a Lifestyle Village in Broadwater, close to the beach. I didn’t pay much attention to it but suggested that we could have a look at it next time we were in Busselton. On our next visit we met with the sales rep and looked at a few houses on the Saturday. We decided to have a second look on the Sunday and took away a package of information to consider.

In no time at all, we signed the contract for our new home. We had three months to sell our Perth property. We put it on the market and it sold after thirteen days. Crunch time came at work – it wasn’t difficult to leave as I mentioned earlier, I was the last of the team to abandon ship. I was lucky to be able to keep a tenuous link to my job in case the experiment didn’t work out – this was six months leave without pay.

I haven’t looked back. I didn’t decide to retire – I just jumped out of the workforce when the opportunity presented itself. Now, five years later, I am still considering what my next act will be.

What does fear mean for you?

I used to be frightened of lions and elephants when I was a child. That may have been reasonable if I lived somewhere near the jungle or even a zoo – I didn’t. Some of the children’s stories I grew up with were very scary – Hansel and Gretal, Red Riding Hood – even Cinderella with those ugly step-sisters.

My two brothers really enjoyed scaring the daylights out of me. They would pretend to be prowlers outside my bedroom window – that’s the joy of being the youngest of five children – a real sucker for some fun and teasing.

I needed to overcome fear lots of times throughout my life. If you do it often enough you end up being quite courageous. There is a lot of wisdom in the popular book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. Over time those courage muscles get to grow if you use them often enough.

What sorts of things are you afraid of?

FEAR

Confidence booster

I developed the tool below to help me in times when I doubt myself.

I think of the word confidence and go through each letter at a time.

Sometimes I can’t remember my original choice of words and then I come up with new ones that reinforce positive thoughts in my mind.

CONFIDENCE IS MADE UP OF MANY SMALLER PARTS

C is for capable. You have the basic knowledge and experience to do the task at hand.

O is for often. When you do something often you become more confident in your ability.

N is for now. It helps if you focus on the task at hand, now, and not try to do tomorrow’s work today.

F is for follow. It may mean following a recipe, some guidance, a style manual, or the instructions in a manual.

I is for interest. If you have a genuine interest in what you are doing, you will feel more confident.

D is for determination. If you aspire to do well – chances are good that you will succeed.

E is for elements. If you understand the basic elements of the task, you can then tackle them one by one until the task is completed.

N is for new. Be always be open to learning something new. It is OK to acknowledge you haven’t done something before, however, be willing to learn new things.

C is for cheerful. If you can approach whatever you are doing with a cheerful attitude, your chances of success are greater.

E is for effort. You need to put in some effort and do the work that is required to the best of your ability.

PV1

Optimism … easier said than done?

This time last week I wrote about a couple of people I spoke with during the day. Both were facing major issues – one was dealing with sickness in the family and the other had serious business problems.

Today I caught up with the business person again and ventured to ask her if she had any success in fixing a major piece of machinery. Last week she said it could not be fixed and she would miss out on the busy holiday season. Today she was much brighter as she told me the problem was resolved. She said she had a couple of really tough days worrying about going broke.

I was really pleased to hear the good news. It is so easy to get overwhelmed when things don’t go the way we expect.

optimism