I have a disease!!!

I have a disease!  I’ve only just realised this.  I don’t just THINK it, I KNOW it!!!  I know it because I have seen the symptoms in so many others and very profoundly in the last week.

Sadly, this disease is very attenuating and at worse, completely devastating to those who have it.  Having realised this I need to think carefully about my future, my habits and how I should act in the best interests for my future health and success.

You see, for the last few weeks I have been feeling somewhat ill-at-ease.  Whenever I looked at the P&L, run rates, projections etc., etc. of both targets and goals I had put in place for the business and my personal life, I found myself lagging behind.  Being someone who can be so focused on “delivering” this does not sit well with me.  What should we be doing differently?  What should I do to shake things up? These were questions that constantly echoed through my mind.  My need “to do” was clearly a very natural “habit” to fall into….and yet all this did was make me feel “uneasy”.

To be honest I/we had a good year last year.  Both personally and in business we surpassed many targets and I loved that feeling and was keen for it to continue.  Off the back of this new targets and goals found their way onto paper and then locked into various “plans”.  Now I found myself like a possessed soul desperate to hit these into order to achieve and/or get ‘more, more, more”.

On Friday morning, I awoke to the news of a hung parliament following the UK General Election.  The Prime Minister had called this election even though she had a majority in Parliament.  Why?  Well, I guess she thought she could get “more” of a majority and that would make life so much easier.  The result however has more than back-fired and in hindsight seems a bad decision.  I bet Theresa and her advisors also feel “ill-at-ease” now they have seen and are living with the results!!

I guess another word for “ill-at-ease” could be “DIS-ease”?  It got me thinking this weekend that the obsession for us to go for more, more, more is actually a DIS-ease!  How many of us ask: when is enough, enough?  The PM had enough to do what she wanted to do, but how much did she obsess about the ease of having MORE?  How many of us get on the treadmill of “when I/we have x or y then that will be enough” …but in reality, because of our DIS-ease, it never is?

Then, on Friday I read this section of a book (The Space Within, Michael Neill) that turned my whole thinking and my DIS-ease on its head: -

…a perfect metaphor for living a guided life.

“We hang out in the unknown, not knowing what’s coming next but not completely worried about it.  We know something will show up, because something always does.  The next mission will be apparent, either because it presents itself to us from outside or it occurs to us on the inside.  None of it is riding on our shoulders.  The next person will come into our life.  The next opportunity will knock.  When it’s time, it’ll be time, and we’ll get in our planes and fly.”

If the general election results on Friday helped me realise my DIS-ease, the paragraph above was the perfect antidote.  I know this to be true, of course I do…the big steps are always a surprise and always turn up when you’re not looking for them!!

Do you ever find yourself wanting “more, more, more” even though you may not “need” it?  Do you get obsessed with targets that you set yourself…on a daily, monthly, annual basis?  Is there a different way, a healthier way of going about our life journey?

I do believe there is, and this weekend I have enjoyed feeling healthier and so much less” DIS-eased” than before!  Do I have the answers I was looking for? Hell no!  But I know that I am a lot closer now than I was during the week….and I am not even looking for them……

Have a great week.



Reasons to be cheerful – part 3

Those of you who are a similar age to me will recall the song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads ‘Reasons to be cheerful – part 3’.  I don’t know about you but I often wondered what happened to parts 1 and 2?

But do you know the real reason why we should all be cheerful?  It has been scientifically proven that happiness leads to success, and that this success extends across every domain of our lives, both work and personal.  Happy leaders are better leaders, happy workers are more productive, happy people have better relationships and so the list goes on.

This research therefore turns on its head society’s long held belief that success was the precursor to happiness so when we achieved success then happiness orbited around us.  We now know that success actually orbits around happiness.   This is similar to us discovering hundreds of years ago that the earth orbits round the sun and not the other way round as was previously believed.  The magnitude of these discoveries and implications for our lives is very similar – HUGE!

But what is happiness?  As you would expect, happiness is subjective – it is how we each feel about our own lives.  This has been shown to be a combination of experiencing pleasure with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose.  When we feel we are drowning in work we may think that we would love a life just filled with pleasure, but this would soon feel empty and worthless.  Similarly purpose without pleasure becomes duty and drudgery, so neither scenario leads to happiness.

How clear are you on your core purpose and meaning in life and how much time do you give yourself to simply experience pleasure?

It is far too easy to get caught up in the negativity of our world especially in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.  Spending too much time listening to or watching the news however increases our natural negativity bias to a point where it affects our wellbeing and makes us more risk averse in all elements of our lives.  We obviously need to keep abreast of what is happening in the world but we can also counter this affect by actively focusing on positive things in life.  Some people keep a gratitude diary noting down three things each day to be thankful for.  These can be as simple as hearing birdsong or someone making you a cup of tea.  There are also lots more zany ideas in the Ian Dury lyrics including yellow socks and nanny goats to name but two!

Whatever it is for you, over time you train your brain to look for the positive in situations rather than the negative and this increases your wellbeing and happiness and therefore also your success!  Would you like more happiness and success in your life?

For more tools and strategies to help increase happiness for yourself and your team contact us at iTS leadership.

~ Author: Ursula Franklin

Daily conflict – the brass band Vs the flute

It’s funny you know, I suddenly found myself with an “empty day”!  All my appointments and meetings got cancelled for various reasons and I have a day to “catch up” – a rare gift!

So the day begins and I have some critical things to get completed for clients, so I focus there first.  Then I have my ever increasing “to do list” to work through, phone calls to make now I have time and then all those emails that have sat in my Inbox waiting for a “quiet time” for me to sit and read them.  Always so much to do and rarely enough time to get it all done.

But then, just after lunch I have an insight….what SHOULD I be doing to add greatest value to me,
the business and my customers?  All of a sudden I am blank, I have no idea!  So I decide to take myself for a walk and the strangest thing happens!  I start to feel GUILTY for leaving my desk and phone and my THINKING behind!

“I should be thinking about the next big thing!”

“I should be working hard to get another big client!”

“Where’s the next big thing coming from?  How will I find it?”

and so on and so forth…..the noise in my head was deafening!

It has been a beautiful day.  The sun was warming my back.  People I passed had smiles on their faces.  It was so good to be out to be honest.  And as my snowglobe of a mind gradually settled, I realised that everything is OK, there’s no need to panic, no need to try to think of the next big thing, just BE….and then everything will happen when it is meant to.

Someone described THINKING to me “like a big brass band, so loud and noisy in your head you can’t hear anything else at all!”  whilst innate WISDOM is “like the solo flautist”.

I love this analogy as it demonstrates clearly that in order to be the best version of ourselves we need a very calm mind…then, and ONLY then, will we be able to hear our wisdom.  It’s always there, of course, it’s just we drown it out with all of our noisy thoughts and thinking!

…and finally, in the words of Beverley Knight

“coulda woulda shoulda are the last words of a fool”

Be happy.  Have fun today.  “Now” is all we ever have.