March 15, 2014

In the mood for a cyclone

Apparently there’s a cyclone here, or is that an ex-cyclone?  So far not much bar some gusts and welcome rain.  Running from Titirangi up to Arataki this morning, it only took 500 metres, then I didn’t get any wetter.  One good thing about running in the rain is that once you’re wet, that’s it, you don’t get any wetter.

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If it’s cold that can matter, but this morning it was not too bad at all.  

For some reason it reminded me of being in Paris a year ago next month. Suddenly, the trip was fresh in my mind again and Hotel Coste was playing in the (now infrequently used) car. I feel a re-play of Midnight in Paris coming on.

It’s been exceptionally busy lately at work, with hardly a moment to reflect or for that matter, write a blog. And I’ve missed it. There’s something about writing down thoughts that is both therapeutic and insightful to me. A change in weather is like a change a pace, a chance to do something new, or in this case old, again.

So the outdoor umbrellas are down, the windows all closed but frankly, the cyclone hasn’t really (so far!) come to much that matches all the preparation and anticipation. But what it did do is makefor a change of pace, a chance to change direction, even for a day.

Thanks to a cyclone that put me in the mood. To write a blog.

Stephen

 

December 11, 2013

11/12/13

Seemed like as good a day as any to return for a blog. There won’t be another date like this for quite a while. Which is a bit like every day. But some days there are patterns.

I’ve been riding my electric-assist bicycle around a lot lately. Work, friends, even going to the movies. And finding I arrive feeling very alive and, as far as getting to work goes, much much quicker. I’ve also spent quite a lot less on petrol, and using the car has become like a treat.

Riding a bike in the city streets isn’t something I’d do half asleep that’s for sure. It’s full alert, defensive driving (riding) at its height. It’s liberating, fast at peak hour (especially if you find a bus lane as I am fortunate enough to have most of the way into the office) and there’s the added exercise.

And I'm loving it!

And I’m loving it!

I was talking to some colleagues at work today about the shape of one’s career. It’s not like a square paver path where each step is laid out neatly in front, but rather it’s like crazy paving, all over the place and you won’t necessarily know the next step until it’s laid out (credit to the unknown guru on LinkedIn who wrote this recently).

So why do we imagine it should be all laid out? Watch the cyclist. Rhythmic pedalling, and probably appears to the driver, give or take, like they are traveling reasonably direct. But the cyclist knows it’s a far cry from the easy (or hard uphill) journey. It’s watching like a hawk at the parked cars, checking for doors about to be opened, scanning the side roads, checking the traffic behind, watching the road, looking for potholes, avoiding metal plates and so on. It’s tiring without even thinking about the physical effort!

Have you sometimes thought that colleagues careers are all in order, one orderly step after another? And yours is chaotic, lacking direction, even meaning?

It’s partly about perception. On the inside chaos and crazy paving. On the outside, order and direction. I’d say take heart, if as you approach Christmas, and it’s crazy busy, that is just the way it probably is for everyone, and should be for you if you’re making progress in your career. If it’s too smooth and easy, it will be, and won’t be taking you where you want to. And you won’t be nearly as alive as you could be.

So on this day where the date is so ordered, with one number after another and as neat as can be, recognise that it’s a very rare and special event.

Not your everyday experience.

Stephen

September 26, 2013

Celebrating success can be hard

I think I was one of only two people in the Koru lounge this morning who clapped when Oracle successfully defended the America’s Cup.  I was one of a handful who clapped when Team New Zealand crossed 44 seconds later.

Oracle had a stunning success. No doubt about it. Caught cheating, they paid the price for their crime which almost wiped them off the course.  Aotearoa was fast, very fast, and importantly faster than Oracle for the first week. But Oracle dug deep and made its boat even faster.

Would this have happened against the other challengers?  Probably not, Oracle would probably have won on their slower boat anyway.  You might think its a rich man’s sport, their toys on the world stage. Might be. The All Blacks aren’t playing a poor man’s sport,  but we don’t accuse them of the same.  Without the power of Team New Zealand and Oracle in competition we wouldn’t be seeing the technology, the innovation and the outright excitement of these boats.  Think of the Pumas in the Rugby Championship – there to get better from playing us.

My son Thomas graduated this week in a ceremony with 500 or so others.  All successful.  In different ways.  But Thomas was the most successful person there for me!  Well done mate!.  He drove himself to success by building higher steps to climb (and he’s got more going on now).

I hated and loved this America’s Cup all at once. I hated the stress of the last few days.  Hell! Their boat really is faster!  Oh no!.  But the beauty of the boats gliding, the work of the crews, Barker’s graciousness and maturity, that New Zealand was behind much of all of this, including Oracle’s boat and crew.  That’s success.  All of which we should celebrate.

I felt the grief of losing.  Felt for Barker actually. The shock, the anger, the resentment but then the acceptance and hope. Hope for more of the same, another America’s Cup please, but I’ll be promising myself to enjoy the moment as much as I enjoy the prospect of NZ winning.  That’s my little promise to myself.

What a journey. Got to enjoy it on the way.  Even if we can’t now, we will when we look back.

July 2, 2013

Short, dull and full of pain

And so it is said on the Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Of life.

Life has put a long time between blogs for me at the moment, but I’ve still been thinking!  A lot. Life is busy and it’s certainly short and for some I guess it is dull and full of pain.

We only need to look at any news site for the pain the many people are in. Take a walk at lunchtime and see how dull many people seem. They might not be of course. But it looks like it to me.

But if it’s true that life is dull, then what? Or maybe it’s pain? Caused by circumstance or by others. You might even be a victim.Image

But time has passed. A short time, because that’s all there ever is actually. But does it need to be dull? No.

I’ve watched another of Allen’s work, Midnight in Paris, a few times lately. The protagonist Gil Bender escapes his current dullness by visiting the 1920s. Yes, it’s far fetched.  Gil meets up with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Hemingway and others. He reshapes his life from a potentially mediocre existence of comfort and wealth to one of living a life that has meaning and adventure, for him.

You might have pain and I can’t judge or minimise that.  What then? Life is short. That’s a fact.  Dull? No way, there’s no excuse at all for that. Wake up and get on with life I reckon. Now. Which is why my blogs are few and far between right now.  Enjoy.As Cristina says on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, watch out for the “appropriate police”.

Stephen

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