Day 510

Day 510

Well it would be since we first went into Lockdown on 26 March 2020 although I have to acknowledge that there’s been a couple of gaps in my blogging since then! Out walking this evening the roads were silky black and wet. I counted five buses – two only with interior lights on, only one passenger all up. It seemed fitting for the audiobook I was listening to – The Road to Wigan Pier – a grim first person account of depression-era England in the Industrial North, by George Orwell. I selected it on account of another listen to Orwell’s Animal Farm, a book I first read in High School. It’s a depressing yet delightful book all in one. I’m not sure what I make of The Road to Wigan Pier yet, I’ll need to complete it.

Since Day 1 when we were first placed in a national state of emergency and into Level 4 lockdown, recorded global deaths have gone from 14,000 to almost 4.4 million. It’s trite to say, we’ve changed and in the middle of change.

Reflecting back 510 days ago, it seemed like the pandemic would be over in a few months – I’d put my trip to Ireland to see my son and his family – back to July “to be on the safe side”, and I was confident life would be back to normal in relatively short order. It started to, although not the travel, until I had a soft tissue sarcoma identified in my right leg on 12 June. Big dates stay with me and I’ve passed the first anniversary of that find with treatment and surgery behind me, although there’s ten years (I hope!) of follow-up. Because it’s not far off the anniversary of surgery and the weather is similar, I can’t help but feel slightly disoriented – am I home recovering, is it a lockdown, or just normal working from home? When I have a little pain in my leg, am I back to last year or is it just a little pain that’s normal these days?

The anxietyometer was up a bit yesterday, settled but it’s still elevated. All the complications and disturbances of the 510 days are back to the fore for a fresh look. I think that’s a good thing.

Stephen

Year End Resilience

Year End Resilience

The end of the year is close. Feels like it can’t happen soon enough. I’m getting tired and I think lots of us are. A long winter, work pressures and lots going on including for me a house on the market (can’t skip making the bed!).

We had a taster on resilience at work recently.  Physical health, mindfulness and seeking help were some of the key messages.

Coming home this evening a sudden shower on the bike. By the time I got to the Waterview Tunnels I was quite wet, although it was warm. The tunnel was a respite from the rain. 2.8km of dry, I imagined I was on the Autostrada in northern Italy (although I wasn’t riding quite fast enough!) driving from Avignon to Florence – tunnel after tunnel.

Mindfulness is a valuable practice. It can help us to manage anxiety, achieve tasks and lead to a greater sense of worth and contentment.

Add a bit of “Golden Age thinking” to your repertoire I reckon.  A kind of mindfulness about pleasant experiences in the past.

The moments in the tunnel on the Autostrada led me to a walk after the rain – reminiscing about Paris and my favourite film, Midnight in Paris.

Didn’t feel so tired afterwards.

Stephen

Burst

Your day job will pay the bills and hopefully give you some freedom and choices. If you’re fortunate it will also provide a level of satisfaction and future prospects.

Work is not everything but it can feel like it at times.

I’ve given up many things for work at times. It’s not just the time it’s felt like not being in the groove of doing the “other things”.

Bursting into action
Bursting into action

I’ve noticed some people travel by booking and going. Go the movies by, well, going. Having a picnic.

I enjoy all of these things and blogging too. Blogging about leadership and personal development provides me with a deeper reflection time and a level of satisfaction that complements what I get from work.

But I’ve been neglecting it these last couple of years. There’s been blogs most months, with a promise to myself that “I’m away again”.

The last week or so, as one reader commented I’ve “Burst into Action”. I just started and kept going. Like going to the movies not worrying too much about what movie (within reason, it can be a lot of fun).

So what are you wanting to do? Burst into it and do it. It won’t wait until work is complete. Thankfully, work is never complete anyway.

Stephen

p.s. Photograph by my father in Christchurch.

These are the good old days!

The Polish clockmaker finally declared Grandma’s Clock restored after two months and $400. The Chimes are fully wound so there shouldn’t be too much sleep for the next week or so for anyone in my house! I headed to my farewell lunch at Vivace after collecting the clock. As well as being called a traitor and a prick some lovely messages were given directly to me by people who’s opinions I greatly value and respect. I’ve made one last visit to my office at Manukau but got distracted by  what turned out to be the Manukau City Brass Band playing Carols in the Chancery.

Stephen Drain, John Raine, Kevin Pryor, Philip Sallis & Derek McCormack

Pacific men, women and boys in black trousers, white shirts, ties pumping out one soothing carol after another. I sat and listened for a while. Reminded me of the Sallies in Christchurch when I was a boy. On the way out to my office, Grandma’s Clock declared it 12 noon and chimed as I drove. More memories.

At lunch we talked about the Wisdom Retreat I recently ran. Mindfulness was mentioned and Derek reminded us that these are indeed the good old days. Can you enjoy this moment whether it be the brass band you come across, the coffee with a friend, or at a stretch, even Christmas Lunch, for what it is? That special moment.

Working at AUT has been a special moment in my life. I’ve built something quite special, been free to be creative, had a lot of fun and made many life-long friends. I’m very grateful. I’ve tried to feel it on the way, to embrace the special moments on the way – the first Authentic Leadership Course, the Queenstown marketing module on the Innovative Leaders GM Programme and my personal favourite, the Wisdom Retreat. These were definitely good old days for me.

I’m also grateful to the many clients who put their trust in me to help them on their journey. I hope I helped. I hope there are more good old days starting in 2012. New job, still doing what I love, and more!

Thank you.

Stephen

ps and here’s the two people who came in behind me and made most of the stuff actually happen!

Lyn and Tamara - Thanks!