When I started this blog, I didn't set out any terms for myself - there were no rules. It was done to allow me to understand myself, support other and seek out support for myself. But understanding myself and my feelings is very important if I want to help others do the same.
But now I'm wrestling with those feelings. On holiday with Hubby, Special Friend and Best Manfriend (people that I held very dear to me). They are people that I know understand me.
Yet I still feel it necessary to release some of my frustration at them. I get frustrated because I want to plan and they don't. As I write this, I question whether it was really that important at all. Was it just a case of me throwing my toys out of my pram in an attempt to get my own way?
I would say I got frustrated because I wanted everyone to be happy, but if I'm being really true to my feelings, am I sure that was the case. Would they have been happier had I just left things alone to work itself out? - probably.
Fortunately these are really good people who care about me too and make allowances for my constant need to plan.
I love holidays, especially those that involve been in my favourite place in the whole world (a corner of England known as the Lake District (Cumbria)).
Its been ages since we've been. We had a weekend last August. We've enjoyed our other holidays in Scotland and Yorkshire and Devon, but absolutely nothing beats a week in the Lakes.
We spent the week with Best Manfriend and Special Friend. Its an environment in which you can relax, where there is no pretence and nothing you say is held against you.
But there's always been something I haven't wanted to do, a mini adventure - camping in the hills, in the wild. I've always been the only one of us not wanting to do it. But in a mad moment last year I promise Special Friend I would. Since then its been the topic of many conversations, Hubby and I have been and invested in the right equipment on the proviso that the conditions had to be spot on. For me a promise is a promise. My recent special birthday was celebrated by treating myself to a sleeping bag for this sole purpose.
When we left, the weather was okay and we pitched the tent in dry conditions. Imagine my horror to waking up the next morning above the snow line. It was a bit of a WOW moment. Had I have known what the conditions offered I would have dug my heals in and not gone, but I missed that bit of the forecast as everyone got carried away with the planning. But in actual fact it was OK. The snow was OK and added to the experience.
The overriding feeling of the day was one of a shared experience, friendship and togetherness - a shared adventure. I have no doubt there will be more.
And I can count on one hand the number of WOW experiences I have had in a lifetime.
An old friend turned up today. Totally out of the blue. We'd lost touch with old friend and his wife, grown apart I guess with different priorities, different lives and living in different counties.
Sometime paranoia creeps in and I blame myself, wondering what I've done to upset them. I have made efforts to stay in touch and we're sort of in touch via Facebook so I see the time they have for other people. But they rarely make the contact with us.
But anyway, out of the blue, we get a phone call. The old friend is in the area and 30 mins away. Mutual friends were staying, so it was simple to set an extra place at the table and catch up on what's happening in life.
Suddenly the time lapse was unimportant and it was good to catch up. I know now that lives are busy especially in our household at the moment. This friendship isn't a priority for me, but whilst its one that will fade into the background for most of its lifetime, one of my personal values is around friendship and there will always be room at my table for Old Friend.
Boss wasn’t in today so I managed to make progress on a number of work tasks without interference AND focus some time of my personal development (a buzz word around here). I completed a Careers Anchors Questionnaire and found it very useful.
We also had an update on what’s happening in the current restructuring at work. Its confirmed to me again that I have outgrown this job, echoed by the Careers Anchor results showing that I have a desire to have more control over my own working patterns.
I am trying to research coaching courses and how to set up a business. But I am still struggling to find the time. Take today as an example.
I get up at 7am, get ready for work, make lunch, throw some washing in.
At 3pm I am sat at my desk eating a rather late lunch, - that 30 mins means that I can ring the bank, the vets and the doctors.
At 4.30pm my office day is done, I pop into town to buy a gift, and go for a piano lesson.
At 6pm, I’m back home, a quick shower and change, a ten minute walk with his Royal Doggyness and appreciation of the glorious countryside on my doorstep.
At 7pm, I sit down to some tea which gives me time to write this. I know I have 30 minutes before attending a Pilates class, pick up Hubby and then meet friends at 9pm. Returning home, I clean my walking boots before going to bed.
It leaves me with 2 options:
Give up on some sleep
Give up working.
About 3 years ago, a fellow Springboard helper told me about how she had been trained by my company as a workplace Coach…..
Workplace coaching she told me, is not about showing someone how to do a task, its about helping people to make their own decisions and solve their own problems.
I was instantly hooked. This sounded just like what I wanted to do, and my company were training people to do it.
When I got back to my desk I excitedly looked up the information on the company Intranet, rang the relevant people, and yes, I could do it, but before they paid for me to attend the full course, they’d prefer I did an introductory course (3 days) called “Coaching for Success”
I went back to my office, advertised for willing volunteers and successfully completed the practical element of the course – yippee.
In the 6 months this took. My company changed the rules. As I am not a line manager, I would not be permitted to attend the full corporate coaching course nor would I have been eligible for the 3 day course. Phew I’d got in just in time, but what a disappointment!!!!!
I don’t read many books. I tend to like a nice light-hearted easy read. Like a good dog story. I didn’t know anything about Amazing Gracie, but I liked the cover and Amazon had recommended it based on me having read the more famous Marley & Me. So I popped it on my Amazon Wish List and low and behold, some very special friends bought it for me recently as a birthday present.
It was everything I expected. The usual fall in love with a dog story but sitting underneath was a story about Gracie’s owner and his friend, and how Gracie became the inspiration they had been lacking for their new business venture. The venture was not just a successful business – it was life changing.
I’ll not tell you more just in case you want to read it, but I drew this from it:
• Sometimes if you want success in life, you need to look in unlikely places.
• If you want something bad enough, you’ll work hard to get it.
I've come to realise that if I want to realise my dream of becoming a personal coach, that I'm going to need some help and support along the way. Its one of the reasons I started this blog - hoping that I could connect with like minded people, people who are on the same journey or may have completed a similar one.
I've also started to get help from a few people I already know, contacts from work etc.
Then I got talking to Friend. Friend is on her own journey in life and as far as I could see is quite a bit ahead of me along that road.
Funny then that she passed a comment to me, about admiring where I am on my journey.
From that point we have started to share our goals and ambitions. I know we will both make faster progress along our roads as a result.
A couple of years ago, I got a telephone call from HR at work. If you remember I attended Springboard (women’s development course) through work.
“Did I want to be a Springboard Helper?” Of course I did. It’s a simple role. The Springboard program is run by an outside consultancy. Patricia Cresswell is not available between workshops to support the delegates, so I needed a half day training course and to attend some of the 4 day of workshops.
I found it very fulfilling and have done it annually ever since. The delegates very rarely need the support but I am happy to provide any help I can.
It was during a Springboard workshop where a fellow Springboard helper told me about how she had been trained by my company to be a workplace Coach……….
I’ve just read an interesting article on line about OC3. It seems to be a made up disorder, but one I know I can apply to myself and I’m sure many others can too.
The author’s definition is this:
Obsessive-compulsive comparing and competing is a psychological condition that impacts negatively on a woman's self-esteem. OC3 is manifested in a variety of forms, but is most commonly characterized by a woman's obsessive (repetitive, distressing, intrusive) need to compare herself to other adults – usually women – accompanied by feelings of compulsion to act in such a way as to try to neutralize the competition."
The author goes onto to say that it tends to occur in younger women and is something we grow out of.
I recently had my 40th birthday and I feel great. My outlook has changed. I’ve spent years comparing myself to other people and deciding that I am inferior because “I don’t have their fashion sense” or “I can’t style my own hair like that” or “they’re really good at their job”.
Well hey! I’ve taken the decision not to do that any more. When I start to think of myself in inferior terms, I stop and try and think of 3 great things about me or what I’ve done today.
When I look back at how I got here, the next opportunity following the A level in Psychology was an introduction to counselling skills course run at the local college. This was much more akin to what I had expected of the psychology course - Practical skills that can be used in normal life or in a professional environment.
The students were a mixed bunch (many of them were in need of counselling – so it made for good practical sessions), but I got lots out of the course. Much of it was inward looking.
As an introduction to counselling skills course it was not designed to make a counsellor out of me. Just give me enough to make the next step to train as a counsellor.
I work full time. The counselling course required an afternoon and an evening a week. That would have been manageable if I could shift my hours around at work. But working in the financial services industry didn’t give me the necessary practical hours I would need. Many of the delegates were already working for charities or paid employment where counselling was seen as an advantage. I would need to take on some voluntary work too. I decided that it was too difficult to fit the hours in my week without giving up some of my leisure time or sacrificing salary. Looking back, I could have done it if I really wanted to.
I think I’ve said before that I don’t believe much in luck. You have to take control of your life and make your own.
But I do believe I’m lucky.
I’m lucky because I own a great little 3 bed semi in a lovely part of the country.
I’m lucky to be in a job with flexible hours and reasonable pay – just enough to cover the mortgage, bills and 2-3 very carefully budgeted holidays a year.
It’s a choice issue again. I chose the lovely house that desperately needs DIY that I can’t afford to do because we spent every penny buying the house. The house is still lovely even if I hate the wallpaper.
I choose to have 3 holidays a year, where I stay in budget self catering accommodation, and cook meals that were prepped at home – rather than splashing out on one fancy summer holiday abroad. I choose to camp, or spend hours searching the internet to get that good deal. And I choose to entertain at home rather than splashing out on eating out.
I have chosen not to feel sad or regret what I don’t have. I used to. I have wasted a lot of time in the past thinking about what I wasn’t doing or having! And envying friends and family for what they had.
When you realise its your choice and you can make your own luck, you can sit down and appreciate what you have. I am very content with my horrid wallpaper, but its part of my beautiful house. My bargain breaks are spent appreciating the lovely countryside in the UK (esp. the lakes) and my contentedness is passing to my lovely lovely dog who can feel it because he is lying on my feet as I type.