Taking time…

December 6, 2013

It’s been just over a week since I pushed back from my desk and take time to regroup and readjust. First things first, to those who reached out, read my words, and offered an ear, a heart felt thank you.

I am not naive enough to believe that the my world can right itself in 9 days, but I do believe that the time afforded me, has yielded some tangible benefits. I took care of the ‘small things’ that have been neglected and acted as a constant reminder that I wasn’t taking care of my space.

My living room is now a room where I can sit back, turn on the radio, curl up in a chair and read 7 chapters of a book. This was a big win. There is no longer a TV in the living room. There is more open space, space I soon to have filled with friends and colleagues, as we listen to and share an appreciation for music and its vinyl incarnations.

I also spent some time putting together my wall of fame and honour. This wall serves as an homage to the personalities that I admire, that I have learnt from and that I respect. With yesterday’s news, there will soon be another photo to hang on the wall. No doubt my son will ask me questions about why this person and that person, and I can use this as an opportunity to share with him.

Speaking of family, there was the always uncomfortableness of a funeral, the stress, the questions and the tears it brings, last Friday. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of life and the need to nurture those familial relationships. In fact, I remember apologizing to my Mom for a remark I made on Saturday afternoon. She too apologized for her reaction. It was strange feeling, but it opened up a door for a deeper conversation about the importance and the need to deal with issues as they present themselves and not let them fester.

A special thank you to the friend who shared with me an article from George McKeown, ‘Reduce Your Stress in 2 Minutes a Day.’ If you have the time, or the inclination, please take the time to read this. The message and the suggestions provided are simple and reinforced one of the readings (‘‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’) I did while I was in Thailand. It’s amazing how quickly we can get out of rythm, out of practice and as a result out of balance.

One of the easy things that fell-off was my commitment to running. It was easy to make excuses. I was too busy. It was too late. You need to get to work early. However, they were simply roadblocks I had put in place. Thankfully, I have returned to running. I hold no illusions, and know it will take some time to get back into the habit of running, but it is something I know that I need to do. More running to come and I am looking forward to it.

My initial plan was to return to work on Monday, but a conversation with someone I respect, suggested that it takes a full week to decompress and another week to put in place a strategy, for how you will return to work. At first, this caught me off guard and I wasn’t quite sure how to react to the suggestion to take additional time. After a conversation with a good friend, over coffee, the more it made sense. There needs to be a plan in place.

One lesson that I will bring back with me, one that my friend shared with me a few years ago, is to ‘accomplish one thing for yourself each day.’ These need not be monumental accomplishments. The mundane and the pragmatic accomplishments can also work. I believe this can apply equally to both one’s personal and professional lives.

My friend also gave some sage advice as to handle some of the professional challenges. His advice, a different way of looking at my role, as a manager within the public service, provided a fresh outlook and an opportunity for me to not only question my role and my reactions, but also change the way in which I approach and address issues. Like with any skill, this will take continual practice, but I am looking forward to learning.

Looking forward to the week ahead, I will be focusing my thoughts on what I can do as a manager to better support my team. One of them is to be present, which ties in with the messages of Greg McKeown and Robin Sharma. I need to be there and being there is part of being successful.