I think it happens to all of us

I think it happens to all of us.

Sometimes we are so busy chasing the rainbow that we forget to stop and take a breath.

Sometimes we are so busy trying to stay afloat looking after everyone else that we haven’t got the energy to look after ourselves.

Whether we are running towards something that excites us, or running away from our problems, we need to remember that all this running requires energy.

Not the one that comes in a can of red bull or caffeine.
But the type that comes from
– good sleep hygiene
– proper nutrition
– having a fun support network

I’ve been doing some proper sprints lately especially for my membership, and I had sacrificed my sleep resulting in a parenting style that is a lot more grumpy than usual.

So I’ll take my own advice and head off to bed at a reasonable hour tonight.

I’m hoping that the sleep genie will turn me into someone a lot more bearable to be around tomorrow 😆

Hopefully my creative mojo will return soon too! I’ve found it difficult to come up with doodles and content in this under-resourceful state.

What do you do to recharge your batteries?

Now excuse me while I catch some zzzs. 😴


It can be much harder

It can be much harder to ward off dark thoughts now that the nights are longer.

I just finished another night shift with Samaritans, and I can see why so many people are afflicted by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which isn’t helping the mental and physical health toll caused by the pandemic.

Isolation, fear, domestic violence, abuse… sometimes the demons that are kept away during the day when we are busy, with distractions of daily life, comes alive when the sun goes down.

If you are in a good place, reach out to those around you who may be living alone, and who may be struggling.
Ask some gentle questions.
“How are you doing?”
“The night is much longer now, how are you coping?”
“How is your sleep?”
Then, just listen without judgement.

If you are struggling, reach out.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help.
If you are in the UK, you can ring Samaritans freephone 116 123.
Otherwise, you can email jo@samaritans.org.
We are here 247 to listen.

You don’t have to go through this alone. 🌹


OMG! What a cow!

“OMG! What a cow! How dare she talk to me like that! I know she’s the customer, but that was really out of line!”

He was really upset, and had excused himself from the call to message me.

Sometimes, it can be very easy to be triggered, especially if we feel personally attacked, and particularly more so if we are in a non-resilient state.

I know that I have a short fuse if I don’t get enough sleep, for example.
Or if I’ve just stepped on a lego piece 😫
Or if I find out that my favourite make-up have been used in an experiment to create mystery potions. 😑

When I am in that state – I generally broadcast my ‘non-resilient’ state to those I am interacting with, so that they know that I have a short fuse and the why behind it.

It reduces conflict when there is empathy.

If you’re on the receiving end of an unkind interaction, it may be difficult to _not_ be triggered when harsh words are used.

However, it helps to take a step back.
Stop that lizard brain from making impulsive statements and actions.
Extend that gap between event (harsh words being spoken to you) and reaction (giving in to the need to tell her what you really think – which may be detrimental to your next performance review 😖).

Take a break.

A few moments to practice box breathing can help to regulate the emotions.
Perhaps bring a calorie-laden peace offering. 🍩
Anything to break the tension and change the dynamics.
Adopt a posture of empathy.

Perhaps there are other reasons for the unkindness.
It really doesn’t matter if those reasons are true or not – the key thing is to acquire a perspective of the situation in a way that will best serve you.

I’ve found that it helps to reason with my emotions by visualising it as a Lizard that needs to be managed like a little child who’s having a meltdown.

It’s always a win situation when I’m able to calm her down. 😊
Then it’s donuts for all!
(Unless I’ve given them all away to defuse the situation!)
In which case, my muffin top feels grateful that we haven’t got any left 😁


Go faster! Go slower!

Go faster! Go slower! Be careful! Be impulsive!

In life you will get all sorts of conflicting advice from ‘experts’.

What do you do when this happens?
Unless backed up by science and evidence that doing A is infinitely wiser than doing B (such as washing your hands before eating vs manhandling a stray dog before eating), most ‘advice’ about what to do in a scenario is very context specific.

The decisions I make is based on my values and beliefs, and my thinking process about the implications and a cost-benefit analysis of the options.

I am not you, and you are not me.
So my advice really applies only to me.

However, I can share my process of making the decision with you – and that is something I am comfortable with.

How do you decide what advice to take?

You apply Critical Thinking.
You ask questions.
You query source of information.
You peel back layers of assumptions.

You use Systems Thinking.
You think about the short/medium and long term impact of options.
You decide (based on your values and priorities in life at this moment in time):
– what is important
– what you would give up to prioritise what’s important
– what you would gain by prioritising what’s important
– whether the cost bearable (if there is a cost to prioritising what’s important)

So whether you do your best to make the most of your time on earth –
By rushing to get the certs, the qualifications, the jobs, the cars, the houses
Or by taking your time and building your legacy by nurturing and enjoying your relationships…

Either choice can be the right one for you.

If you decide mindfully,
with intent,
you’ll be fine.

That’s because there won’t be any regrets when you get to the end of the line.
For me – I want to live a life of #NoRegrets.

How about you?


You can’t solve a problem

You can’t solve a problem if you don’t open your mind, heart and your ears 👂🏻.

I’ve observed that in most conflicts and dysfunctional interactions, true listening is not practiced.

Everyone wants to have a say.
Everyone has an opinion that MUST be aired.
Everyone believes they are right.

These sorts of encounters are rarely productive as the Egos fight it out in the form of sarcastic throwaways, barbed remarks, underhanded comments dunked in passive aggression.

This sort of environment is not fun.

What is _FUN_ is when we get functional conflict, where participants listen with attentiveness and respect, before lobbing their opinions playfully in the fray – knowing that healthy conflict in a safe environment creates forward motion for the collective team.

When things start to heat up, take a breath.
Calm the urge to charge in and make your thoughts known.
Yes – you want to be heard.
But really, so does everyone else.

Perhaps the cycle can be broken with you.
You can begin by taking the moment to let others speak first.
Listen carefully, attentively.
Replay what you’ve heard.
And then you can share your thoughts on the matter.

On the axis of Self vs Others dimension within Active Listening, we should always be biased towards the Others.

That’s the only way to open doors and take the right first step towards Effective Problem Solving.


How do you get what you want?

How do you get what you want?

There’s a whole spectrum of influence tactics that leaders and governments can use to achieve compliance in behaviour:
Force, compel, coerce, convince, persuade, ask, motivate, inspire.

I was reading about how Austria will soon making vaccination mandatory, and I wondered how the citizens will react. I think it won’t go down too well.

And so I had an interesting debate with Husband about this.
He is outraged that the choice will be taken away from the citizens to decide.
I am more interested in how the Austrian government came to this decision, to enact this draconian law; and whether they’d be as effective as a more authoritarian government in getting the outcome they want.

Culture around power distance as well as trust in government and other factors definitely makes a huge difference in this matter.

The pandemic has opened up so many discussions and debates about what to do, how to
– contain the virus spread
– treat the ailing
– stop the healthy from getting sick
– protect the health services
– keep up with the rapidly mutating virus from turning it into a deadly game of cat and mouse
… so it is no wonder that governments have invested heavily in finding solutions that address one or more of the above.

They do need cooperation from the public to get some headway, but much of the controversy has been centred around the “How”.

How do you get compliance?

The ethics debate is also utterly fascinating – for example, is bribery and manipulation any better than coercion?
Is there a sliding scale of Badness in this whole equation?

Learning how to influence ethically is an important part of life, and I am keen to impart these lessons onto my kids.

Personally, I rely on my winning smile and amazing charm to get my way. 😁
That’s option (C) but I didn’t have enough space to illustrate that.
And if it doesn’t, the 🍩 in option (B) is absolutely a viable one!!