Recently I was speaking to a father who has a daughter with special needs. She has a long list of both physical and mental challenges.
The father is a professional man who works in the City of London. He is hard working and loyal to the firm. He confided that he earns quite well but knows he could get better pay if he changed jobs. This would be very handy as the costs of supporting his daughter are very high as she needs special equipment at home and in the car, special clothing and shoes, which she of course grows out of regularly and various support such as help in looking after her and extra activities to encourage development. Holidays were not on the agenda.
My first reaction was to ask why he doesn’t move to a different firm who would pay him more?
He looked at me with wide eyes and said that time off to be there for his daughter when needed was more important to him than money and his present firm understood this.
What would you do?
Time Management At It’s Best, One List or Two?
Whether we like to admit it or not, when we have too much to do we are overwhelmed. When we are overwhelmed we become inefficient, agitated, short tempered and quite frankly a pain to know.
Why? Because it’s stressful. When cortisol the stress hormone is over stimulated havoc breaks loose.
The big three that cause a huge surge of cortisol are bereavement, divorce and moving house. But believe it or not, this kind of stress is not the health risk we think, because no matter how bad we feel, we will recover on some level.
Equally, cortisol secretion in the short term is great because it keeps us alert, sharp and we can think on our feet. If however, it goes on for too long that’s when things go badly wrong. Typically this happens at work when tasks are not finished. It’s the undone to-do list that eats away at us like a nasty little finger constantly prodding and poking robbing us of our sanity.
Are you a hero?
Do you dream of being a hero? Do you fancy the idea of saving someone one day? Do you want people to say “wow there he/she goes, I wish I could be like him/her.”
It’s strange isn’t it, but we’re all capable of being a hero if the opportunity presented itself. Imagine your child falling in a river, would you jump in to save them? Most people would without thinking about it, it’s simply a reaction to wanting something more than anything else at that moment.
The traits we admire in heroes are often the traits we have in ourselves. So if we are all capable of heroic acts, why do we put some people on a pedestal? And why is this a bad idea?
The Ultimate Employee Threat
It was not exactly what I expected when I gave my first appraisal to a member of staff. As a customer-facing receptionist she was turning business away with her utterly miserable facial expressions. No matter what I did to cheer her up, she could never raise even a glimmer of a smile. There was only one thing for it – we needed to have an official chat.
This was new to me, so I did my research on the best way to do this and asked her to come into my office. With guidelines in hand I started the discussion. I thought our conversation was going fairly well until like a bolt of lightening she said “I want to commit suicide.” Horrified and in my naivety, I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong. She continued with the ways in which she was considering ending her life.
“We started the society because it’s hard for older ladies to meet new people.”
Whilst in a restaurant in London this week I saw a table of ladies swathed in purple clothes wearing red hats over beautiful white hair. Some of the hats were functionally warm, others were various shapes of a trilby and one rather flamboyant lady wore a red flower and feather in her hair.
They were giggling like schoolgirls and totally oblivious to people watching them. They didn’t give two hoots; they were having fun.
Curiosity got the better of me, so I approached and asked who they were.
Or does it matter?
I have been talking to quite a few medical specialists lately and they all have one thing in common. They feel genuinely sad that people call themselves carers before anything else. They hear time and time again, “I’m a carer now you know” or “yes I’m a fulltime carer” or simply “I’m the carer.”
If we are caring for someone, what’s wrong with being called the carer? And why are the medics sad?
There is so much more
An older lady entered a new doctor’s office. Six months previously she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She was efficient and organised with her lists of medication, medical events during recent months and more …….. her CV.
She handed over the papers and the doctor looked shocked. He glanced at the CV whilst putting it to one side saying “I will look at this later, let’s talk about your medication”.
Lessons from a 100 year old Paperboy
Mr Walter Sharp is a 100 year old paperboy. His motto is “if you keep walking, you’ll keep living”.
Totally inspirational, but I began to think of other reasons why he is a surprisingly alert centenarian and what this means to the newsagent and newspaper who employ him.
What compels us to want to make people laugh?
It’s one thing saying something funny in the moment, but to deliberately write, rehearse and deliver material with the sole intention of making everyone listening roll in the aisles laughing conjures up a sticky web of fear and insecurities. At best, failure means stony silence, at worst … no it doesn’t bear thinking about. So who are the most likely people to succeed at standup?
These are some of the questions I asked myself when I took a major leap of faith and volunteered to do a 5 minute stand up routine in front of an audience of professional speakers.
The comedic line up consists of 21 people, 15 men and 6 women. Now there’s a clue. Is it gender specific? We don’t have to think very hard to note that stand up comedy is male dominated. So why?
Communication Can Be Tough
Recently I sat in a meeting with 6 other people. We were all adults of slightly different ages, both genders were represented and English was our first language.
Everyone had their say whilst all others listened. Sometimes it got a little heated, but in a healthy, clear the air sort of way. The chair of the meeting summarised each point and clarified understanding. We all left the meeting with transparent objectives, a few relevant tasks to complete and a feeling of satisfaction that it went so well.
A week later the chair spoke to one of the attendees on the phone. The call was interspersed with “you said blah”, “no I didn’t I said blah blah”, “no way, we all sat there and heard you say it”. The conversation abruptly ended and more phone calls followed with the other members who all claimed to have heard something different again. Objectives and tasks were abandoned and everyone was left in limbo.
How could this happen?