Monthly Archives: July 2010

Thought for this week

Roy Goodman said: “Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination”

We spend a lot of time, money and energy looking for “happiness”, seeking fulfilment, filling the gap and hunting for our souls. We often wonder “when” we will find it, what is stopping us from being fulfilled and happy. I used to do that too – still do sometimes when I take my eye off the ball.

But I have realised over the years that right now is happy, the satisfaction of being here, wherever that is, the fulfillment of knowing the people I know and doing the things that I do. Well, not all of the things I do and perhaps not all of the people I know……….but you get the picture! Even having to do and know things and people who bring sadness or frustration is fulfilling – how would we know we were happy if we didn’t recognise sadness?

In the middle of a rather heated conversation with an unpleasant neighbour over the weekend (his garden crap is breaking my lovely 150 year old wall and I have been waiting a year for him to move his rubbish – I am truly a saint…) it was all a little tense and irritated and had got to the stage when my words came out as if a ventriloquist was standing behind me uttering them for me, you know the kind of thing, grimace on face, lips set in a line, very very carefully spoken words………………….and I suddenly noticed the amazing way the light was hitting the old tree in my garden – it was dusk and the Orangina sunlight was full on the side of the tree and seemed to be lodged in the rough bark, wedged in by the force of nature and dribbling into the cracks and creases. Fabulous. How could I be cross with that sight in front of me? I had better things to do than row with a sour man who didn’t give a damn – I had a picture to paint and a sunset to watch.

So I hope you travel in the way of happiness and don’t wait until you might find it. We don’t know what is along the road and in looking too far ahead we might miss the beauty under our feet.

PS – the sour guy gets the solicitors letter next week. Better outcome than arguing!!!

What we can learn from Cats………

I stood on my cat this morning. Not as a hobby or for fun, you understand, it wasn’t on my To Do list (…brush teeth, make toast, stand on cat…), but because my cat had for some feline reason decided to sleep on the pedestal mat in my bathroom, for the first time ever, and it is dark when I get up. It was an interesting experience for both of us………..there was an instant in which we both held our breath and our silence before the joint yelling and the tearing sounds (that would have been my flesh being scythed out of the way so that the cat could leave the bathroom) woke the people sleeping in the country adjacent to ours.

Cats have much to teach us, especially about managing. Have you tried to manage a cat? Managing dogs, piece of cake. You can make entire teams of dogs pull sleds and beg for food. You can’t make a cat walk in a straight line if it chooses not to. One of my cats was in serious need of a vet – for his own good, mind you – a few years ago. To get him there we had to wrap him in a towel like a Mummy -well, two towels as he soon slashed his way partially through the fabric. The vet was a large, confident and cheerful soul with hands like shovels and I almost felt sorry for him when he told us it would be ok and just to let Thomas out of the towels, he would handle him – despite our protests.  Thomas opened a wound on the vet from ear to elbow and did a wall of death stunt around the walls of the room for at least five minutes, ears flat, eyes wide and black, before collapsing, exhausted, as indeed we all were, onto the table with a “whump” as he landed. We moved soon after that………

I have managed some fabulous people, really bright, determined, intuitive and caring people. I have also managed some horrors: lazy, shiftless, unpleasant  and lacking in the basics such as courtesy, insight  and a personality. Some people are, despite all the management skills and techniques in the world, impossible to manage unless it is to manage them out. One of the greatest tricks to learn, as a manager, is to know when you are defeated. Give it your best shot, have a plan, a timescale, aims and objectives, a sunny exterior while you die inside each time this persons fizzog hoves into view, a secret desire to invite this person on a day trip to Calais and push them into the English Channel, and of course a Plan B. Plan B will usually be the pathway to waving this person goodbye, the options having been manfully and womanfully tried, but receding and failing.   It is kinder in the long run – they are clearly in the wrong job (no, it isn’t you) and a menace to the team, the organisation, and your sanity.

Good luck with managing your Horrors. Remember – execution is the last resort, getting the paperwork right is the best option.

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