I was swimming in the Mediterranean and the water temperature was perfect when suddenly I spotted what looked like a little cluster of brown blobs floating towards me. I immediately thought that some unscrupulous hoteliers must have dumped their sewage into the sea. I ran out of the water and told the people on the sunbeds around me what had happened and what I thought it was.
They laughed and explained that it was just stones floating on the water. The lava from Stromboli’s volcano turns into small, lightweight stones that float on the surface of the sea. I picked one up and was surprised not only by its texture but also by my own initial judgement.
Without the knowledge of my fellow sunbed users, I would have remained ignorant. At the end of my holiday, I left with two important lessons – stones can float and when in doubt, ask.
What about you? Do you stick with your first impressions or do you ask for more information?
At networking events, I’ve always been very efficient. Glance at the badge, quick hello, introduce ourselves, brief question – answer session and then, system failure – how do you end the discussion to go and talk to other people?
It’s embarrassing for both parties. Do you say that you have another meeting? Do you laugh and say you really need a coffee?
And then one day I simply thanked the person for the conversation, shook their hand warmly and said that I hoped to meet them again.
It was unusual, that’s for sure! But was it difficult? No.
In fact, the other person was relieved and grateful that I took the initiative to end the conversation.
What about you? What could you think of as unusual rather than difficult?
Here is an exercise that we did at a conference:
On a board, write seven questions that you’ll then answer every day. For greater effect, arrange for someone to call you each day to ask you the seven questions. Here are the questions that you can adapt as required.
Have I done my best to:
-set clear objectives
-be a friend
-build positive relationships
-be completely committed?
Every day you simply answer yes or no and look at the trend at the end of each week.
Clever, eh? That’s the whole point of the outside call. The other person isn’t judging you, but just making sure all the questions are asked.
So, do you already think you know which issues need more attention?
The actor Jim Carey explained to a group of American university students that our choices are always motivated by either fear or love.
His father wanted to be an actor but was afraid that he wouldn’t make a living from it, so he became an accountant and was made redundant after a few years.
Even the choices that we make out of fear have an element of risk. So we might as well choose to do something we enjoy. At least we will have a good time doing it!
What about you? Are you doing what you enjoy or are you listening to your fears?
According to Eckhard Tollé, life gives you the experience that you most need to help you grow.
In other words, the life that you are living right now is perhaps not the one you dreamed of, not the most thrilling life, but it is unquestionably the one that you most need to be able to progress.
Your partner has left you? Your child has run away? You’ve put on 10 kilos?
What are you going to do about it? You’ve got two choices – you can either choose to be a victim or accept that life is teaching you something.
We don’t progress despite life’s difficulties. We progress thanks to them.
Just as we don’t climb the stairs because of the steps but thanks to them.
Obstacles are steps that enable us to climb.
What about you? What obstacle can become a step if you change the way you see it?