Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pre-jollyday mayhem!

I've noticed a strange and unnatural phenomenon...weeks, days, hours and minutes get shorter and speed up in direct correlation to the proximity of a vacation/holiday/jollyday.

It's really bizarre. Life can be zippin' along at a regular pace and all of a sudden 'Whoa Nelly!' the to-do list gets bigger (and more complex) the bi-partisan collaboration from family, friends and colleagues appears to get strained and things that are ordinarily easily accomplished take on a life of their own...and not in a good way.

Does this happen to you too, or is it just me?

I always like to leave my house clean and tidy for my return, this often means getting it to a far heightened state of cleanliness than I typically live in! Great logic Alison, those gleaming floors and faucets will be admired by precisely no one!

The garden too has to be virtually weed free, because as we all know, weeds instinctively know when you are traveling and grow much quicker in your absence! If i didn't get them all out before I go, they would probably invade the house while I'm away!

Work too seems to do funny things too, dormant projects spring to life, the calendar fills up fast with not a small micro-space between meetings and previously undemanding customers start getting cranky.

AND last but not least the social calendar which may have been a barren wasteland for weeks in advance gets on a real, breakfasts, lunches, cocktails, dinners just burst forth in an array of social frivolity worthy of a bygone age. It's incredible.

But you know what, I wouldn't trade pre-jollyday mayhem for anything, it's the thrill of the chase, the lure of 'lets just get one more thing accomplished' and the anticipation that at some fairly near time in the future when the boarding doors close and the portable electronic devices are turned off you can luxuriate in knowing that it's all done, what wasn't done will still be there when you get back, but for now just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Going with the FLOW

This statement doesn't have a good rap, going with the flow can sometimes be seen as acquiescence, not being able to make a choice or stand up for yourself.

But it has another meaning too

Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi (pronounced MEE-hy CHEEK-sent-ma-HY-ee!) is a Hungarian psychology professor who came up with another idea of flow, MEE-hy noticed that people are most happy when they are in a FLOW state - described as a state of concentration or complete absorption with whatever they are doing, where they are so involved with a particular activity that nothing else seems to matter very much.*

People describe FLOW state as being 'in the groove or the zone' and its a fabulous place to be. Time seems to fly by and you lose track of all normally scheduled activities such as eating or sleeping.

When are you in FLOW?

Today I had the great good fortune of watching JO in flow. JO is a process consultant with many years experience in IT and associated fields, his speciality is working with individuals and teams to help them better understand their processes and he is GREAT at it. JO's approach is very different from other facilitators and process consultants I've worked with in the past, because he almost disappears into the group he's facilitating and creates an environment where they are so relaxed and comfortable they can't help but engage. It was magical to watch.

After the session I spoke to JO about his experience facilitating the group and he told me he feels its similar to an athletic or musical performance. Wow! From my chair it certainly looked very masterful but at the same time effortless. I'm sure he was in a FLOW state.

This reminds me of the #1 question to determine how much you are using your unique talents at work "At work, do you get to do what you do best everyday?" unfortunately many people answer this question with a resounding no, and that's so sad.

Just imagine what work would be like, if just 10% of us were in a FLOW state more often, imagine the productivity, the breakthroughs, the innovation and the creativity that would ensue.

I'm here to say that going with the FLOW as described by my buddy MEE-hy is a good thing, and I hope we all get to spend some time there soon.

* If you want to read more about FLOW here's MEE-hy's book details...
Csikszentmihaly, Mihaly (1990) Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday morning

Monday Morning Poem

I was happy this morning when I woke up in bed,
Then realized it was Monday and I faced the day with dread, 
For somehow, whatever comes my way, my temper is displayed, 
Just mentioning 'it's Monday', my nerves, they become frayed.

The day will be just a ' write off', it's no good me trying to do
Any sort of reasonable job, things won't go right. It's true! 
It's like a 'cloud' which hangs around and never let's you be, 
Whatever I attempt to do, disaster follows me.

If I could sleep through Mondays, then that would be just bliss! 
Then Mondays wouldn't have happened, I'd have given them a miss! 

By Ernestine Northover

Poor Ernestine, Sorry but I don't share your hatred of Mondays, just think what opportunity today brings! more growth, more accomplishment, more learning, more fun and more...

sausage dogs!

Happy Monday Y'all!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Action Stations!

Early summer in Minnesota always makes me chuckle - not in a bad way you understand, but just because of the sheer energetic-ness of it all!

Yes we finally see signs of coming out of the no-doubt-too-long-and-cold winter, but more importantly than that just the speed that everything and everyone moves from lock down hibernation into full-on living mode!

I first noticed the phenomena in the garden, let me explain... In England where I come from we have 'rolling seasons' they gradually roll from one to another. Spring arrives gradually and stays for a while, daffodils, bluebells and tulips seem in no hurry to bloom, and when they do finally arrive they hang a round a while to be enjoyed!

By contrast in Minnesota as soon as the snow disappears all the little greenies just seem to hurl themselves out of the ground, they grow at an alarming rate and then poof! they're all over.

Lake life also starts moving faster, the water and the paths surrounding lakes seem to fill to capacity almost overnight, people increase their pace going from a gentle stroll with two or four legged friends to brisk paced, high octane working out no doubt trying to get in shape for summer clothes.

Then of course there are the graduation ceremonies, little peanuts graduate from kindergarden, high school students are finally done with school-school, and 'the learned' leave university to find there place in the world. It's all go!

Lastly the Friday afternoon exodus north 'to the cabin' on a lake begins. Folks plan ahead, leave work earlier in order to avoid the worst of the traffic and to spend more precious time with families and friends on the water. Only to reverse the whole process on Sunday evening to be back in time for work on Monday!

See what I mean? Minnesota summers are all action, don't take no for an answer, full on fun fests!

Yeah for the sheer energy and enthusiasm of Minnesotan summers!

Saturday, June 4, 2011