Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The love I lost

I've just had one of those days. One of those with complete doubt for myself and my capabilities. I suppose I'm quite glad that I'm not in denial of one of my biggest weaknesses - self doubt at certain times. On the surface, I seem to ooze a certain air of assuredness, bordering on cockiness at times. And yet it's all too easy to expose my Achilles heel - speaking in public. It's not even necessarily 'public speaking', per se - talking in meetings, talking on the phone at work and, of course, presentations. Yes, it's definitely more common than you think but you can't tell me that when my throat is doing 'the strangle' and the palms start to sweat.

Thinking about it, I can think of a variety of times over the years that it's manifested itself - the end of year presentation at university, the knocking knees syndrome at junior school when standing in front of the school, a specific job interview (though I actually got the job). But thinking some more, it's also amazing how many times I've performed amazingly, and ultimately in the context of 'fun' rather than 'work' it often is a performance. That has given me something to chew on - I've done it before so I can do it again and again. I already have the formula, the experiences and the tools and all I have to do is be disciplined enough to apply them. Being more consistently in the right zone, with a dash of relaxation and a bit of self love thrown back in, that should do the trick. A bit more of doing what you know rather than just knowing what to do.

This blog entry is a bit of a stream of consciousness one today but I'm feeling better already. I'm glad I got it off my chest.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Ball of confusion

Back on the World Cup tip, I was having a thought about the ball they're using.

What I find quite interesting is just how many players from the various teams competing seem to really hate the weight/flight/design of the ball. Quite a number of people think it's no good. But not Adidas. No, they say the ball is perfectly fine. The best ball ever - etc etc etc. I can't say that I've ever reached a pinnacle much beyond 'jumpers for goalposts' in the local park, but from the way I see it if the people it’s intended for say the product is rubbish then, well, it must be rubbish, whatever the maker would like to suggest.

Obviously, from a commercial perspective they'd never admit that they got it a bit wrong. But in a world where it's always good to see people accept when they've obviously made a mistake, it's just a shame when they choose to try to convince us otherwise.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

I'm so excited

Every four years Planet Football completes a full rotation on its axis. Yes, it's the football (or soccer, if you will) World Cup! Along with winning an Olympic gold, one of my earliest ever dreams in life was to play international football and win on the biggest stage possible. Well, I guess Usain Bolt has got the next Olympics covered so I guess that leaves me with the footie....

Actually, having taken thousands of turns in life that took me away from being anywhere close to achieving that goal, I look forward to watching from an armchair or in a pub those guys that had always dreamed about playing in the tournament and had now reached the highest of the high in their sport. In sporting terms, I'm way too long in the tooth to even take up competitive tiddly winks but such sporting occasions still touch me at the deepest level. It doesn't matter what sport, really. I've seen 300lbs grown men cry as they show off their Super Bowl rings, having achieved something that their 10,000 plus hours of hard dedication had taken them to. Brilliant.

And as I watch England gloriously win/lose/draw perched as I am in a faraway land, I'll also know that as one of the two gold-standard true global sporting events, peoples and nations everywhere will be crying, cheering and tutting together as a family. I just love it. It's what dreams are made of.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Move on up

Back in the day I tried to be an incredibly responsible individual at university and signed up for a computing course to accompany my main course of study. An ‘Introduction to Computing’ course, to be more precise. Now this was in an era when simply turning on a computer and actually getting it to do anything for you really was a science. I figured back then that this computing lark might be quite a useful tool to have in the future. As it turned out, this was my supplementary course in my first term of my first year at university, and quite frankly Tuesday morning lectures after a very late night at the regular student night at the Black Orchid nightclub really didn't go hand in hand. And because I’d often miss the Tuesdays, I figured the Thursdays weren’t really worth attending either. Somehow I managed to bumble my way through the coursework, thanks to my friend Fiona who for some reason was far more reliable than myself. And, of course, my very generous tutor passed me with 40% - the pass mark was 40% and I took note of the polite inference.

It’s amazing where we are now, some 20-odd years on from those less techno days. One irony in all of this was that had I not done that course I might have done something that I genuinely had an interest in - Art History, for example; something by its nature wouldn’t have changed a whole heap to this day. And looking back, I wish I’d done something like that, something I’d actually liked rather than signed up for something that I thought I ought to do. Okay, I was young and little did I know that everyone would be walking and talking down the street with a computer in their hands all these years down the line. But, intrinsically, the field was never my bag. Hopefully, these days I’m learning to be a bit more true to myself.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Smoke gets in your eyes

I recently finished a part-time Executive Diploma in Corporate Coaching. As you may be able to tell from my blog, I've always had an interest in transformational thinking and personal advancement so I figured that a 5-month course telling me more about life coaching and the ilk would be money well spent. And indeed it was. Since completion I've done a few coaching sessions with friends, trying out some of the techniques that I took on board and ultimately with one eye on doing it as a part-time venture and, eventually, something to do in retirement (which, truth be told, is a long, long way away but still useful skills to have in reserve).

Anyway, one approach that I continue to use on the people I'm coaching, as well as myself in everyday life, is "zooming out". In a nutshell, it's all about getting some perspective on the stuff, the noise, the fog that seems to be grinding you down or you see is your main issue. It's all about taking a step back and getting some perspective, rather than getting into the nitty-gritty detail of the "he said, she said" storyline. By zooming out, I've been able to often get a much clearer picture about what's really going on. You step away from the blame game and the excuses, blow the smoke away what's just obscuring your vision and basically see your reality in a clearer manner.