Simple tools for life's little challenges
I thought that it would be great if I could create a source of information where everyone can get some useful, helpful and more importantly easy tools and tips for every day dilemmas.
...A bit like having a swiss army knife, but with an attachment for being a bit happier, keeping myself chirpy in the face of grimness and not getting ground down by disappointment.
I help run a children’s theatre charity in Blackpool (www.classactarts.co.uk) and we are just about to open a performance of WONKA, our version of the musical, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
We had our first technical rehearsal on Saturday, which was a very long and tiring process, but helped me see, first hand, something truly remarkable.
During the rehearsal I saw our young performers deliver an almost perfect production of a complex and difficult musical theatre play. This got me a little bit misty eyed as I always get a little emotional when I see people do amazing things, especially those things that are outside their familiarity zone.
Three months ago we cast the show and after the initial “Yay!! I have a good part” rush, the lead characters, almost without exception, have all approached me with worries about their ability to pull the show off.
And yet. Here they all are, just about word perfect and actually starting to have fun with something that terrified them a few short weeks ago.
You would think a miracle had happened. And it has…kinda. They have worked hard to grow and do something new, something they had never done before.
And this got me to thinking.
It would be very useful for them to see the process they have taken to get them from where they were to where they are now.
As children, they constantly live right in the moment, swamped by information and will have to be helped to take time to stop, relax and look back over the last three months and appreciate just how they have grown and what they have done.
Then I realised that we never really grow out of that and we all need encouragement to stop and reflect about what we have enjoyed, how we have grown and how that makes us feel.
So, thinking about the last week or so:
What have you done that you have really enjoyed?
What made it fun?
What have you learned?
How can you use what you have learned going into the future?
And lastly…when would be a good time to ask yourselves this question again? (put this time in your diary J)
Yesterday, I was walking through the park on my way into town and was enjoying feeling the warm summer sun on my back.
When I walked past the duck pond, full of birds being pelted with bread by toddlers, I remembered how it had been frozen solid under an inch of ice for nearly a month during the recent, particularly frigid, winter. Noticing this difference has made me consider the all changes that have happened in the park since Christmas.
I live in a northern English town with an industrial heritage and like most post industrial northern towns our Victorian municipal parks are filled to the brim with shrubbery and other plants brought back as souvenirs and curiosities from the remotest corners of the now extinct British Empire.
And it was the Rhododendrons that really sparked my imagination.
In January my local council performed a particularly brutal pruning of the shrubbery in the park, in particular the rhododendrons, which were left as mere stumps in a lot of cases, cut back as far as possible without killing them.
And now every single rhododendron I looked at, as I walked through the park, in the sunshine, was now covered in a huge new growth of leaves.
And that’s when it struck me.
Since the moment that the pruning back was finished, those plants had been putting everything they had into making new leaves and preparing to burst into flower as soon as possible.
During the night, it was growing, in the cold days of the end of winter, it was growing.
Tiny bit, by tiny bit, they build, looking for the first inkling that the conditions were right to send new shoots out and then acting on those conditions as soon as possible.
The flowers that explode in a riot of colour and fragrance in summer are made and prepared throughout the cold and dark days of winter.
No complaining and no worrying, just doing a little bit at a time, all the time.
What is it that you are trying to do and what tiny thing can you do, right now, to get you closer to the outcome you want?
Danielle LaPorte at www.whitehottruth.com sent her consistently useful newsletter outlining the idea that self doubt is perfectly natural, no matter how prepared you are.
Even more than this, our doubts help us by making us review what we are about to do (sometimes for the 20th time!) and check whether we have prepared enough to do a great job or get us what we want.
So…if you are feeling doubt about something at the moment, it might help to ask yourself, what it is exactly that you are worried about.
Write everything that comes to mind down. This really helps to stop things whirling around and clear your head.
And then, ask what action you need to make each of those concerns go away. Then, take all of the actions you can.
Try it. I promise you will feel better.
Let me know how you get on.