How much time do you waste worrying about nothing?

Maybe I am different, maybe it’s just the way my mind works or maybe everyone is like me but they manage to hide it better. In my career as a Regional Creative Director and other management positions much of my time has been spent helping individuals through the process of their daily challenges with a particular project or task. Often the work related issues we started with seemed to always drift away from the project and I found myself delving into the minds of people, with the strange feeling of my role becoming one of a psychiatrist.

A lack of confidence, problems not even related to the job at hand like bills to pay or trouble at home or even insecurities from people that exuded self-confidence on the outside, but seemed to be an outer shell as fragile as an egg. I always enjoyed encouraging, helping or offering advice but one of the topics I have heard myself say more than most others is ‘what is the point of worrying about it now?’

Every time I said this statement I could almost hear the person inside me screaming, ‘If only you would listen to yourself!’ because I have and still do spend a lot of time worrying about the next presentation, the next bill, the thought there will be a crowd at the restaurant, museum or bar we are visiting. In fact my mind seems to go into overdrive about everything regardless of the size of the task that lies ahead of me.

I know I overthink pretty much everything; this is just the person I am, and that is half the battle. I over analyse every conversation and can spend days after a discussion that I have had with one person, going over every word and trying to understand if there were more meaning that I had misinterpreted or there was a hidden message in what that person said. Don’t get me started about the complexity of thoughts that happen when reviewing emails! Emails are so often misunderstood due to the lack of awareness you have about the tone of the individual writing and also the current mood you are in when receiving the email.

I know I am not alone in this, as I have seen this so often throughout my career with people who were incredibly talented and seemed to be in total control. But how many times have you spent worrying about a presentation, meeting, task, project or whatever only to get to the point of it happening and it not being such a big deal? The amount of stress and worry that we put ourselves under is amazing and clearly not healthy.

The only way I have found to deal with worrying about every little detail is to push myself into more challenging positions well as adding as much work to my schedule as I can possibly handle, so my mind stays focused on the next task at hand and doesn’t go walk about in Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of nightmarish thoughts about what could go wrong!

I know how destructive this can be as well as how this manifests into all areas of my life. Worrying about something doesn’t make it easier and certainly doesn’t help you think clearly about what lies ahead of you, it really is just a waste of time. I’ll try to keep that in mind!

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In our darkest moments we are the strength that lights our path

We have all faced down the demons of a certain situation in our lives. Whether those moments were personal, financial, professional, abuse or any other terrible incident that scars our soul. When we think back to that moment it all feels so real, shocking and sickening that we sense a closeness through the fabric of time and space that links you to that event, or like most people events. But to grow you must visit these places every now and again.

It is within these moments of your life, as harsh as they may be, we find out the real person we are. An inner strength that, for the most part of the day, seems as distant as you have now made some of these events in your mind. It is not the pain that I am saying you should focus on, that would just be counter productive. The moment I mean you to focus on is that moment just afterwards, when the tears stopped, the pain eased and we looked at the road ahead with a fire burning inside desperate to rise again from whatever heel you were in. It is that moment that is the real you, the one that can and did pull you through anything.

It is in those moments, however brief, do we have so much clarity in what we want, what we can do and what we will do, it is an enlightened moment that if you were to look from the outside of yourself would see a human being ready to take on anything. Look where you are now. No matter how successful or poorly you believe your current situation is, you know that you have faced worse moments and overcome them. And when you look back at that moment you see a different person, one that was not ready for the challenges you face today. I am a firm believer that everything you have gone through has given you the tools to overcome any obstacle that is in your path today, or in the future. All you have to do is believe in yourself, just as you did before.

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

Has anything you have ever achieved in life been easy? Did you have to work, learn and sweat to make it happen? If not you are very lucky and I salute you. But if you are like most of us anything worth doing in life comes with real dedication and passion. Will it be easy, probably not. The path ahead will be full of twists and turns, potholes and dead ends. But once you reach your destination you will realize that every single bump and stumble you faced was all part and parcel of becoming the person you now are, A different person who grew without you even noticing, a person who looks at the world differently and who values the journey now more than the destination.

If you take a look over your shoulder and see the path you have taken until now you will notice many things. Life moments that defined who you are today, walls of which when you were on the other side seemed like mountains that couldn’t be climbed, but you did and you even broke through a few of them once you gained momentum. Every single one of those moments were hard and took every ounce of the person you are to overcome, but the important thing is you did overcome them and that is what you must take with you on the next part of your journey.

A new year spreads out before you. You know how quickly time passes so where do you see yourself this time next year? Do you see a year that you continued to worry about the ‘what if’s?’ Or, was it a year that you took your life by the scruff of the neck and said this will be my year, this will be the year I change my life, this will be the year that even if the destination I want to reach is beyond my current capabilities I will start moving one step at a time, because nothing worth doing is easy and nothing anyone ever accomplished was ever achieved without the decision to try. Happy New Year, I hope it is one you look back on with a smile.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

When something changes in our life our initial reaction is always to be sad that something is over. No matter how inevitable the change is we still often resist it. I guess it is human nature to focus on what is no longer there. But I try, sometimes not successfully, to look at every end as a new beginning, a new chapter in life that has the opportunity to bring a new experience, a new challenge and a new growth in my understanding to the world I am blessed to be part of.

The Dr Seuss quote is something I came across whilst sitting with my two children and one of them was reading a book they had brought home from school. Somethings in our life are so obvious that yet we often overlook them. I think this is a wonderful way to look at the world as we always should be grateful for any experience we face. Taking the good with the bad whilst being able to smile through it truly defines the people we are. We have the potential to be happy if we focus on the good things, the experiences that shape our destiny, even if at the time the path ahead is not clear.

I have often looked back at some of the most difficult and trying moments in my life, only to realize that they were the moments that really helped me grow as a person, helped me open my eyes to the bigger picture and ultimately helped me appreciate what I have in my life. I would be the first one to say that it not always easy to see the positive in everything in life, but by trying a little more each day to do so, our world can only get brighter.

There is no mountain you cannot climb

Throughout life problems will surely stand in your path. Some will be expected life challenges that we must all face, pivotal coming of age moments that are natural. Then there are the challenges that we face alone, without warning, blocking your life without mercy or compassion. These moments could be health, financial or personal; but each can be as daunting as standing at the base of Mount Everest and the thought of even attempting the climb causes nausea and a sense of defeat.

But like any challenge, it is placed in our path for a reason. Not every challenge in our life we are meant to survive, defeat or win. Every challenge will show you more things about you than any person telling you. We discover that we are indeed capable of things we have shied away from believing we couldn’t do something. In our deepest, darkest moments we have often surprised ourselves that we have overcome things that initially looked to crush us, wiping us off the very face of the earth. But we survived.

Not only did we survive but we often found ourselves on top of the mountain looking down in wonder, did I really do that? I do not recall every step that I made but here I am. If you look down at the bottom of the mountain, back in time, you can see a scared and fragile human being staring at the colossus ahead ready to give up. But looking down, you realize that the entire mountain was not the real struggle, difficult yes, but not impossible. The hardest moment of the entire journey was not the rugged rocks, the scary winds or the lonely moments or darkened days; In fact the hardest point of all was that first step forward. The first step is always the hardest, but once you decide to move forward, once you decide not to stand and die at the foot of the mountain, you are already half way up the mountain.

Don’t survive, Live!

There was a time in the evolution of the human race when survival was the only thing that mattered. A time when we never what the next day would bring, for our race, not us as individuals. We all know this is true yet often these survival instincts take over and we find ourselves on automatic pilot, just coasting through the days, one after the other. Unfortunately it often takes a major incident to shake us out of this. A disaster like New Zealand or Japan has faced recently, the current strife in the Middle East or a missing girl in my home-town at the moment just puts things into perspective.

I am extremely grateful for everything I have, for my family being safe and my friends being well. But I am sure we are not only meant to survive in this life. We are put here with all this opportunity, all these resources of a mind and spirit at our disposal to move forward. Do we really need to know where the journey will end? Do we need to understand every aspect of our world before we move on? Nothing in our world can ever be perfect, everything in the right place or everyone happy, it’s the universal law. So do the things that are a curiosity to you, do the things you thing you would enjoy. Stop just surviving and go out there and live, the world isn’t waiting but will welcome you with open arms.

You will not stay lost forever

If I lose my way around the next corner, it will not be a disaster as I have previously thought. No, in fact it will be the greatest thing that can happen to me, as experience has shown me through the years.

We walk along a path we know, seeing all the same old things and sharing the same conversations, some call it a rut but for me it is just a normal passage of life that has us so focused on our responsibilities that we have an in built auto pilot that kicks in to keep moving us forward.

So get lost, literally lose yourself in this world. When we are lost, or to be more precise in different situations to our normal routine, we really discover who we are, we come alive with every synapse firing at incredible speeds. Don’t worry you will not stay lost forever, as everything in our life is about balance and cycles.

But the person you were before losing your way will be only a distant memory, for the one who emerges will have their eyes wider, heart filled and spirit charged with all the expectancy that life can take away when we do not take a leap into the unknown.

It may be dark now. But once you arrive, you will light up the world like a shooting star.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

With a passion for everything to do with art, I often find myself lost in a maze of inspiration where I do not know which route to take. Should I write, draw, paint, photograph, sculpt or anything else that is racing around my mind to do. I would genuinely love to do everything but unfortunately time doesn’t permit when you have other commitments. But this is not an excuse. It is no excuse not to be doing one thing at least as just because you could do everything, it doesn’t mean you should.

What I try to do know is focus my attention and energy on one thing and I am constantly surprised with what I accomplish in a given amount of time. I realized that I needed to stop imagining doing everything and start actually doing something, regardless what it is. I have found I now do more of the things I love and no longer procrastinate just because my options are plentiful. Have a creative day.