December 9, 2021

Sometimes Life Delightfully Surprises Us!

We watched as one of our grandchildren was caught on camera.
Throwing a wobbly.
Having a moment.
Exploding in Terrible Twos tiny tumultuous tantrum.

We laughed long and loud, not just because we recognised his mother at the same age.
But because we recognised most of us at any age!

In such difficult years as this, we do throw the odd tantrum of frustration, don’t we?

Meanwhile, if it all isn’t going terribly, painfully wrong in reality (and most of us have experienced such pain this year).
Well, we play plenty of scary videos in our head of how terrible things are likely to be.

Clients will abandon us.
Technology will unravel.
Economies will collapse.
Our team will rebel against the changes.
And someone just said the sky will fall in.

So, before I trot off into the Winter Sunset for a much-needed Christmas…
I’d love to share with you three lessons this year has taught me.

Firstly, I’ve looked for people and situations that have made me laugh.
You see, our family has experienced a few tough, heart-breaking moments of our own in recent months.

And our antidote has been to seek out friends and colleagues who share our sense of the ridiculous.
I’ve had belly-splitting conversations with clients.
Conversations where we could hardly breathe.
Conversations where we couldn’t remember what we were supposed to be talking about!

Then there’s my friend Chris.

Our wives try not to leave us alone together.
Because they always find us about to have a serious accident in our giggling and gasping for air. Any sensible discussion has gone right out of the window.

Last week we were talking about the pain of seeing those we love in care homes.
Then Chris said,
“Do you think we’re already in a Care Home, and just haven’t realised it yet?”

I think I was still laughing in my sleep that night.

Then, I’ve (re)learned the value of play.

Our lives can be so terribly, grimly serious, can’t they?
Responsibilities, politics, viruses and economies combine and crush our spirit.

The child who built trains and castles and Tardis’s with cardboard boxes seems to have been squeezed out of us.
Along with the wonder and inventiveness and discovery that goes with those creations.

Wendy and I were persuaded to try out an Escape Room in November.
“Do I really wanna do this?” I quietly thought, in my sophisticated wisdom.

After an hour of shouting and scrabbling and calculating and discovering and screaming and high-fiving and dancing and hoorah’ing, our youngest daughter said,
“I don’t think we’ve ever worked in such harmony!”

(There’s a reason why companies gather teams together to play games.)

I’m now determined to make playing a bigger part of our family and our business.
Because few team members can sparkle in a culture devoid of joy!

Finally, I’ve learned, once more, to treasure space and time to think.

When my nerves are a-jangling and I’m, apparently, too intense with the weighty matters of business…
My family have learned to banish me to the great outdoors.
(Well, often, to my garden)

“Look at him. Happy as a pig in muck!” I hear them say.
And I become so. Very quickly.
On both counts.

The human mind might make rapid decisions under pressure.
But it makes far wiser decisions when it has had space and time to think.

“Let’s Sleep on It.” Represents millennia of wisdom.

Some of the smartest business leaders I know carve out, literally, days of Thinking Time. That’s one of the reasons they’re so smart.

There you have it!
Doesn’t seem much does it?
Just three bits of wisdom at the end of 365 days of hard experience?

Space to Think.

Yet, I commend them to you.

Come back this time next year…And tell me that they haven’t made a measurable difference to your life.
And to your business.

I dare you.

(PS: Yep. This is the last Thinking Bench of 2021.
I’ll be back on Friday 7th January 2022.

Meanwhile, may Peace and Hope descend upon your home during this Christmas Season)