You can maybe picture the scene: I'm standing in a big cupboard in someone else's house about two feet off the floor, with one foot on a rather shoogly dehumidifier and the other sandal braced against the wall behind me. I've already tried grabbing a bar near the ceiling for some extra support but found it to be merely lying on the top shelf and not actually connected to anything. I'm trying to remove the lightbulb in order to fill the gap in the light fitting in my bedroom-for-the-week. With one hand I grasp the fitting; not too hard because I would hate to wrench the wiring out of the ceiling. My right hand reaches for the bulb - its a curly one and hard to grasp delicately. I struggle to twist it out. Maybe its not a bayonet, so I try to unscrew it. Its hard to tell which fitting it is and so I keep experimenting in the dark. Until I squeeze too hard, smash the bulb, cut my finger, and fall down with one foot landing in a box of soap powder. This wasn't the plan!
Was I trying to do a job i was unsuited for - did I need more slender fingers or a more delicate touch? Should I have put in more planning, got a stool and a torch to get close and see what the problem was? Maybe I could have found an unemployed bulb elsewhere. I'm guessing as you read this you may well be thinking about which different line you would have taken. Is there a best way - possibly. Probably. But there might be several best ways depending on who we are an what suits us best; in the same way that there is not one cure-all midge repellent because different concoctions work for differently smelling people, so too there is more than one way to skin a cat or remove a bulb.
Next time I will pick my method a little more carefully to suit the skills and strengths that I have!
I'm on the road again today but actually I'm going to write about going home. When I got home last Friday, the first thing I did was to go and look at my chilli plants. After every trip this year, I go in, drop my bags and check my chillis. There's a child-like excitement at seeing things grow, magnified particularly at the moment because its something to eat - I haven't grown things to eat since I was about 10 years old.
It made me consider my attitude to other things and realised that stuff growing is actually part of my value system - I have always been keen on 'learning' but maybe I ought to broaden that word in my thinking to 'growing'. I have always loved learning, gaining new knowledge, knowing more facts. This translates into a lot of the work I do where teaching has been integral.
However as I look at how excited I have been at being able to do new things - not learning as such but definitely growing - I have realised that growth is key for me. From simple steps like being able to drum and sing at the same time now where I couldn't a year ago, to developing and using new NLP concepts in my coaching work, I get a real buzz from getting better and developing, in any direction at all.
Last week, I was working with a group of young people from Orkney and the week's highlight for me was easily the moment when one of the girls talked about how abseiling had boosted her confidence and she had learnt what she was capable of. You hear it in her louder voice and see it in the way she held her head up - like she had almost literally grown in a physical sense.
So, some questions, that actually link back to my last post:
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Nick has been writing for mass consumption ever since he was sending newsletters home from the Philippines 20+ years ago. He has carried on putting finger to keyboard, branching out into magazines, manuals and recently submitting lots of words for books. He has always aimed to be entertaining but at the same time challenging. If you like something, feel free to pass it on to someone else, but if you are challenged by it then even better - write a comment, start a debate, add to the fun.