Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A New Star

Day 38 (Thursday 7th January 2016)
38 is often referred to as "Triple Prosperity" in Chinese culture.
Both the number "3" and "8" are viewed as auspicious - number 3 sounds similar
to the character for "birth" and number 8 resembles the word for "prosper" or "wealth".
Illustration - Chinese 3 coin earrings representing triple prosperity
Today's very personal and inspiring post is by Laura Codling an Organisational Development Business Partner at Torus, based in Manchester, UK. You can follow Laura on Twitter (her handle is @Laura_Torus). On graduating in HR Management and Accounting at Bolton, Laura commenced her HR career with the Police in Manchester, before transferring into a project management role in HR within Bolton Council's Adult Disability Services department. She left the public sector in 2008, moving into not-for-profit; she joined Helena Partnerships, developers and providers of affordable housing. She moved again last October to Torus (a new name within the affordable homes sector). Laura was born on Valetine's Day. She has a powerful moral compass and loves the challenges of working in an environment that stretches her and where she is helping make the world a better place. She has a passion for learning and a fascination with effecting positive change.


This blog, whilst a little self indulgent (its about my experiences after all!), is hopefully a timely reminder to all of us about appreciation and living in the present. You may read this and not be able to relate to what I'm saying, but I'd like to think that everyone can take away something, even if it only serves to remind you that you already cherish the events and people that are in your life.

When you strive for goals it's easy to forget that the journey holds its own experiences and memories and sometimes we forget to appreciate it along the way. It sounds like common sense doesn't it?

I've heard it said many times, but it's one of those things that usually only hits home when a life event stops you in your tracks and you reflect back. The benefits of hindsight are immense.

I have always been a bit of a perfectionist wanting everything to be "just so" with boxes ticked, I's dotted and T's crossed. I have always labelled it as being "determined and driven", but you can get to the point where you are so focussed on the goal that you forget to enjoy the journey and appreciate the experience of where you have been, where you are now and where you are going.

I'll give you an example.....When I finished work for maternity leave to have my first child I was really anxious about being off work - would things be done how I do them?; would the managers I supported get the support they expected.....? I actually worried about whether they would cope without me! (No seriously I did - this wasn't about me having an inflated sense of what I contribute, but about me needing to feel that I mattered.)

I didn't spend days at home waiting for her arrival wondering what was happening at work, but that is only because she arrived the day before I was due to finish work! I went from one busy existence to another in less than 24 hours and I soon realised that a shift in focus was a good thing for me on so many levels.....and, you know what? I didn't obsess about being off, and work didn't fall apart!

We can become so immersed in our own part of the world that perspective can become skewed and small things can become international disasters. I had been so focused up to that point on my career that I couldn't see outside of it, which is pretty sad to think when I look back now.

Still Life and Street, 1937, Escher's 1st print of distorted perspective
Now, after a few massive events in my life including another period of maternity leave, I have to say my outlook is very different, but this was probably the first time I stopped and thought long and hard about what really mattered to me.

Up until that point, if you'd asked me who inspired me in life I would probably have picked some pretty obvious names - Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson - but, not wanting to take anything away from what they have achieved in their careers, I've come to realise that inspiration can be found closer to home and people close to you can have a far more profound impact than someone that you may never meet.

Circle of Calm painting by Katie Berggren
My inspiration now comes from a small group of people far closer to home and one little girl in particular. Georgia is my niece and the bravest person I know. At 9 years old she has gone through more on this earth than any one of us will go through in our lifetimes, battling cancer for the last 4 years. She fought hard to beat the odds, always with a smile on her face, a sparkle in her eye and you would never hear her complain. She took every day as it came, faced unimaginable obstacles and appreciated everything and everyone around her.

I should also point out that I am in awe of her mum (my sister); Georgia was, and always will be, the centre of her world and she has worked tirelessly. She has bravery, care and resilience by the bucket load.

Our hearts have been broken, we said "au revoir" to our gorgeous Georgia a few days before Christmas, after her brave and courageous fight and we will be led by the bravest lady I know. I am proud to say I'm related to them both and, if I have even a fraction of the courage and resilience they have had, then I'm good.

I no longer focus ahead at the goal so much, yes the goals I have for my life are still there (very definitely adjusted from the goals of 5 or 6 years ago) but it's much more about the journey, the experiences and the people along the way.

Blazing a trail is great but missing out on seeing the events, experiences and people that have been part of creating it and appreciating the journey would be such a shame wouldn't it?

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