Monday, July 28, 2008

Post-Vacation Crunch

I told myself, and my newsletter readers, that I was going to take it easy in July. After all, I missed the first week due to my vacation (I know, boo hoo, poor me). The post-vacation situation is that there are piles of things at work, piles of things at home, phone calls to be made to catch up, endless laundry, restocking the larder, getting the doctor appointments caught up before school starts, etc. And there are also the usual things I do and enjoy doing.

Yet, there’s a little nagging voice in my head. Why haven’t you blogged? You’ve had ideas. You’ve written them down. What’s the holdup? And what about that newsletter? When do you think you’re going to get to that? You should be working on it now. What’ve you been doing with all your time?

Then I go through the list of things I’ve been doing with my time. They all seem legit. It’s not like I’m spending long hours contemplating my navel. And what if I were? What would be wrong with that?

So now I’m telling myself that I’ll get to things when I get to them. Like right now, I had planned (notice I didn’t give it a should) to be working on something else. But the mood was right to work on this and the something else will surely wait. It’s not do or die. Not too many things are, are they?

So I’m telling the little nagging voice: Give it a rest. Things will get done in their own time. There’s no real rush. Life will go on whether I pay my bills today or three days from now. I’d rather catch up with a friend than get to that work quicker. If someone needs the work they’ll ask for it and I’ll do it. No biggie. I’m going to take three deep breaths and go to my happy place; why don’t you try to do the same you nag?

I know this self-talk strategy only works for a while and then the nagging voice needs to hear my kinder, gentler version of SHUT UP! again. But that’s fine. Some things require a great deal of repetition for mastery.

And when I’m ready to embark on a new project, I’ll put on a little Black Eyed Peas…Let’s get it started. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my post-vacation calm.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Favorite Mistake

My most recent newsletter focused on self-forgiveness. How do we forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made? The biggest reaction was about the nature of the mistakes I referenced. People were adamant about which were big and which were silly. For some, the stock market misses were the biggies. For others, market decisions paled in comparison to life choices like having kids or marrying. I included dieting choices because I work with so many people for whom these choices have the do or die feel. I know for others the career missteps are the most painful.

There’s a concept I’ve been recently taken with: inattentional blindness. It’s the notion that unless we’re specifically attending to something, we can be totally blind to it, even when it’s before our very eyes. The most amusing experiment is about the students who miss the person in the gorilla suit while attending to how many basketball passes six students make to one another in a video clip.

So, the takeaway? It’s easy to miss the obvious. What’s your favorite mistake?

And there's always Sheryl Crow's My Favorite Mistake.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Had a Great Time, Wish You Were There

Return from vacation seems like it warrants a blog entry. I'm not charmed when people dominate a conversation talking about the trip they recently took. It's like the old days when Uncle John would force everyone of all ages to watch his slides of the family trip to Miami Beach. But surely there are some good takeaways from a two-week vacation (aside from souvenirs and memories). My list, in no particular order:
  • Bring entertainment for the moments you just want to veg or are stuck on a plane or the like...did I see a lot of Sudoku books.
  • Be busy enough to be tired. After all, you came all that way, right? See it all. Do it all. You can sleep when you get home.
  • Every time you want to complain, go over your list of positive self-statements: don't sweat the small stuff; you can't control everything; nothing's perfect.
  • Try new stuff. Eat food you don't usually eat. Talk to people you wouldn't normally bother with.
  • Don't allow yourself to be consumed with what you've left behind. Forget the email. Don't call home daily.
  • Don't worry about buying things. This includes not worrying about getting the "right" gifts for everyone. And don't perseverate about souvenirs. After all, you're not going to forget you went to Venice, right?

Have as much fun as you can. Because, when you get home, it's back to the usual, whatever that may be and however much you may enjoy it. Ciao.