Sunday, September 19, 2010

Romance versus football

Someone I know is getting married next Saturday in Canberra, at 2.30pm.

The wedding clashes with the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne - serving up a challenge of priorities for many of the guests, no doubt.

Perhaps no one will struggle more with this than the minister who is officiating at the wedding of his long-term family friends. He is also Chaplain to the Collingwood football team.

I might be a hopeless romantic without a flicker of interest in football of any description (it's all I can do to pay attention during my own daughter's soccer matches), but even I can see the quandary here.

Start today

Often, when two priorities clash, we try to find a way to meet both expectations at least partially.

Sometimes, though, we're faced with what feels like an impossible choice. We simply can't be in two places at once, and must let someone down.

When this happens, it's a good idea to choose to be at the event you would later regret missing the most.

Once you've made your decision, throw yourself into being there 100%. Anything less, and you might as well have missed both occasions - which doesn't do justice to either.

Be a dream-maker

One of my best friends is leaving for a whirlwind tour of Europe late tonight.

She's been talking about this trip and pouring over travel brochures since we were fourteen years old. Travelling has been her dream all this time, but one thing or another always seemed to get in the way of turning this into reality.

Or did it? All the reasons not to go are still there: kids, money, hectic job. Instead of getting on that long-haul flight tonight, she could still be thinking about it wistfully.

What changed this year was her choice not to dream any longer but to take action, march into a travel agent and book a date. This happened months ago, with plenty of time to ask for leave, re-arrange her schedule, have her children cared for and save the money. Now, here she is - ticket in hand, world at her feet.

Start today

What are you still dreaming about, when you could be enjoying the reality?

Enjoy the feeling of getting out of the passenger's seat and into the driver's seat in your life.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Celebrating your quiet achievements

I was recently involved in the panel for some job interviews, and the final question asked applicants to describe a work achievement of which they are particularly proud.

The expected array of big, sparkling achievements was rolled out by various applicants. Some of them were quite impressive.

The answer that stood out, though, was a simple admission from a woman who became quite emotional when she said that she had reached a point in her career where she knows what she's doing. When people ask her for help, or when they need information, she instinctively knows the answer. It's a point that, earlier in the job when she was floundering in the role, she couldn't imagine herself ever reaching.

Start today

If we feel like we're getting nowhere, it's often because we're overlooking our little victories. We're so busy striving for flashy results, or comparing ourselves against other people's neon-lit milestones that we don't notice the small steps we're taking each day that add up over time to significant progress.

Big results don't always arrive wrapped in glamorous packages. Give credit to your 'quiet achievements'. If you're lucky, you'll develop a perspective like the woman we interviewed.

Incidentally, she got the job. So, having stepped up to the next level, she might start floundering again at first.

This time she knows she can hurdle it.