I hope you all had a relaxing and rewarding Christmas. I enjoyed being “off air” for a few days, away from the internet and email. Having said that, I actually had to work briefly on Christmas Day. I’ve worked Christmas before in previous roles but didn’t think I would be required as a coach on Christmas Day. However, an old client texted me and asked if I had a few minutes. I was minded to ignore it but felt that she wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t urgent. I was glad I called back, her mother had died following an aneurism. It wasn’t an unexpected death in that her mother had been unwell but coming on Christmas morning it was a nasty shock not least because the expectation had been for a joyful family gathering and suddenly everyone was having to scramble to change state. My client was at a loss to know what to do. With normal services closed she was having trouble registering the death and doing all the little things required. As we spoke she was sat in a hospital corridor awaiting the arrival of her brother, feeling helpless and paralysed by her inability to get the death recorded officially (she is very detail orientated and the paperwork would have helped soothe her). She had contacted me in order to ask how to approach this delay. After passing my condolences, I suggested that she had some time to “be with what is”* to rest and conserve energy until her brother arrived and asked her how could she best spend the time? She thought for a few moments and then came back with a wonderful answer in the circumstances – “I need to honour myself and my needs, my mother is gone and I cannot bring her back”. I probed a little more and the answer expanded to be about getting back to the basic things that my client valued and using them as guiding principles in the coming days.
As you can imagine those few moments have stayed with me. It seems that everywhere I turn in the last couple of days I have been reminded about being true to your values, whether it’s the book I got given for Christmas which has a policeman struggling with a moral dilemma or me applying for some charity cycling events I want to take part in. Now as the New Year approaches everyone is busily discussing their resolutions and what they intend to start / stop / continue come the 1st of January. Me? I’m going to continue living by what I value. It’s a great filter and so often we get twisted out of shape by living against our values, be it working for a company we don’t like, doing a role we hate or staying friends with someone who drags our energy down.
Finally my call to action for you. Work out what your values are and begin to live by them, bit by bit, day by day and you will find that your life will improve.
*Eckhart Tolle (if you were wondering)