Establishing goals is all right if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours.-Doug Larson-
I think we have all heard the saying “when one door closes, another one opens.” It might feel like that door is more like a small window you have to maneuver through or sometimes it might feel like beautiful French doors that pop wide open. Whatever the case it’s important to see the blessings in life’s little detours.
A few years ago I worked for a company that moved me into a position that was “best for the needs of the company.” My title remained the same, I was just working in a different business unit. I was transferred from the IT area to another business area in operations. I tried to fight it. I was unsuccessful. The move shifted the trajectory I thought I was on. It was hard not to feel like a marionette puppet. Even harder not to be bitter. I had a choice; I could leave. I decided to stay and change my perception and see it as one of life’s detours.
Instead of taking it personally, I thought of the monthly emails announcing position changes and the emails announcing as of today x is no longer working here. It was common practice to move people around the company chess board. I will admit, in the past when I read those emails I felt they were playing Russian roulette with the employees. We were the “bullets” in the chamber and with an almost quarterly spin, you could be shot out like a cannon or hang back in the chamber waiting for the next spin. Recognizing it was a business and of course, the needs of the company was a factor in each of our career paths, I took a tuck and roll approach. I adjusted with each change and over the years, I had several more in “the best interest of the company” moves.
For the moment the dust has settled. Things have stabilized. I work with a great team. They are both collaborative and supportive of each other. My position allows me to use all of my strengths and I’m able to learn new things, which is important to me. I’m in a good place while I wait for the next spin.
Embrace the detours. Thinking back they seemed to arrive around the time I was getting comfortable and nestled in, and quite possibly limiting my opportunity for growth. I was given the chance to make delicious lemonade from a basket of perceived Lemons. Maybe it wasn’t the company making the changes, but the universe setting things in motion for my highest good. Sure feels like that now.
When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things– Not the great occasions– that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness. – Bob Hope
I had a glow of happiness today. During a meeting, I volunteered to draft out a detailed plan design of a project we are starting. After I hung up I wondered if it were possible to get everything documented in two days. I opened up my “shell” template for the plan design and realized I had already started it when we passed one of the main stage-gates a few months back. Bonus, I was far along in the documentation. The sweet glow of happiness filled the room.
Don’t forget to count these moments when you reflect on the things you are grateful for. I’m with Bob. These simple things are gems!
I work from home and when I’ve been staring at the computer for a few hours not even blinking, Cooper will make his way to my desk and then pop his head up from under the desk and climb on my chair or he will give me the stare down if I’m on the couch with my laptop. In the past, I would push him back down with a firm “not now I’m busy.” Last week I was walking the trail and kept thinking of Cooper and his “do you see me now moments.” I had an insight. Cooper, was once again teaching me a valuable lesson on being present with our loved ones and giving them our full attention.
How often do you see couples at dinner staring at their phones or the TV behind their date’s head instead of paying attention to each other? I’m guilty. It has become acceptable behavior, the norm. Then dinner is served and the focus is on eating. The check is paid and dinner is over. How much of that dinner was spent with the full focus on each other or even tasting the food?
Following Cooper’s example, we need to single to each other to “see me now.” We turn off our phones or put them on vibrate during movies. It is the rule after all. Let’s continue that practice when we are spending time with each other. Put the phone in airplane mode, no beeps, rings or dings to pull your attention away. Can we not spare an hour from our device to give each other our undivided attention?
When I got back from my walk I decided the brown-eyed stare down was an opportunity to take a stretch break and to get a glass of water. Now, I grab my water, give Cooper a scratch, open the back door so he can do a quick run in the yard. Toss the ball for a few minutes and enjoy the view. Then I head back to my task. It’s done wonders for helping me keep my water goal each day, and a quick stretch break helps me take a deep breath and has a calming effect when I get back at it. And Cooper either entertains himself with a toy he found in the yard or gets fascinated by a squirrel and is happy and content. He didn’t need hours of my time, just a moment or two to feel like he mattered and to know that I remembered he was an important part of my life. Isn’t that worth a few moments?
Your life will be much more memorable if you stop and smell the flowers, or watch a bird build its Nest.
When I lived in Texas, we couldn’t wait for the Bluebonnets. There was a short window of time to take pictures and enjoy their beauty before the heat hit and they withered back. Every year we would take the pups to a local field and snap away, just like all the other families in Texas. We tried to find a spot that wasn’t trampled on and tried not to add to the trampling. It wasn’t always easy. Looking around at the families snapping away at their little angels, I noticed no one was enjoying the flowers. Tensions were high and the kids were getting restless waiting for that perfect shot. Mothers were yelling at dads to take the shot from a kneeling angle or move over to that tree nearby. I’m sure the resulting shots were gorgeous, but what about the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers? Was that lost or was it just a quick scratch and sniff and on to the next errand on the list?