Overcoming Doubt : Not Giving Up

Running bore alert!

After Dad’s death in 2012, my body reacted in a profoundly painful way. The doctors diagnosed some kind of arthritis and told me I had to stop running. Like most stupid men I ignored the advice and tried to carry on. The subsequent pain, akin to having a hot knife wiggled around under your kneecaps, forced my hand, and I stopped. I convinced myself I’d never run again.

Over time, the pain abated, I stopped taking prescribed pain relief, and since introducing regular walks at the start of 2015, I’ve slowly felt stronger, and simultaneously tried to accept that these walks take the place of the more vigorous activity which I previously enjoyed. My Fitbit slave ring joyfully announced that I’ve walked over 4,000 miles since the beginning of 2015. I enjoy my walks very much. Somedays walking helps me think, others days I just empty my head and stroll, and sometimes I look for the beauty in the every day things I encounter. There is much to enjoy in walking, and yet as my 51 year old girth continues its slow expansion, I feel I need to do more.

This month, I snuck back into running courtesy of a borrowed pair of Carole’s running shoes. I’m assured that off road is gentler on the knees, so I’ve been running at Roundshaw Downs, an up and down grass course. After finishing the first week I could barely move – no arthritic pain, but instead, a profusion of muscle aches the like of which I’d not previously experienced. Since then, I’m remembering to stretch out the tightness immediately after a run, and I feel much better as a result.

I’ve now completed three parkruns and taken just over two and a half minutes off my times since I started.

Whoop de doo and all that. This is all very well, but what really struck me today as I pushed (puffed!) for the finish line, is the realisation that I’m here, doing it. I’m running again. I had written off the prospect of putting on running shoes ever again, and I was wrong. I could now spend time worrying about how much sooner this return may have occurred had I not been so full of doubt, but instead, I’ll give thanks to the volunteers at Parkrun who make the weekly events possible, and I’ll remember not to be so quick and certain to write myself off in future.

Art for Work’s Sake : Belief

Belief: I’m fascinated by our ability to talk ourselves into and out of stuff. We all know from experience that finding the courage to have a go at something different can be tough, and we see good things happening to others and without even trying ourselves, we believe ‘that will never happen to me’.

I’m no different to anyone else in this respect, so when in conversation with a friend earlier this year about how to continue my development of Art for Work’s Sake, initially I failed to take the idea of seeking some formal recognition for the work seriously. ‘Why don’t you submit your work to the 2016 Learning Awards?’ In the moments after the suggestion was made, I came up with a bundle of perfectly convincing reasons why this should not happen. ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘It’s not ready yet’, are just two of the things I often hear from others when first we explore the chance to think, feel and do our work differently, and there I sat offering up the same excuses to myself.

I reflected, and decided I would get over myself and develop this idea. In the coming weeks I drafted and redrafted an awards submission. It was a painful process, trying to distill over four years work into a few hundred words which simultaneously told the story of the journey and met the award criteria. I nearly gave up several times: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘It’s not ready yet’. I persisted, and with some excellent contributions and support from Carole, particularly in the reviewing and editing stages, a piece of work emerged that felt….good enough. I submitted the entry and waited. And waited. There were so many entries that the initial judging assessment window was extended, and without any good reason, I convinced myself this announcement delay did not bode well for me.

I put out a request for some good vibes last week, and several people kindly responded. Thefinalists were confirmed last Friday, October 23rd, my late Father’s birthday. Art for Work’s Sake has been shortlisted in the Innovation in Learning category. Perfect timing. #FistBump #HighFives #ThankYou. A brief pause to enjoy the moment, then onwards and upwards, I’ve much work to do.

Belief: noun. What you get when you combine persistence, resilience and encouragement. Belief can appear fragile, easily broken, and as such doesn’t get taken out of its box and played with very often. Paradoxically, it turns out that the more you play with it, the more resilient it gets. Learning all the time.

Art for Work's Sake

Persistence and Gratitude

A short post about keeping going, and giving thanks.

In a few days I’m heading to Dallas for Summer Brandcamp – somebody pinch me.

I first heard about this event a few years ago and I’ve been attracted to it ever since. After watching from afar for a couple of years, a few of my American friends suggested I should try and find a way to get over to Dallas and take part. I think it was Joe Gerstandt who first put me in touch with the founder of Summer Brandcamp, Joni Doolin early on in 2013. We’ve been exchanging notes and ideas, missing each other, falling in and out of sync and all kinds of things ever since. Never quite managing to make it happen.

Truthfully – I thought about letting it slide this time around, maybe it just wasn’t meant to happen. Or maybe it was. Several months ago, Joe gave me another nudge, so Joni and I started to share ideas again. Then I spotted Michael VanDervort putting in a good work for me, which was followed by another thumbs up, this time from the totally HR Famous – Laurie Ruettimann.

Stay in Touch 2

The conversations continued and this time, the ‘net’ in network tightened up just enough so that the idea didn’t fall through. For longer than I care to remember I’ve been an ordinary person taking part in an extraordinary network. I think I’ve been good at investing in that, because connections matter. Without People – You’re Nothing. I’m slowly getting better at asking too. Laurie – thank you for recommending The Art of Asking to me, I love the book and I’ve bought copies for three other people so far.

It’s 2015 and I’m going to Brandcamp. I’m going to catch up with many friends, and I’m sure I’ll make some new ones too. This time, with the help of some lovely people, I persisted. I’m excited and I’m grateful.