Posts Tagged ‘progress’

Going nowhere

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Last night I was unfortunate enough to get stuck on the A3 when the road was closed. at the height of rush hour.  For those of you unfamiliar with the road it is a major road with 3 lanes in both directions, and last night it was completely shut.  It was one of those occasions when all you could do is switch off your engine and wait.  People seemed to take it fairly well and a lot of folks were out of their cars and talking and wandering up to the nearby garage for supplies.  We were stuck for over 2 hours and when eventually they cleared the road, I discovered that the tail end of the jam was still firmly in place as I drove back home so some poor souls had another hour to wait. 

The thing is sometimes  you need to recognise when you are not getting anywhere, be it in business or in a relationship.  Sometimes like last night you simply need to surrender and wait, other times you have to do something to regain momentum.  The key thing is to realise that that you are stationary; then you need to ask if you can do something to change that?

Patience can be a virtue but sometimes it is prevarication in disguise.

Progress is fragile

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

This has been a real lesson.  In work we tend to tick things when they are ‘done’, but in real life progress is more subtle and fragile.  It is much more like gardening, and the tender shoots are very vulnerable when they first emerge.  We have done a great job of pulling together, getting organised and making things work but under this thin skin of ‘wins’ is a soft and tender core that is oh so vulnerable; bad dreams and being triggered by the silliest of things.  I was watching a rugby Man of the Year award; you’d think that was pretty safe territory till the winning player said that he had recently lost his father and dedicated his success to him.  I immediately welled up.  Or again, I was listening to the radio yesterday and they were talking about how people are using websites, such as Facebook,  as living memorials to keep alive the memories of their lost ones…  One of my daughters has already announced that she is not looking forward to Xmas for all the things that we will be missing and seems to have written it off already. 

I suspect that this fragility of progress applies not only in situations like ours but in all manner of changes.  You have to protect these tender shoots.  I wish I knew how…

Is a Tar pit or just Winter?

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

When you are a feeling stuck, and the changes you are looking for just aren’t occurring there are two metaphors that spring to mind for me.  The first is the tar pit.  These were common in prehistoric times and creatures used to wander into these sticky black, death-traps and, once enmired, they were stuck for all time.  The other is that of winter, when the plants are not growing but that is appropriate and they are just awaiting the new season to begin growing again.

Sometimes the voice of intuition can tell us which it is for us.  Sometimes it takes an act of faith.

What do you do when you find yourself in this kind of place?

“What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can’t move, with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn’t been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won’t be troubling you much longer.”    Douglas Adams

 

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Are you a pebble?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

A friend left this comment on my blog, which contained this sentence “I started thinking about the millions of stones/pebbles, how each was different, very different & yet if you lift your eyes the beach looks golden & could be a continuous strip of bronzed sand”.   And that got me thinking, I bet each of those pebbles considers itself to be an individual with its own unique character and history.  It has its own story of how it got there.  It was part of something bigger.  Bit by bit, over time, it is changed by its environment; its rough edges are abraded by time and tide.  And yet, each pebble is part of something bigger… the beach. 

Are we that different really…?

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.” Chinese Proverbs

 

The view from a tunnel

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I was talking to my lady wife today, discussing the change in the rate of change in our lives.  When we were younger life seemed to be composed of passing a series of landmarks such as marriage, the births of our children, job & house changes etc.  Then it feels like you get to a place where these waymarks no longer exist; it rather reminds me of my drive across Canada when I got to the plains states and one could drive all day and nothing seemed to change.  It maybe that, like my Canadian road trip, that I am bang on course, but at present it feels like one in sitting in a stationary train in a tunnel, one maybe on track but there are no visible signs.

People talk a lot about the periods in the change cycle when lots is happening, but these more static periods are very much part of the process too. 

I’d be interested to hear how you handle these periods…

“We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.”  Lynn Hall

“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.”  Ellen Glasgow

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Solar eclipse

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Yesterday, one of the longest solar eclipses for a long time was visible in Asia.  The moon moved in front of the sun for over 6 minutes and the world was plunged into premature darkness.  People watched in awe as they have for as long as man has walked this planet.

However, this eclipsing of the sun; the turning out of our main source of illumination allows us to see things in a different light.  During this financial upheaval and the ensuing economic chaos many have had their smooth progress arrested and been forced to question what they are doing and how they are planning to achieve it.

It appears there are a lot of people about now who are questioning their assumptions, their methods and perhaps even their goals.  In these topsy-turvy times, we are being invited to review and reconsider what we are doing, the lights have been temporarily dimmed and we are offer a different perspective; we can see and follow lesser, less dazzling lights.

I’d be interested to hear if you have been experiencing any of this and what you have done about it.

It’s only during an eclipse that the Man in the Moon has a place in the sun”

Resources:

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Not all progress is forwards

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

As a Change ‘expert’, this shouldn’t be news, but as a human being it is always hard to recognise that not all progress is forwards.  Just as in the marathon at a certain point you ‘hit the wall’, in life and in business one sets out on a journey and sometimes it is not only ‘uphill’, but sometimes the terrain takes you back on yourself.  Recently it has felt a bit like this for me; no sooner have I sorted one problem or issue out than two more take its place!  I won’t bore you with all the rubbish that has been going on, it is neither serious enough nor interesting enough to recount.  However, it is emotionally wearing.

So if like me the current of life seems to be taking you backwards despite your very best endeavours, take heart, the tide will turn and I hear tell it is good for the soul…. [goodie, goodie!]

What do you do at times like this?

“Life must be understood backwards; but… it must be lived forward.”   Soren Kierkegaard

Life is like a traffic jam

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

There are times when despite your very best efforts you just don’t seem to get anywhere.  For reasons beyond your control, you are forced to mark time.  Perhaps customers are not paying you on time, maybe key appointments are cancelled, you can not get access to the resources you need, be that people, credit or technology.  One moment you are motoring down Life’s highway, next you have ground to a halt. 

Like all traffic jams, sometimes they move along quite well and don’t last too long, other times one just find yourself parked on the motorway literally going nowhere and not even knowing what is wrong.  I find that if you can find out what is happening and you know if there is anything you can do, or whether you just have to wait for someone else to do something helps.

Doing nothing goes against our nature, this suggestion that we should surrender, and there is in fact, nothing we can do, so the only area for us to change is our attitude.

At present, despite my very best efforts, I am not getting any sense of forward motion.  I’m not necessarily worried by this but it is a far from comfortable sensation.  The usual metrics for business success no longer apply here, it is a bit like being in the Arctic Circle and having a compass… When you are out walking and you are lost you basically have three options:-

  • Sit down and wait for something to happen that changes your situation
  • Go back and try and retrace your steps (and start again another time?)
  • Press on to the best of your abilities

In business you can cut-back, bring in outside ‘experts’, try something new, or just keeping ‘pluggin’ away.’  If you are a fisherman, once you have tried all your usual tricks, and gone to the best places you know, if you still haven’t caught anything, you have to decide whether to just keep at it, stay home for a few days and wait for the water/weather conditions to change, or go out hunting!

I’m interested to hear whether you have encountered similar situations and if so how you have dealt with them and what the results were…

“What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can’t move, with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn’t been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won’t be troubling you much longer.”    Douglas Adams

“Most of the time it was probably real bad being stuck down in a dungeon. But some days, when there was a bad storm outside, you’d look out your little window and think, “Boy, I’m glad I’m not out in that.””    Jack Handy

 

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and out the other side

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

The other day was at a networking event and, as one does, met a number of new people.  One of the interesting things about listening to other people’s stories is that sometimes one sees signposts in them that relate to ones own journey.  Listening to a couple of people there, I was transported back in time about 25 years, because their stories took me back to the beginning of mine.

It is in the nature of journeys that one simply puts one foot in front of the other, and sometimes one has clear views of the road, and at other times, one simply walks.  You don’t necessarily notice that you are making progress or moving forwards.  It is a bit like sitting in a motorway traffic jam, and it is only once one reaches its head and see the clear road ahead that you realise that you have got to the other side of it.  This conversation was like that, I realised that I had emerge the other side of this issue.

You emerge into a new space and new possibilities.  So, maybe you are also emerging into a new space, or perhaps you are still a few cars back from the head of the ‘jam’; you really don’t know how much progress you are making till  reach one of these clear places and look back.  If today finds you with a clear view, take your time and enjoy it and the sense of possibilities. If haven’t don’t despair and just keep nudging forwards

“Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change”  Henry Steele Commager

“As for the future, your task is not to foresee but to enable it.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery