Writings

Throw the hat!

Throw the hat!

March 19, 2020
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Stop thinking! Start doing!

That was the message I got in a mastermind-session a month ago.

You’ve been thinking too long, it’s time to throw the hat and commit.

And it’s true. That’s what I need to do.

Like I did last summer, when my coach Dave during a coaching session challenged me to throw something out there, and revert in 15 minutes to the session. That turned out to be my first proper Mastermind-class which I gave weekly starting in August of 2019, running for three months. It turned out lovely, and I truly enjoyed it, as did the participants.

If Dave hadn’t challenged me to throw that hat (sending the invite to 10 handpicked people I’d love to have participate in my Mastermind), I would not have done it. And that would have been my loss. Truly.

So whyyyyyyyyyy don’t I throw the hat for #tankespjärn?

And yeah. I know. It really doesn’t matter why.
What matters is that I do it.

So.

.

.

.

.

.

…cliffhanger.

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Tankespjärn. Say what?

March 18, 2020
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Tankespjärn.
It’s a Swedish word, but not an official one. You will not find it in any thesaurus, but rather it’s a word that utilizes one of the most fun aspects of the Swedish language, namely the ability to merge any (?!) two words into one.

Tankespjärn consists of two words.
Tanke which means thought.
Spjärn which means… to resist, to brace against, to use as a starting point upwards/onwards. Sort of. There actually isn’t any one translation that accurately describes what I mean with the word spjärn in this context.

This is what it sounds like (click on the word): tankespjärn

As a word-mashup, tankespjärn – for me – points to those moments where you hear or see or learn about something, and your face scrunches up, and you go Huh? because what you just heard, saw or learned simply doesn’t fit within the framework of your current understanding of reality.  And whenever I describe it, my hands fly up towards my face and I twist them in opposite directions as if I am wringing water out of a large towel held between my hands. Only, that imaginary towel is my brain or something…

In a sense, it’s about providing you with an opportunity to step into a new perspective, a new way to understand the world, somewhat like a door opener. Which is an apt analogy because once that door is opened… I can choose to enter. Or to close it again. To step away from the possibility, or to step into it. (But it sure is hard to forget about that door, leading to something; a something which, once it’s been revealed, even if I chose to let the door slam shut without entering will always be there, like the tiniest little pebble in your shoe, impossible to ignore.)

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The gift of coaching

March 17, 2020
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This morning started with me getting a gift, the gift of coaching a wise woman, assisting her in finding insight and just-do-it-determination.

But… isn’t the gift hers then?

Well. Yes. That too.

But what I find true in most coaching sessions I do (when they are done… hm. How can I phrase this? When it makes sense for me to coach said person, when it’s truly a mutual agreement, and when there is absolutely no sense of me doing it just to be kind. Those coaching sessions!) is that they are truly a gift for me as well. I am reminded of my own wisdom, I am inspired by my client’s journey, and their struggles and bumps-in-the-road help me shine a light on similar aspects in my own life.

The synchronicity is palpable and that’s another signal that we are a good match. When what my clients are working on is a different shade of grey perchance, but still, close enough to my shade at the moment, I am kept on my toes. I do my utmost to keep just ahead of my client, in order to serve to the last drop of my capacity, knowing that at anytime my client will leap ahead of me, having me stretch farther, giving it my all to catch up and just, barely, pass them by again.

It means I do the work, and they do the work, and when we meet up, there are synergies, even though, don’t get me wrong, while I am coaching, I coach. I am fully present with my client and they are in the driver’s seat. My agenda, my needs, do not take center stage. But whatever I am working on at the moment is there. It’s present, and that presence is, to my experience, of service to the process.

(And I know coaches are not supposed to admit this. But hey. Perhaps that’s why I am not interested in having clients who are “way behind me” [don’t get me wrong here! There’s no judgment to this, just discernment on my part.] but rather those that are but a step behind me, helping me keep sharp and at my best. I would not have thought of this without these two questions coming from coach Dave: Who can I coach? And who do I want to coach? Great questions those!)

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Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving (book 3 of 12)

March 16, 2020
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I really did not enjoy reading Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving by Roger E. and Stephen D. Allen.

And in a sense… that makes me happy. Oddly enough.
Bear (haha. Pun not intended, would you believe it?) with me, as I try to explain.

You see.
I have a tendency to enjoy most of what I read.
I love books. I read lots.
And I can as easily down a quick-read from the chick-lit genre as a fact-based non-fiction book on leadership and human development, a Science Fantasy-trilogy as a spiritual deep-dive into the world of Mary Magdalen.
And most everything I do enjoy. I find something in them that attracts me, keeps me reading.
Can be the wit of it, the beauty of the language, a totally engrossing story or facts that makes my mind boggle.

“Remember, good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad judgment.”

But more and more, I can discern (what a wonderful word that one! Discernment.) what I don’t like, what I don’t enjoy, where the language is not alluring, where I cannot get close to the characters (The Neapolitan Novels of Elena Ferrante is a great example), where something, whatever it might be, just seems off for one reason or another.

I had but read a few pages of this book when I knew it was off. For me! Which is an important caveat, as my taste is just that: mine. Noone elses. I borrowed this book from C, and he swears by it. But if I had not assigned this book a slot in my “read these 12 English books in 2020” I would have closed the book, returned it to C and never thought more of it.

But as I had chosen it, I made myself finish it, even though it took me more or less three months, with it laying on my dressing table as a constant reminder…

Perhaps it’s as simple as me not really being a Winnie-the-Pooh fan?
Perhaps the way the Allen’s emulate the way A.A. Milne writes (and is allowed to use excerpts from his books on Winnie-the-Pooh, both the written stories and the illustrations), but without being as great word-smiths as Milne?
Perhaps it was simply the wrong time for me to read it?

I don’t know, and don’t have to delve into it in-depth, but… at the same time, this is where my happiness comes in. You see, I am currently enrolled in The Creative’s Workshop (workshop run for the first time by Seth Godin on akimbo.com), and in several of the prompts (lessons you might say, three per week, over a 100-day-period) we’ve been asked to look at things such as these:
What is good, in my view? Why is it good? Who crafts good stuff (similar to that which I am working on)?
What don’t I think is good, and why? Who crafts “bad” stuff?
Who do I admire? Who do I want to emulate? And who’s the amateur, the professional and the hack in your line-of-work?

So.
Winnie-the-Pooh is helping me discern my responses to questions like these ones.
And that’s really helpful!

“…creativity […] is a way of being, of looking at things without judging them first, and that it can be learned and improved.”


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Just Being.

March 14, 2020
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Completely blank calendar.
24 hours of naught.
That does not happen often, and the only reason it happened today was the cancellation of my trip/course this weekend.

Not a cloud in the sky, almost no wind, 6 degrees Celsius and the warmth of the sun.

Slow morning in bed, reading, tindering with an interesting bloke, did my morning seven’s (two of them) before my three-round Wim Hof-deep breathing, breakfast. A 15 km bike ride, left-over lunch of the loveliest Jerusalem artichoke soup and now… headed outside for some gardening.

Dry leaves, withered stalks.
To be gathered and collected, tossed in the garden bin.
Filling up a few bags of firewood to bring inside, for those sure-to-come stormy and cold spring evenings. And if not… it will be very ready to burn come the fall dito’s.
Perhaps a bit of weeding as well, even though very few plants that are considered weeds in my garden.

Just Being.
Being.

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Caring. Of self. Of others.

March 13, 2020
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At home.
Not going in to work.
Not headed to Bornholm for the weekend course I signed up for around Christmas time. I canceled my attendance before the course got canceled on account of almost everyone canceling their attendance as well. 

That’s positive.
People are thinking and taking preventative action, avoiding unnecessary meetings and events, minimizing the risk of spreading and/or catching the Coronavirus. 

I haven’t seen the negative effects of this, yet. Understand there are people hoarding so much for themselves that others will go without. But I have seen the opposite, the positive effects. People volunteering their help with grocery shopping or cooking, to help those in high-risk categories. People not involved in fear-mongering, but rather the opposite, being factual and emphatic at the same time, willing us all to stay calm and caring. Of self. Of others.

Not going in to work does not mean I cannot work.
I can. Luckily.
However. Hand on heart… Have not mustered the energy to go at work in full swing. Not yet. Giving myself room to take it a bit slower, to rest more, sleep until I wake up, have a slow morning reading in bed, letting the re-calibration work it’s way into me, in the back of my mind letting the insight from my prioritization-exercise percolate. Curious to see what will come out of it. How I will protect this new space (as I was asked by a fellow TCW-attendee) of insight and a world slowed down.

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Slowing down.

March 12, 2020
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And slowly… it’s as if the world – my world yes, but also The world – is slowing down on account of COVID-19 aka the Coronavirus. And as weird as it might sound, I breathe out; a sigh of relief.

This does not mean that I am happy about the situation. Of course not. It will cause human suffering and deaths, and I hope we will be able to flatten the curve enough to give more people a chance to come through the ordeal that we are facing alive and well.

But I think there are many who, like me, can benefit from having to do a retake on life. For the past eight months I’ve been working much more away from home, at the offices of my clients, than in years prior. I’ve been struggling, not having as much time with myself as I’m used to. I am lucky that much of the work I do can be done from home, even though I’ve been doing a lot of it on client sites recently.

With the world slowing down anyway, I’ve taken the opportunity to look at my priorities, to look at what signals my calendar transmits. What of my top priorities are visible in my calendar, and what is not? Reflecting on what I want in life, and what I don’t want, realizing many things.

A lot of what I do want is there. I make room for it. But I’d want to make more room for it.

What I don’t want, is to a large extent not there. But prioritizing amongst my multiverse of assignments and projects and commitments makes it easier to ensure my calendar properly mirrors that order of priority.

This also means, that there are a few things present in my life without me necessarily wanting them to be. Prioritizing had me cancel a few upcoming trips (which, in view of the current pandemic, also is the most rational and responsible thing I can do); it also had me turn down an assignment that I would have said Yes to just a few days ago, has I not opened my own eyes to my responsibility to ensure my life is set up, as best I can, according to what is truly important to me, that which resides in my core.

No wonder I breathe a sigh of relief at having my world slow down, as it already had me gain clarity on life, on what’s important – truly important – and making sure there’s both room, energy and action to match that.

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Stimulating ventures get my creative juices going

March 11, 2020
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Riding my bike to the train station this morning I had a thought.

I’ve regained my joy in writing.
I haven’t had this much fun writing for the past year, or so!

I know full well what’s sparked my renewed thrill with writing – attending The Creative’s Workshop, and being a part of such a generous and caring community –, and that had me do a double-take. In hindsight, I’ve not partaken in (enough) stimulating ventures, which, apparently and not surprising at all, get my creative juices going.

That’s an important realization for me.
I enjoy it.
I thrive off it.
I am more creative on account of it.

And luckily enough, it’s completely in my own hands. I can jump in, or get out of, stimulating ventures at any time. There’s no end to the number of exciting, exploratory, engrossing workshops, courses, pieces of training I can attend. No end!

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Re-calibrating my No-Yes-scale

March 10, 2020
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What would happen if I tried to be less ”follow-through at any cost”-ish?

Indeed.
What would happen?

Or, as someone pointed out: saying no to things you don’t feel serve you.

For the better part of 3 months, I’ve been saying it’s time to re-calibrate my No-Yes-scale. You see, most everything falls in very high in the Yes-category, so I need to rework the scale.

But I haven’t put any action to it.

So.
Putting away my computer, bringing forth my calendar, and will go through and ”recalibrate”, so I know what’s a Hell No on my new scale (previously an 8 on the Hell Yes-scale!). Be right back…

Eyeopening exercise!

Have crossed one thing off my list going forward, and probably canceling a trip at that. But more importantly, I’ve gotten clear about what’s my core, i.e., what are the things that I want to do, regardless. That which provides me with health, love, happiness and wellbeing. And extrapolating those out from ”the rest” helped, because then it was fairly easy to prioritize the rest. And the list of priorities, I will make visible for myself, so that it stays top of mine during the recalibration-phase.

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The edges of my capacity

March 8, 2020
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I have high capacity.
A lot of energy.
A well-exercised ability to focus and give it (whatever it is) my all.
But today… Today I bumped up against the edges of my capacity.

With two days of training this weekend, after a jam-packed week with just one evening off, otherwise busy busy busy – a fair description of the last two months as well – it seemed wise and caring to leave the rest of the evening unscheduled…

But no. Not me.
Thirty minutes after the training ended, I had tickets to see Frida – Viva la vida. It turned out to be a movie I enjoyed… and yet… I had a very hard time staying focused. I had a hard time to even stay awake. I was – I am – exhausted. And yet, coming home from the movies I had one more promise to live up to, with a group-call scheduled at 8:45 pm.

I would have been hard-pressed to cancel the movie plans, or try to give my ticket to someone else. And honestly, the thought never even crossed my mind. I don’t know what would have made me go down that route?

The group-call is one which I scheduled after I knew my schedule for the weekend. And it’s the same here. I don’t know what would have me postpone this call? (And having just had it, I am energized, and am happy I did not cancel on it.)

I do not see myself as a person who cancels, which even though I appreciate it as a general trait, is not necessarily a good thing if it’s a fundamental belief of mine, having me not-cancel at the expense of me.

The Upholder in me definitely plays a part here, a leading part even, and from the conversation in the group-call which I just finished, I wonder… how much of this is me being not-gentle towards myself? What does serve me? What would happen if I tried to be less ”follow-through at any cost”-ish?

Perhaps something worth playing around with?
Or.
Let me rephrase that:
Something worth playing around with.
To be continued.

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