Have you lost your hum?

If you’ve sacrificed doing something lately which brings you joy because you’re busy at work, you’re not alone. It’s how we’ve become. For most people, it’s a way of life. Their norm. The more technology takes over our lives, it frees us up with more time to fill. It’s unfortunate that we fill this extra time with cramming in more work.

A few weeks ago, I watched Shonda Rhimes’ TEDTalk. It got me thinking… What was my hum? What brought me real joy?

I thought about all the times I had skipped running after work because I had emails to get through. Or Sunday afternoon naps I had missed because of an important presentation. Or declining lunch invitations with friends because I had so much to get through.

At the end of May, I signed up with a new running coach. My training program has meant trying something new – less mileage but more consistency. In winter, that has seen me leaving the office early to get a run in while it’s still light & also finding an alternative running route closer to work.

In addition to that, I’m considering buying a small business. The homework and research around what this would mean has been all consuming.  It frightens and excites me.

Not wanting to fail at either of these has meant relooking my day and my priorities. Having a vision means that you do look at things differently. Work has become just one part of my day. It means I’m thinking about something else other than work issues all the time. There’s a spark that has been reignited deep within me. It’s a hum.

If you watched Shonda’s talk, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the more time you make to play, the more focused you are at work.

The difference it has made in my life is astounding. I’m finding my hum. 

When something else other than work occupies your mind, you start to know what really matters. If work is all you have in your life, then it is time to reassess your priorities. You need to start playing. You work better when you play.

It could be playing with your kids, reading a book, spending time with friends or simply… going for a run. Find your hum.

Look ahead and start again

I received some feedback recently at work which has been really difficult to acknowledge. The feedback was harsh. Inside I was crushed.

I’ve taken a few days to try & understand the situation and see how I could do things differently. And as always, I turned to my blog. I was reading some older posts when I started to recognize some of the comments that people had fed back about me reflected in some of the posts I had written about myself and my running.

When it comes to my running, I am unforgiving when I fail; I am highly critical about myself; I am hard on myself; I only see faults, never anything good…

Oh my word. Yup! I am that person.

I’ve often said that the corporate world is not for sissies. It’s especially tough when there are so many goals to achieve, so many deadlines and expectations to fulfill. Being an A-type personality doesn’t help. Through all the chaos, my only sense of security was to increase control of the work, micro manage, be over-critical and not open to failure. It’s all there, I can see it now.

The same way that I need to sometimes go back to simply enjoying my running, needs to be the same way I approach this situation. I need to step back and understand where it’s going wrong. It needs a fresh new start and perhaps focus on the positives and the successes.

The same day I received the feedback at work was the same day I made the decision to start on a clean slate with my running. New beginnings. New running goals. New start.

Everything in life can be fixed. It’s not the end of the world, right? It’s quite a relief to be given the chance to start again.

Thank goodness for waterproof mascara.

6 months of magic

When I was out running this morning, I noticed that the air was quite fresh and rather nippy. It’s the first time I’ve actually sensed that autumn is in full swing. Wow, already! Where have the months gone?

I realized as I looked back that so much has happened since last year, both with my work as well as my running.

Six months ago, I was offered a secondment to a whole different team, in a new building out of town, with a bunch of new challenges. I jumped at it! I’ve learnt so much about the world of digital – a world which never sleeps! I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked before in my life. Best of all is that I leave with so many lessons learnt.

The most memorable part was being given the opportunity to manage 3 unique and highly-skilled individuals. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and awesome team. They made me realize that I’m not such a bad manager after all and that I truly can inspire a team.

My goal was to be the glue that held the team together, but in the end, they were the glue that stopped me from falling and helped me grow each and every day.

Six months ago, KK decided to run Comrades and with that has come the most rewarding couple of months of training, not only for him but for me. I have run more half marathons than previous years. I’ve managed to reach PB’s in a few of my running goals.

I’ve also finally acknowledged that I need to stop being so obsessed with my pace but rather focus on how I feel during my races. For the first time ever, a 21.1km race doesn’t scare me like it used to. I know I can finish.

Looking back

I’m not a big fan of winter, but as KK says, “The quicker winter comes around, the quicker summer does too.” I’m excited to see what the next 6 months brings with it. More magic I hope!

If you need me, I’ll be at home

I’m pretty old school when it comes to my job. I believe in arriving at work before 8am, I’ll eat my lunch at my desk and if I have to, I’ll work late to ensure a project or deadline gets met. But there’s loads of new thinking around ‘where’ you work and corporate jargon such as mobile workers and hot-desking are becoming more and more popular. In addition, this concept of ‘working from home’ has been encouraged.

So on Tuesday, I managed to get out of cancel a workshop and alerted my team that I would work from home. It was all very new for me and I didn’t really think I would manage to get much done. Boy was I wrong. Here’s what happened…

I’m usually sitting in traffic from 6:20 until I get to the office at 7:15 (or sometimes later). But having no need to drive into the office it occurred to me that I had the extra time to either sleep in or even go for a run or get to gym. If I went for my usual 5km run at 6:30, I would get back home at the same time it would’ve taken me to get to work. Get outta here!

I didn’t go for my run or to gym but actually got started on work just after 7am. The house was dead quiet. There were no phones ringing, no loud colleagues, no disturbances. Just the laptop and me and yet I was always connected to my team as we emailed & Lync’ed one another all day long.

In between working through millions of emails, I occasionally walked outside to look at my garden and refresh my head. I might have stopped for a few minutes to check my Facebook feed and the news which I don’t get time to do during a ‘normal’ day. I even had time to stop and cuddle my dogs which I personally feel are all activities that are good for the soul. They loved it too!

When it got to 15h45, my laptop reminded me to leave work to get to the running club in time for time trial. Most afternoons, I feel so guilty when I leave but if I don’t, I can’t get to running or gym on time. On this day, with nowhere to drive to, I still managed to do an extra 90 minutes of work before I shut my laptop and went for a run. Yip, still managed to get out there. The amazing thing is that I got so much work done!

It has truly changed my mind about time management and working from home and I will definitely look for opportunities to do it more often. This WILL be my year of less stress, of giving back to my body, my mind and myself. In a smart way, of course!

(Image: Google)