Thursday, 27 March 2014

No, thanks

Busy-ness carries with it an air of importance. But it's not a breeze I want to be swayed by.
Just over a year ago I took a personal plunge. Trusting myself and chancing my arm, I set out to find better, more fulfilling work; work that made the most of my strengths and faced up to the times we're living in
At first, I wondered where it would come from. I genuinely feared I would fall short. Right now, I'm juggling four different part-time jobs, occasional consulting work, public speaking gigs, and a band (along with a busy social life). Partly through fortune and partly design, it's all pretty wonderful stuff. Sustainability, facilitation, music and the arts are all coming together in cool ways I couldn't have imagined 18 months ago.

But my time is finite. My energy only stretches so far. And being passionate about the things I do makes me want to respect them all the more - with the right energy, focus and clarity. And right now I feel stretched.
So from now on, I'm taking a leaf from the delightfully droll but dearly departed Dennis O'Driscoll and learning to say "No, thanks".
'No' seems to get a bad rap. I often feel guilty - like I'm letting people down when I use it. But saying 'yes' as a default has left me overloaded, unable to truly focus on the things I value most. Right now, I risk letting myself down.

So I'm going to try 'no' on for size, focusing on the opportunities it opens up, the spaces it leaves free, not just those it shuts down.
I don't expect to be immediately good at this. I suffer a strong fear-of-missing-out. Please keep asking, but if you get a 'no' or some variant, know that it's not you, it's me - and feel free to congratulate me on my progress!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

This train will be taking no passengers: a journey in six parts

1. You can't be neutral on a moving train (Howard Zinn)

2. The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality (John F. Kennedy)

3. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor (Desmond Tutu)

4. Being a centrist doesn't make you unbiased; it biases you in favour of the centre (Rodney Ulyate)

5. There are no independent people. Even when you are standing aside, you are taking a side (Ljupka Cvetanova)

6. Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now (Howard Zinn)