Are you the sort of person that is called to Serve?
Do you get a buzz out of serving others?
If you answer the two questions above with a ‘Yes” then you are like me. I am driven to serve…. Whether it is to serve through my commitment to the Army Reserve, volunteering in the Scout Movement, work in the community sector or work with organisations and individuals to develop their leadership and management capability in my business. The motivation for all these activities is underlined by my calling to serve. I realise that not everyone is called to serve and that is okay.
The calling to serve came as a realisation to me a few years ago when I was being interviewed for a job in the community sector. I was asked about my army reserve service and how this seemed to be at odds with the work I was applying for in the community sector. I thought about it and answered that I disagreed, as I joined the Army for a desire to serve my country and I applied for this role in the community organisation out of a desire to serve my community.
With so many activities in my life that are driven by my calling to serve, there is a drawback. This drawback is I can get so caught up with my activities that I can neglect myself and my family at times. I think this occurs whenever someone is caught up in their passion. This means that as I serve, I also remember to provide self care and spend time with the family.
- What are you called to do?
- Do you give too much of yourself at times?
- How do you balance other vital parts of your life with your passion?
It is a lovely summer morning. The sun is out, birds are singing and there is a gentle breeze. As I am sitting at one of my favourite coffee shops, I take in the environment around me. There are lots of chocolates for sale, I love chocolate. There is traffic passing the window and the people are on their way to work. The radio is on in the background.
Despite what I hear and see the thing I like the most is the coffee aroma that draws me in. I actually enjoy the aroma more than I enjoy the taste of the coffee. The aroma energises me and makes me feel alive. It is an aroma that I enjoy in the morning either at home with our coffee machine or out at the coffee shop.
There is something about mornings, the sun out and the aroma of coffee… I can not put my finger on it, but it is a great way to start the day…
In recent times I have had a sense of peace over me. It is almost surreal. There is much change going on around me. With the change in government there has been big changes for the Public Sector, in which I have friends that are very nervous about their jobs. There are changes in my Army unit with a restructure going on.
Then I used to be always stressing about my studies, scouts, business and work. However they are all coming together without the stress in recent times. In fact I have been making an effort to get more sleep and worry less about stuff in my life. I have even gone for a run a couple of times this week. With less stressing over the stuff in my life that I have to do and more focus on looking after myself, I would have thought that everything would fall behind.
How wrong was I…. I am actually more effective and efficient in my work today and hence even with less time, I am getting as much done. Go figure!!! I have found that letting go of some things and focusing on the important ones has actually produced better results. Even as I review some of the worst things that can happen in my life, I am still better off than most of the world’s population. So as I accept a changing world around me and let go of things, I have found a sense of peace and I encourage you to find yours.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
Over the last fortnight I have participated in a number of activities that I was not fully looking forward to. The first was the adventurous training in the Blue Mountains and the second was the parade last weekend. Though I do not have anything in particular against each of these activities, they both challenged me in a different ways.
The adventurous training in the Blue Mountains challenged my fitness levels, but more importantly challenged my fear of heights. On the Friday morning as we sat at the lookout before the big abseil I wanted to do anything but think about the drop I was about to go over. Waiting can sometimes be the worst part. In addition as I am in a leadership role I have to hold it all together. However in the end it was a great experience and the views were amazing…. plus as an added bonus I feel more self confident.
The other activity that challenged me this last fortnight was a parade we did in the Army. It involved three units. I am not the best at drill….. No. that is an understatement…. I am terrible at drill. Therefore I was not looking forward to the parade. Particular as I had to do sword drill. The last time I did sword drill was over a decade ago. I have a good Recon Officer who the week prior had us practicing sword drill which definitely helped. After some further practice on the day we did the parade and it went well. Again it was a boast of self confidence to have done the parade and not found a way to get out of it.
For both of these activities I could have found a reason to get out of them. However comfortable they both were, it was far better to actually do the activities. It certainly built self-confidence in myself and also was a lot of fun. In approaching these activities with the right mindset and also with practice and preparation I am more confident to take on the next challenge.
- What is it that your are fearful of?
- How do you overcome this fear?
- Do you regularly challenge yourself?
I am one of the few people in this world that lack patience. I am the sort of person that just wants to get in and get things done. Waiting is not a strong point for me. I tend to pace when I have to wait. I guess the Nike slogan of “Just do it” sums it up for me…. If you are like me then this blog is for you.
But…Is there a time that waiting is good?
Of course there is…, Recently with a daughter ill we went to the emergency department at the local hospital. It seemed to take forever, and I had trouble sitting still. But I thought to myself… Waiting is a good thing. With the hospital using a triage system to prioritise patents, it meant that we were not as bad as others. That helped me to relax a little.
There are also other times that delays are good. Waiting for a plane has happened for me more than once. If the wait is due to maintenance issues or avoiding bad weather, then that is a good thing. Who wants to fly into a snow storm?
So when I look at it, there is a time to wait and a time to “just do it”. Hopefully when you have to wait it is for a good reason and you can relax with knowing this is for the greater benefit.
The other week I was fortunate to take two days off work to challenge myself doing adventurous activities in the Blue Mountains. On the Thursday we went canyoning and on the Friday we went on a 100 metre abseil. I am challenged by heights and I am a little unfit, both of these factors increased the challenge for me.
On the Thursday the canyoning activity involved walking, abseiling down the drops, using ropes to climb down the rocks and swimming in the cold water on the way through the canyon. Then to get out we had to climb up, including a rock climbi on ropes. I found it most challenging due to my fitness level.
Then on the Friday, we went out near Scenic World at Katoomba and abseiled down a 100 metre drop. The views were amazing, even if you are scared of heights, as I am. This was an exercise of trust for me. Trust not just in the people that set up the ropes, but trust in the tools (i.e. carabiners and ropes that we used).
Though I really need to work on my fitness levels, I learnt some other lessons from the two days away. I encourage you to reflect and answer for yourself the following:
- Do you plan and prepare activities in life covering off possible contingencies?
- Do you trust you tools and business processes or do you second guess them?
- Being afraid of something, do you challenge yourself and do it anyway?
The Loritz Circus is in Canberra at the moment and we as a family went to see it. In Canberra due to local laws exotic animals are not allowed to perform at the Circus. So the circus was mainly performing artists, with a few ponies. The theme for the show was “Out of Africa”
There was an African performing group that was amazing. The way that faultlessly did there acts of dancing, human pyramids, climbing poles and doing the limbo under a bar that is on fire. They were amazing. It got me thinking about the level of preparation and practice required to avoid an accident or injury. How much training would it have required?
There was a number of ladies that performed at heights. Again most without a safety line. I was once again amazed by the amount of practice required to perform this acts without incident. How do they perform these acts at heights without freaking out. I had butterflies in my stomach as they performed.
Then there was the juggling act from Argentina. He was amazing the way he juggled hops, discs and bowling pins. For his closing act he juggled nine discs. I struggle with three, but nine is a next to impossible task. For the first attempt he droped two. On the second attempt he dropped one. But even as everyone in the crowd was laughing as he did not get it right twice, he gave it a third go. On the third attempt he got it right. Wow…. How many times do I give up too soon?
Even though as a child I went to the circus with exotic animals and was not sure how it would work without, I was very impressed. I recommend the circus to everyone. I even took away some lessons from the show:
- Do I practice enough?
- How do I handle people laughing at me?
- Do I give it another go, even after several failures?
I encourage you to reflect on these lessons in your own life, as I have in mine.
This weekend has been another weekend in a row, where I have been at home. This has enabled me to get a lot done in terms of all the busy activities that I have going on in my life. However I do ask myself…. What is it that I want to be doing? What sort of life do I want to lead? And what is important to me?
Sometimes we just let life lead us on it’s merry way, instead of creating the life that we want to lead. Have you ever been in this position? For example this weekend I was honoured to be invited to the Australian Contingent to Stavanger Reunion. They put on a good show of what they got up too in Norway. It was great watching the young people re-living the positive emotional experiences that they created earlier this year. I am glad that though I did not participant in the event I was able to enable the event to happen through my volunteer role in Scouting.
It got me thinking last night, what type of life do I want to be living? What is it that I want to be spending my life doing and just as importantly, am I living this life or is life just happening to me? If I honestly reflect at the moment life seems to be just happening to me. So then I got thinking…. What is holding me back from living the life I want? And what can I do about this? We only get one shot at life, so we need to make the most of it. So as I ask myself I also ask you…..
Are you living the life you want?
If not what is holding you back?
What can you do about this?
The other week at Floriade I heard a little girl go upto a lady and say “You are beautiful”. The lady melted at the comments and got all friendly and talking with the girls parents. I thought to myself, what a great lesson that little girl has learnt. To make friends you just need to be nice to others. Okay, maybe I would have to choose my words a little differently, but say nice things is a sure way to make friends.
The little girl did have the cute factor on her side and I may lack this. However I do believe that when meeting someone, eye contact, a smile and a good introduction is a way to make a good impression. Then to ensure that the person really remembers you, make sure you find out something about the person that your can say something nice about.
Not everyone will repay the kind words, however I believe that it is still worthwhile to be nice to others. It is funny how being nice to others not just helps you to make friends, but also contributes to a higher self worth and a happier life. An attitude of gratitude will add both to your happiness and also to the happiness of others.
What is one thing that you are grateful for in others?
How are you going to share this gratitude with them?
I have had a break from Blogging over the last few weeks. Some of the break has been due to having too many other things on (like Uni Assignments) and some have been due to not being well. Fortunately I am well again, however with the number of things going on in my life I have decided that I need to review my schedule and activities.
This has lead me down the path of reviewing my priorities in life and what is really leading me to achieve my life’s mission. I have also realised that there are some things that I may have to drop out temporary, as I am just not doing these things the way I want to do them. By doing too many things I am actually not doing anything as well as I should.
That said, I have started the process of winding down some activities, however this is not instant. I need to ensure that I pass on the roles to others with a proper handover – takeover brief. I do not want these roles to just be dropped completely and see the good work that I have done be undone.
This may mean that over the next few months, my blogging may become a little irregular and I apologise for this up front. I promise you that I see my blogging as important, just as I see my involvement in Scouting important. However I have made the decision to take a break next year from Scouting to recharge the batteries.
In the long term I actually see a more focused effort on the activities that are in my life, as I limited the number of activities that I participate in. It has been hard to sort through what to focus on and what to put on the shelf for a bit, however I believe that this will lead to a better outcome in the activities I participate in and also for my health.
When is the last time you reviewed the activities and roles in your life?
Are all your activities and roles aligned with your life’s mission?
Are you providing enough focus for each activity that you are participating in?