Tag Archives: planning

Just because I wasn’t there doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile!

I have guilty parent syndrome.

The challenge of fitting 4 weeks annual leave into 16 weeks of school holidays every year leaves me thinking that my boys have missed out; that their holiday experiences have not been worthwhile.

It’s not that my wife or myself do not spend time with our boys during the school breaks, it’s just we simply cannot spend ALL the time with them. We tend to assume to role of holiday program coordinator for when we’re not available – arranging incredible people to hang with them and for visits to friends. This often includes park trips, movies, swimming, sleepovers, theme parks, sport and for one of our boys this recent holiday, even a speed boat adventure!

So on the face of it, I reckon our boys thoroughly enjoy their holidays. And they enthusiastically (well, mostly…) proclaim they do.

It’s just that if I’m not there, I tend to think it wasn’t worthwhile… guilty parent syndrome.

Whilst my presence changes the dynamic and is certainly important, my absence does NOT equate to a lack of value. And this is something that seeps into other areas of my life. It’s almost as if I’m suggesting that without my direct involvement, something isn’t as worthwhile for all the other participants. This is more about my insecurity than anything else.

I need to have confidence in the plans I have developed, the people I have engaged  and allow them to create an experience with their touch. This then allows for those times when I am directly involved, for experiences to be flavoured by me, a genuine point of difference!

Whether it be family or work or anywhere else, we need to ascertain when we can be directly engaged and those times when we can’t, or perhaps, even shouldn’t. Empowering others should make an activity more worthwhile, not less.

Let’s create an experience-rich environment for our families and colleagues, with and without us!

LET HOPE RISE.

Do I need an umbrella?

Looking out the window across the cloud-covered sky to the street below I made an assessment that it was not raining heavily enough to impede my lunch time walk.

This assessment remained correct for five minutes, after which the grey clouds decided to dump significantly more moisture. I castigated myself for not bringing my umbrella which I had originally deemed as not being required. How could my assessment have been wrong?

The fact is, my assessment was correct, at that point in time. Circumstances beyond my control then changed the situation.

How often do we make decisions that are relevant to a particular point in time and then become frustrated or disappointed when the situation changes?

What may seem entirely reasonable and attainable with one particular set of circumstances, can quickly become distant and improbable. This shouldn’t prevent us from making decisions, rather it should encourage us to consider what factors are likely to change and then plan accordingly.

This is contingency planning. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just considered. In my case, I should have taken an umbrella – a minor encumbrance that would have meant I was prepared for the situational change. Some things cannot be planned for, but most can! The grey clouds were the indicator that my point-in-time assessment could be short-lived.

For what situation do you need to take an umbrella?

LET HOPE RISE

Lessons from a lost ship

Did you know Australia has a Chief Scientist?

No? Well, we do and in early March our newly appointed Chief Scientist, Dr Finkel, addressed the National Press Club as part of an event run by Science & Technology Australia.

Dr Finkel shared a story about a small nation with middle-power ambitions. A nation in transition with a growing population and a commodity-based economy.

…But this small nation was well aware of its uncertain place in a strategic region at a volatile time. So it embarked on a bold exercise to build a flagship for its navy that would also be a statement about its place in the world.

The setting is Sweden, four hundred year ago, in 1625. Now this was no ordinary ship that the Swedes contracted the Dutch, who subcontracted the Germans, Danes and Finns, to build. This was something that no-one in Sweden had ever attempted before: a 135 foot warship with two decks, each bearing 36 cannons.

And it had to be built on the keel of the 110 foot, one-deck warship the contractors were initially instructed to build. That ship was half done when the King changed his mind – inspired by the thought of an extra deck, with extra cannons.

So the builders set to work, and they did their best to adapt the keel, while the King went off to fight his war with Poland.

By August 1628 the ship was ready. All of Stockholm gathered at the harbour for the launch of this mighty symbol of Swedish pride. And all of Stockholm was still there when, twenty minutes after the launch, tilted by the gentle nudge of a light sea breeze, it sank – less than one nautical mile from dock.

This ship – the Vasa – has sailed into business school history: as the textbook case in innovation done wrong.

The ship and 53 lives were lost as a result.

That ship sat on the bottom of the harbour for 333 years. Then it was raised in 1961 – almost perfectly preserved, ornamental mermaids and all. Raising it was a phenomenal feat of ingenuity and engineering. It was installed in a purpose-built museum, where more than a million people every year line up to see it. To Sweden, the Vasa is now a great source of national pride.

Because Sweden didn’t give up on building ships. They built two-deck gunships. They built three-deck gunships. Gunships that became the pride of the Swedish military for the next thirty years.

They helped to usher in the age the Swedes call stormaktstiden – the Great Power Period.

Failure – repurposed as a symbol of success.

But we don’t have to get there from the bottom of the harbour.

Let’s take the direct path to our own stormaktstiden, our Great Power Period.

LET HOPE RISE

Preparing for what can’t be prepared for…

A friend ran his first half-marathon last year. He set himself this goal and duly went about preparing for it. He monitored his diet, built his fitness and began strategically running with them aim of being able to complete a half marathon first in training. When my boys decided that soccer would be their chosen sport, we prepared by kicking the ball in the backyard, learning the basics of trapping and passing.  There are some things, though, for which we cannot prepare.

My dad was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia a few years back. The prognosis for an older patient is somewhat worse than for a younger person. Suffice to say, this was bringing the end of his life nearer. It is one thing to know something, it is another altogether to be ready for it.

People, myself included, have over the years offered the profound advice “at least you know and you can prepare for it”.  This is fine when the event is your first half-marathon, but when it relates to the passing of a friend or family member, it is entirely irrelevant. Some things, we simply cannot adequately prepare for. Some things need to be experienced to understand the emotion.

As much as I am an advocate for planning and preparation, I have come to realise that we cannot prepare ourselves for all things. It is at those times, the love and support of family and friends is key. As too, is faith.

My personal faith journey has held me strong in those situations for which I was not our could not be prepared. Rather than seeking to understand ‘why’ something was happening, my faith continues to enable me to focus more on ‘how’ I can help.

Accept that some events will leave us confused, upset and even angry. And that’s okay. We cannot adequately prepare for all things that will happen in our lives but we do need to accept what has happened and then decide to deal with it.

LET HOPE RISE

Plan your life like a holiday

I love holidays.

I particularly enjoy the expectation associated with the planning beforehand to ensure we’re maximizing our time and experiencing the destination to its fullest. After all, I want to make the most of the limited time. Funny then that I’m not as diligent in planning for the rest of my life – decades not days…

Do you also find this?

It could be the excitement of the short-term adventure as opposed to the routine of the everyday. Looking at this logically however it makes incredible sense to allocate more time and energy to the area that yields the greatest impact.

The key I’m discovering is intentionality. Actually deciding to allocate time to planning my everyday world helps me remain focused. Yes, we all have our regular routine around career and family but we need to ensure we’re also building capacity for growth and impact. I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life to realise I have lived well for me and then left my kids to fend for themselves. Similarly, I don’t wish to identify all those opportunities I had to make a difference in someone’s world but was so inwardly focused that I let them slip by.

If we want to achieve anything worthwhile, above and beyond the everyday, we need to be intentional.

Intentional about what we’re inputting physically, emotionally and spiritually. Intentional about how we’re investing our time. Intentional about allocating our resources.

Where are your intentions taking you?

LET HOPE RISE

Image credit: texelart / 123RF Stock Photo

Don’t dress for winter when it’s summer

One thing I’ve learned over my 43 years is that life is a series of seasons. Some good, others not-so-good. Seasons can be positively challenging and inspiring whilst some are simply frustrating and darn-right annoying!

Regardless of the season I know it will pass. Spring follows every winter. New life comes forth once the shackles of the cold has been broken. For me, this means if I’m in a season of lack, then I know this is the now, not necessarily the future. Of course, I cannot ignore the events swirling around me, pretending all is well. Wearing jeans and jacket in the midday sun of summer wishing it was winter won’t bring on the new season whereas confronting the demands of the season before me whilst planning for the next should be the strategy.

I find myself talking more of seasons when the present is not quite what I want. When I’m in a season of abundance and blessing, I’m okay for this to be the famous endless summer! The reality, though, is that this season may also pass and we should be preparing for what may come. This is not to say that we should expect the worst, actually I believe in the exact opposite. I expect to be blessed however wisdom suggests we prepare for storms before they arrive. Every summer of my 43 years has witnessed a storm!

Irrespective of what season in which you may find yourself now, it will pass. Tackle head-on the demands of the current season and plan today for how you want the next season to look. After every winter, comes a spring!

LET HOPE RISE

Image credit: mikekiev / 123RF Stock Photo