So I’m sat in a coaching session (a few years ago) and the coach asks me, “so how many times can you remember being happy in the last few years?” I stop, scratch my head (metaphorically speaking) and think back the last few years of my life. After a few minutes I finally answer “three or four times”.
At this point I should reassure you that over those previous few years I had not been living in a war zone, abject poverty, in prison or under any kind of duress so the idea of only being happy three or four times seems unlikely. He went on to ask to describe those occasions and most of them involved big set pieces i.e. holidays, birthday parties, etc. He took a moment, scratched his chin (metaphorically speaking) and said something along the lines of “your problem Jonesy is you don’t give yourself permission to be happy”. From a coach who was very business focussed and the previous topic of organisational politics this seemed quite the departure.
He then frogmarched me out of his office, across a few London streets to a shop that sells a rather random selection of accessories, haberdashery and dressmaking supplies. The shop front is painted purple and it has massive windows through which you can see the strange contents of the shelves. He shared with me the fact that standing and staring at this random stuff made him feel relaxed and happy. Whilst it didn’t have the same effect on me I took the point and charged myself with being more aware of the happiness in my life and more regularly ‘stopping to smell the roses’.
As I sit here on a sunny Sunday afternoon writing this for tomorrow and reflect on the last few weeks and the last few years I see that his advice and the decision I took staring at those dress accessories has definitely worked. Not only have I consciously taken the time to notice the good things in life but also have become much better at putting the bad things in context. Life is good!
For those of you who follow me on Twitter you may be aware the last month or so has been pretty non stop travel and adventures and a trip to Knoydart in Scotland, Barbados, home to Wales for a wedding and a trip to New York have led to many kodacolour moments and some fantastic memories to add to ‘my files’. Having a weekend of doing pretty much nothing at home has also been fabulous but there is one more planned activity that will no doubt lead to some happy memories which leads me finally to the point of all of this…
‘Herself’ celebrates a significant birthday today and as we sit down to dinner tonight I am sure I will have another mental picture to remember so Happy Birthday to Herself with lots of love from Me. To the rest of you go and find something to be happy about – even if just for a moment!