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A Day of Doing

What a busy Monday. Looking back, my prevalent impression was of incessant task completion. Checking off items on my to-do-list. Most of them were important activities, there is no doubt about it. What I sorely missed today, however, is my ‘dreaming’ time. The minutes I spend envisioning new ideas and reflecting on possibilities.

So today I failed to make room for dreaming and didn’t give the day a chance to become an extraordinary one. When I started writing the post I didn’t expect that this fact could have any positive implications. But it has at least one: it reminded me of an Saku Tuominen‘s authentic TED talk about dreaming and doing which I enjoyed watching. You might find it interesting too (especially if you think that your ratio of dreaming to doing deserves attention).

What a nice place! Is it new?

I spend most of my Saturdays volunteering in a fair trade association and shop. It’s a cozy place run mainly by volunteers aiming to contribute to fair trade programs across the globe.

Fair trade shop Heidelberg

Fair trade shop // Weltladen Heidelberg, Germany


In addition to the joy of volunteering, surprising conversations and lasting impressions make the time I spent there enriching and inspiring. It’s wonderful to be able to pass on an idea through products and to strive for excellent customer experience in a somewhat different setting. But what fascinates me the most are the people. Like the lady in her early 50’s who entered the shop yesterday afternoon. She looked around for a few minutes and then approached the counter with a surprised look on her face. The questions customers or visitors ask are as diverse as ‘Where is the next post office?’ and ‘Is fair trade and organic certification the same thing?’. Keeping this in mind, I greeted politely and just offered my help. But her query was different. As she came closer, she said ‘What a nice shop you have here. How long has it been around?’ A few simple words that brought a smile on my lips and paved the way for some extra hours of volunteering.

This spontaneous and encouraging statement made me think about the occasions in which we would like to express encouragement in a similar way, but don’t because it feels too superficial or too simple. Yes, it’s THAT simple… and that powerful.

You’ll Love Your Morning Workout (after you do it)

I usually don’t find it difficult to wake up early, but this morning was an exception. It took me about 20 minutes to convince myself that I
would love my morning workout. After a busy week I felt that I couldn’t and shouldn’t work out that early. But I did. And it turned out to be true: I loved the morning workout… after I did it. Does that sound familiar to you?

Author: QFSE Media, http://www.qfse.com/; CC BY-SA 3.0 NZ license

Author: QFSE Media, http://www.qfse.com/; CC BY-SA 3.0 NZ license; via Wikimedia Commons


What impressed me was the positive effect it has on my whole day. I am not sure if it was the workout or the fact that I’ve overcome my reluctance to do it that resulted in more joy and resilience. One thing is certain – I have another good example to use next time when I face my unwillingness to do something I consider important. And I hope you have plenty of good examples too.

What a mess!

I admit that I exclaimed “What a mess!” at least twice today… as a reaction to long hours of meetings, partially futile discussions, confusing comments and way too many impressions to process at once.

Author: Jorm (WMF); CC-BY-SA 3.0 license; Wikimedia Commons

Author: Jorm (WMF); CC-BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons


But as tiring as a day like this can be, it also leaves room for questions and instigates change. We can try to realize this potential or remain at the superficial level of ‘messiness’. Juggling perfectionist tendencies and perseverance, I would go for the former option. What would you choose?

Dissatisfaction

“Dissatisfaction is the mother of change, and only change can drive improvement.”

This phrase caught my attention in a book called “Confidence: The surprising truth about how much you need and how to get it”* a few days ago. My minor achievements and failures today proved once again that a certain portion of dissatisfaction remain a constant source of improvement for me, both when I succeed and when I fail. Recognizing this fact doesn’t necessarily make discontent pleasant, but it does make it easier to understand and deal with.

*The book is probably just the opposite of the self-help guides attempting to help people artificially boost their confidence. It looks at low confidence as a driving force for increasing competence which ultimately results in higher confidence. While a little repetitive, it is a compelling, well written read in our world of way too many confidence distortions.

Have you heard the news today?

Working in a fast-paced environment can be a challenge. Changes (expected or startling, reasonable or preposterous) are an integral part of the work ‘routine’. Plan revisions, team transitions, goal adjustments, responsibility shifts and many other variations of change – all of them possibly happening at the same time. On a ‘normal’ day like today. My personal most important news today is that change is here to stay… It’s entirely up to you to decide how you want go about it.

Just remember that looking for a chestnut is probably a good idea if you have dealt only with hazelnuts for some time.

Chestnut for a change; Author: Peter Trimming; CC BY 2.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Chestnut for a change; Author: Peter Trimming; CC BY 2.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons


An Hour of Fun and Persistence

Mondays tend to be perceived as different from other week days. Some find them less productive, others love getting back to their daily routine.

My Mondays changed a lot in September 2012 when I started teaching a weekly group fitness class at work. Admittedly, interrupting the office day for the class resulted in longer working hours, but more importantly it turned into a source of joy and inspiration.

Author: Poulpy (own work); CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: Poulpy (own work); CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons


Today, 19 months after my first class, I unconsciously spent a few seconds between and during the songs contemplating. And what struck me is how much everyone in the room has learned in that time. Learned to improve coordination and fitness level, communicate more clearly, become more self-aware… just thanks to an hour of persistence and fun on ordinary Mondays.

I can’t wait for next Monday to come. How has yours been?

Back in Action with Daily Impressions

Could it be that I spent the last two months without posting anything on my blog? I am afraid this was the case…
Could it be that I had nothing to write about? Definitely not!
Many of my ideas have made it to my Evernote app or to a piece of paper, but none of them found its way to my blog.

By Bilboq; via Wikimedia Commons

By Bilboq; via Wikimedia Commons


Everyday life has a good way of capturing my undivided attention at times. Or to put it more precisely, I haven’t managed to channel part of my energy to my blog in the last weeks.

Some of the long, intense days lately have been full of stressful, but also rewarding activities and interactions. Each of them generated many thoughts and impressions worth pointing out. In fact, doesn’t every single day offer at least one valuable impression which deserves to be shared?

And this daily impression is what I would like to blog about in the next four weeks. A thought, a story, an image… something that will grab your attention, pique your curiosity, make me think or wonder.

I enjoy blogging and all human connections around it and have missed it a lot. Probably this is something you could relate to. Perhaps it’s not blogging, but something else that you haven’t taken the time to practice lately. I hope this new blog series could serve as a daily reminder for you to also try and allocate part of your energy to something you love doing. Believe me, it will be worth it.