There was a problem fetching content from the server…

I really should invest in a Dictaphone. All of the thoughts racing through my brain just 5 seconds ago seem to vanish as soon as I decide to boot up my laptop and exorcise some of this shit. No matter, it seems I can continue regardless, although as soon as it becomes an act of typing rather than talking my internal editor seems to kick in in a way which is just as insidious as the one that takes over when I try to speak aloud to others. I guess that’s why some people seem mad, others boring…they haven’t yet got their editor on lock-down. 

See, I know I’ll look back on this in a month’s time and feel really embarrassed. There’s only one post that I’ve edited on here (for no other reason than not wanting to have a slushy post regarding my ex on here from back in the day) and the rest I keep for, I don’t know what, the day I want to write a book? The day I want to share all this with someone – grandchildren, a lover, my older ‘wiser’ self? Ha – the only thing keeping it on here at present is the vague sense of shame I feel in deleting it (although it doesn’t stop me editing it to some degree incase someone reads it. It has happened!)  I guess it would feel as though I’m trying to pretend I’m the cool kid by erasing all the cringe-worthy aspects of my past. How long does it take for celluloid to decompose? 

I’m currently in the middle of the following books;

– Spiral Dynamics

– The Elizabeth Omnibus

– The Fourth Way

– Manual of the Warrior of Light

I have paused (well, TalkTalk has paused) a documentary called ‘Meet the Mormans’ and something makes me wonder if there’s not a little funny business going on in this mercury-yolk that doubles as my brain. I am searching as desperately as these ‘poor’ missionaries are searching; for instruction, fulfilment and meaning in my life. And I’m just your average Josephine. Why can’t I find the blog by the girl that has a pretty reasonable life, with nothing to really complain about but everything to get confused about? I typed in ‘lost and confused’ into my mobile browser and it gave me the option of religion or depression. Granted those were results from the first page, so I shouldn’t really be too surprised. 

I guess the problem is that we all become discontented for a while, regain some kind of equilibrium for a while, then receive a shock through action/inaction and stumble our way through that for a while, only to repeat the process again. And again, ad infinitum. One book I’m reading tells me that this is the way things go, whether on the road as a lone traveller, or as a nation crossing into new territory. It’s fine! It’s the status quo! Just run with it, accept the changes and shifts as you accept the changing of the seasons…be in flow.  Another book I’ve just begun (The Fourth Way) is teaching me to observe – to quash all negative emotions and to listen out for the lies…they are everywhere.

I know – I’m doing it to myself. But at least here I can get it down in some form which no-one will read, and one that won’t get lost by default of a crappy phone or a muddled house move. One that can at least hold its value for posterity when I have come full circle and which I can use a reference point when I next feel lost and confused! Have I advanced or retreated, have I moved up or down the spiral? And to think my original reason for starting this blog was to get me a better job! 

By amytuffin

‘Cause tomorrow is another day!

Well I got home before midnight…and my carriage didn’t turn into a pumpkin!

After a couple of weeks of feeling pretty terrible, mentally and physically, I am finally on the up. I have been indulging my weaknesses as regards food, drink and useless cyclical thought processes for long enough, and although it takes a bit of mettle to conquer them I think I’m getting there. Hence being home around 3-4 hours earlier than I would usually be on a Friday night!

Today was a good day because;

I thought I was going to have to make a really strong case to get the training I wanted. I am passionate about NLP, and am determined to one day be a counsellor in some capacity. I approached my manager with two options this afternoon; one being a basic ILM Level 3 course, teaching the framework of coaching and mentoring. I have read and understood enough to know that it would hone my skills, but not necessarily refine them. The other was the ILM Level 5 and NLP Business Coach course. The provider’s course I had chosen was exciting, expansive and stimulating and I was determined to sell/negotiate/argue my way to a place on it. Five minutes discussion with my boss and boom! Done. It was ‘no-brainer’ and I had to pull together the most basic of business cases to support it. Not only am I super-excited; I also feel inspired by the fact that my new employer recognises my abilities and is willing to invest in me.

On the back of this I was in a celebratory mood. Although my only plans were to meet a mate for drinks, I did my hair, put on a pretty dress and some stupid shoes and headed into town. My walk in and out of town includes a jaunt through the park…the evening was beautiful and the sun was shining through the trees like melted butter; my favourite kind of sunshine. I was listening to a song my nephew had played me a couple of nights before – ‘Tomorrow is another day’ by Modestep. I don’t usually listen to that kind of stuff but he’d been playing his music all night and I picked out a handful of tracks I liked. This one is my current favourite, as it now reminds me of him and our night spent talking and hanging out, and also of how it made me feel that night, and this night. I make it my prerogative to smile at people every day I walk in and out of work, but I couldn’t have stopped it if I’d tried this evening.

Lastly, I found Snobs! Finally a place in town that isn’t full of one type of person. I didn’t stay long as the pain in my back was ever-increasing…plus I did not want this weekend to turn into every other weekend (i.e. minus a Saturday). However, I spent a bit of time talking to people, watching the crowd, and generally wondering why I hadn’t found out about this place sooner! It was packed with all sorts of all ages; some sane some otherwise (I met a guy who recognised me from a conversation we’d had on a train 4 years ago, who was clearly a little unhinged). I’m going to make sure more Fridays are spent there, where drones (and crazies) are the exception, not the rule!

So, three things to be thankful for. Let’s see if I can find the Ted talk that spurred this on in a few years’ time!

By amytuffin

Well I actually like David Blaine…

God love those Ted talks. They are inspiring, interesting and they last just long enough for my walk in and out of work.

I watched a few last night, and although none of them caught my imagination the way I was hoping they would (I was determined that something would kick-start my painting), I found a new respect for the sometimes vilified David Blaine. Ted seems to invite a whole array of speakers to the platform, well-renowned experts in their field, some less well known, others simply in the public eye with a niche in the market and a good story to tell. I listened to (and then watched, out of morbid curiosity) Jamie Oliver’s talk on child obesity, and cringed for him throughout. However, I found David Blaine’s talk truly beautiful.

I loved how he tried and tested so many methods. Your average Joe takes one failure to convince himself that either he is incapable or the idea is implausible. If at first you don’t succeed…

His courage on so many levels fascinated me…not just in his determination to push his body to any extent but also to put his ego and faith out on the line. Something I will learn from.

His passion is what got me most. I know all women melt at the sight of a man in tears (given the right circumstances) but I felt the deepest admiration when I saw him falter in the last few lines of his talk.

“I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion.I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately.” Susan Orlean – The Orchid Thief. To see someone with that amount of passion, to see what it made them feel when they look back at it, is a rare thing these days. And that’s why I like David Blaine.

To the love I haven’t met yet…

So I was talking to someone a while back and they shared an interesting idea with me. Why not create a website where users could post a love letter to the person they haven’t yet met? I thought it was a pretty cool thought and decided to write my own. I was curious to see what I would produce and figured it would also be quite a good exercise in terms of attracting the right things going forward…Lord knows I’ve been in free-fall long enough when it comes to relationships!

In the absence of said website I have chose to make this letter the subject of this blog post, so here goes;

Dear love,

I no longer have to hope, because I have found you. I no longer have to wait, because you are here. You no longer have to search, because I am standing by your side.

They say that life is a journey, and I am blessed because I have found my perfect travelling companion. Whatever is on our path today we will enjoy together, weather together and explore together. Fear is a thing of the past with you to hold my hand. Sometimes I will guide you, sometimes you will guide me, but for the most part we will face life side by side which is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

You will not always find me easy, you will not always make me smile. There will be times when we drift, get lost, get hurt – but I am confident that we will never lose each other for long, nor be unwilling to soothe and comfort one another. Love will ebb and flow, but we have a friendship that will carry us through any anger or pain or disappointment. We will always take care of each other.

I love your sunshine smile and the sweetness you bring with your kiss. I am dizzy for your touch in the morning and your caresses in the evening. If you listen closely when we next embrace you will hear the race of my heart and the deepening of my breath that is caused only by you, my sweet.

I respect your principles and admire your ideals; I aspire to be worthy of them in every way possible. I love your attitude to life with all its pleasures and its challenges, and I strive each day to be the person who can add to the first, and support you in the last. I do not pretend to understand you all the time, but I come to you with an open heart and open mind ready to do my best. I know that you feel the same.

Thank you for trusting me, respecting me and loving me. Thank you for your support and affection, for your time and energy, and for the security you give me wholeheartedly. Thank you for the shine you bring to my day, and the comfort and peace you bestow on my sleep. Thank you for letting me know you and share you with the people we love best in this world.

Each day brings new opportunities to remind you of how I feel about you and to make you happy. I will not waste them. Every hour is another chance to enjoy your company; I will not squander them. Moment by moment I am able to prove myself your most loyal and loving companion. I will not take it for granted.

I love you.

Amy

By amytuffin

Are we the dining dead?

I’m back!

So life has moved on for me in many ways since last I wrote. I have a new job. I have a new flat. I am single. I have a cat. All good things, for the most part. Reading through my not-so-extensive blog made me smile, and definitely made me think about how my thoughts and actions have evolved over the last 18 months. I’ve come to realise what an impulsive, gung-ho kind of attitude I have to life; an example being my approach to the whole ‘Secret’ business. I jumped in with both feet, definitely becoming the annoying evangelical type I foresaw myself being (at least to those with the patience to listen!). It made me feel good. I like to think that it had a positive impact on my life; indeed whether you call it ‘The Secret’ , the law of attraction, or even simple determination, I have changed some of the fundamental elements of my life for the better.

I started with the simple things (cut-price steak in the reduced section of Tesco’s) in order to test out my new ‘powers’, and marvelled at each manifestation I conjured up. No matter that I wanted sirloin instead of stewing steak, I got it! I did that! I envisaged myself having a bigger place with a garden, a job that rewarded me better in the salary and respect department, and a happier home life. I pretty much have all of that now, a mere 18 months later. It hasn’t come to me with a huge amount of effort, pain or trouble, in fact the process has been remarkably slick and seamless. This, Rhonda Byrne tells me, is how it’s meant to be.

I look back on the energy I put into this refocus; the fire that stoked my belly and the absolute faith I felt when I spoke about it with others. I would say my feelings on the subject can be divided up as follows; 5% embarrassment, 15% ‘hey, that’s pretty cool!’ and 80% ‘how do I recapture that spirit?’ I mean, if it worked for me why do I feel so cynical about it now? Why do I feel that 5% embarrassment? I embarrass myself all the time with my over-enthusiasm, my blind faith and naivety. Who cares if it gets me what I want and doesn’t hurt anyone else (only irritate them!)?

I think the simple solution is to give it another wholehearted shot. My ideas may have changed to some degree regarding attraction and nature’s abhorrence of a vacuum, but not to the extent that I have become disillusioned by it. I still force myself to think the best of any given situation, and work to quash any negativity I might be feeling. Maybe it’s the words ‘force’ and ‘work’ that are causing the problem. I need to shift my focus away from the battlefield in my head and towards the nourishment of good, vital and positive things. I can do that. I can do anything!

By amytuffin

The Gratitude Attitude

My concious incompetence has kicked in again…having read all about the Gratitude Attitude in 7 Habits, 59 Seconds and now in The Secret, I realise I have been nodding and smiling but not acting on it at all. I mean, how hard is it? The only challenge lies in comprehending just how many things there are to be grateful for. I intend to start each day with this mentality going forwards…and there’s nothing stopping me now from making a head-start right now.

So.

I am grateful first and foremost for my ability to express all that is in me right now, and the knowledge that I can do it each and every day, at will. I am grateful for all the skills and resources at my disposal to make this possible. I am grateful for the loving family that has reared me, cared for me and supported me and continues to do so. I am thankful for those in my life that inspire me, that teach me to look beyond myself and to think and to challenge what I see before me. I am thankful for the love I receive daily, and the love I can return in equal measure. I am grateful to have a warm home to come back to each day and a soft bed to sleep in.

I am thankful for my job, for the security it brings and the pleasure of working with people I know and like. I am grateful that I can begin my search for a new path, a new career, in the confidence that I will do well and prove myself capable of immense things. I am thankful that I have started down a road that I can feel passionate about, that allows me creative freedom and the assurance that I will make a difference.

I am grateful for my body and mind and the health of both, and for my looks which open more doors than I really deserve. I am grateful to be in control of my appearance and my actions, and I am grateful for the years ahead that will allow me to appreciate them

I am thankful for the chance to start each day afresh, and to bring into my life the things that matter most.

By amytuffin

Dear Universe

My last day of work finished yesterday with festive cheer. My Secret Santa present sat on my desk and it was immediately obvious that it was a book. Last year’s was a book on writing poetry, something I haven’t done in ages and would probably never read a book on anyway. That swiftly got passed on. However, I unwrapped this year’s gift to find The Secret staring back at me.

My boss has been raving about the ‘Law of Attraction’ for a while now so it didn’t take much detective work to identify my Secret Santa, and although I’d listened to her enthusiasms with interest I can’t say much of it had gone in, apart from connecting it with some equally impassioned comments on my boyfriend’s part. He had a friend over when I got in so I settled down to read my book while they chatted away. I had to stop myself on two or three occasions from rudely interrupting their conversation with exclamations over what I was reading. This came as something of a surprise, as I’d started reading it with a certain degree of scepticism. A few critiques I’d scanned had nothing but bad things to say and I couldn’t really picture it being anything amazing in my own head.

How wrong was I? Well, very, it appears. I’m still only a short way in but I’m already thinking and feeling differently; I can see myself becoming an annoyance to all those around me in the near future as I steam ahead with my ‘good thoughts’. The last book to make such an impact was ‘7 Habits’ by Steven Covey and I can’t wait to read it again with this new perspective. I have read about being in control, being assertive and creating your own future but for some reason I have not felt quite so empowered as I do now. Well, watch out Universe – here comes the new Amy!

By amytuffin

Generation Why?

Today I read about the generation I belong to…being born in 1985 puts me slap-bang in the middle of Generation Y. Out of all the things that interested me most was the comment that we have ‘high expectations for advancement, salary and coaching relationship’ with our managers. Apparently, to help manage these over-optimistic youths in the workplace, some organisations are bringing in actors to play out the role of these ‘Millennials’  to demonstrate how they can pro-actively seek feedback and additional responsibility. To hell with the actors  – I want that role! Where are these companies and where do I sign?

Honest feedback is the holy grail for the Millenial trainer. I can see I’m going to have to do some serious research on how to go about getting this, as ‘happy sheets’ and simply asking just doesn’t seem to do the trick. I’m also determined to get the book ‘The Fourth Turning’ by William Strauss and Neil Howe. Not that it will necessarily answer this problem for me, but I am totally fascinated by the idea of a repetitive cycle played out by each generation…it’s like a horoscope you can actually rely upon. Albeit not quite so specific.

Well, this may not have contributed much to my training and development, but it’s all food for thought and that’s never a bad thing. There might be some interesting discussions over Christmas dinner in the offing…!

By amytuffin

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary ~ Thomas Carruthers

Now if I were to follow this line of reasoning, I’d be out of a job. Maybe being a school-teacher, or a lecturer at a college for instance would put me 100% behind this one. To be fair, the idea that you can help give someone all the tools they need to go out into the world, to learn and think for themselves, is amazingly inspirational. I remember the phrase uttered by the teacher in Frank McCourt’s ‘Angela’s Ashes’ – “Stock your mind, stock your mind. It is a house of treasure…”. I can’t help but think, although I’ll be damned if I ever work with animals or children, how exhilarating it must be to be a shelf-stacker for all these newly formed minds. Having said that, I’m not sure that the current curriculum allows for as much variety as I would probably want to include…

In my job, at least, I am not bothered by such soul-searching decisions. When you’re training a varied group of school-leavers, twenty-something’s and not quite retire-d’s on how to create an invoice for a negative-coefficient meter, it’s pretty straightforward. However there is still a challenge in there somewhere. Is it possible to still work towards the principle of putting yourself out of the picture? After all, when you’re purely an in-house trainer then you can be reassured that some of those school-leavers will still behave as though they’re actually in school, and that some of those nearly retired ones will actually retire. In come the next wave of fresh-faces recruits, all needing your help and support.

So, what can be done to stop the inevitable click-here-click-there monotony that always brings the same results (i.e. another robot programmed to do the same thing as everyone else without ever questioning why)? Well, there’s the answer in my cynical description…questions. It is all to easy to stick to asking questions to test understanding, or to encourage questions with the same motive in mind. Questions make a trainer’s life a whole lot easier than that, and gets people thinking for themselves. Getting them to tell you about what you’re going to tell them already is an obvious one. As long as you have some idea of their background knowledge, it is easy to ask them questions which will get them thinking along your wavelength and give them confidence to then work things out for themselves.

For example, if I were beginning with a brand new induction, introducing the electricity industry, I can start by asking questions about what the group already knows about electricity. They might start by talking about how stupidly high their bills are. I can ask them why they think that is. I might ask them how they know what their electricity costs are, or why their bills get estimated. Along the way I can plant key pieces of information about the industry and our company in general, and it begins to feel more like a chat than a presentation. I don’t have to do all the talking, and the group can start to piece the puzzle together for themselves, giving them a head-start when it comes to understanding the more complicated aspects of the job.

Giving an individual or a group the confidence that they have all the resources they need to do the job seems like the first step towards making myself unnecessary. Until then, I have to reassure them over and over again that I’m really not that smart, and that all the information I can regurgitate about electricity comes from several years experience and the fact that I have been repeating it to groups just like them, month in, month out. One day I’ll just tell them how much of the time I’m winging it! 🙂

By amytuffin

You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry ~ Norman Juster

Ignorance is bliss. Unconscious Incompetents are happy people. Because as soon as you become one of the luckless Conscious Incompetents you realise that you have to do something about it. Or remain ever-aware of your incompetence. Now, when it comes to clog-dancing, I’m okay about that. I don’t feel any overwhelming desire to don a pair of wooden shoes and spend day after day stubbing my toes in pursuit of the perfect clog dance. I am conscious of my incompetence and I can honestly say I’m fine about it. However when it comes to being a good trainer, a good teacher, that’s when you find me bewailing my incompetence on a daily basis. Not out loud of course – ‘a good teacher makes it appear that he has known all his life what he only found out yesterday’. Wouldn’t want to break the secret code now, would I?

So, the purpose of this blog? To chart the on-going circle of my own personal development – why just focus on evaluating other people? That’s the day job! For once I am going to be an adult and write a diary about something important, something that can help me (however distressing I might find reading this at a later date), and something that will hopefully launch me into a satisfying and meaningful career. As a teenager I always affirmed that I would never take a job in an office…well here’s to doing something about it and making the 9 to 5 count!

 

By amytuffin