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What do you really want out of life? Now what's stopping you?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Off the Floor

Had to withdraw from a dance competition today. Should be dancing tonight, but am having a repeat of the allergic reactions that put me in hospital last year-an experience I do not care to repeat. It is disappointing to see all the hard work go to waste, especially as competitions in Zimbabwe are few (the next one is in 2 months time). There will be other competitions. No-one accused life of being fair. There is a bigger picture at stake, and I need to focus on it. I could dance tonight, but history has shown that it is not wise, I had to walk off the floor mid-dance last year because I was unable to breath. Sacrificing one competition is a small price to pay for a faster recovery, avoiding hospital bills and being able to accomplish everything else that I need to do in a particulrly busy month. I have an orthpaedic surgeon out from the uk this month and will be busy in the hospital, as well as trying to juggle all my other responsibilities. So I guess I'll get over it-eventually.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I've found it.

I found it! No, not the answer to life; as you may recall, I mentioned in a previous post about 'suddenly' moments. I rediscovered the source this evening. It came in a newsletter called 'The Writer's Workshop'. The letter is written by Diane Scimonce who is the president of Peapod Publishing. The relevant article is found at this link, or you can subscribe to the newsletter at her site. I like to always give credit where credit is due, and she was responsible for that bit of revelation.

It is worth honouring others who have impacted you positively, especially if they are unaware of it. We seem to have lost the art of thanking people, either through a note, email or verbal message. My encouragment is that, this week, find someone who has done something, no matter how small, and thank them for it. You may be surprised at the result.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

At the End of a Day

It has been a beautiful day, despite a pretty horrific night. I will spare the details, but I was unwell yesterday evening. Was a bit better this morning and after an extended lie-in, decided to make breakfast. Small dilemma-we had no electricity, being in the middle of an extended power outage. So, cousin and I decided to go scout the 'opposition' and went an had a meal at one of the other coffee shops in town. I had a rather pleasant muffin (nothing too taxing on the stomach plesae), while Kyle tried something a bit more substantial. We then decided to go coffee-shop crawling, and in between shopping moved on to another two(one wsa closed so I suppose it doesn't really count as two). After dropping him at hockey, I had planned to stop by the office and catch up on some computer work. This I have dutifully done and have the pleasure of having completed the second draft of my book(see excerpt in previous post). Finally I have a document I think that I can show a publisher. It may get torn to shreds but that's the risk you take. I already have a basic outline for another book(hopefully part of a trilogy), and will see what comes of it. There is a lovely sunset outside and I am going to enjoy it for a moment before phoning up a friend to make plans for the evening. Despite the afternoon's efforts I am feeling relaxed and content.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On the Way.

Well, well. This is my 50th post! I have managed to keep going for 4 months and reached what may be considered a landmark number. Is it really though? Is this post more important than any of the previous posts merely due to its numerical ranking. Once it is published, is not the next post the most important-the one that I need to write in order to keep the site alive?

I have found a passion for writing, and this blog allows me a creative outlet for what I write. Judging from the number of blogs on the net, I am not alone. One of the great things about writing like this is that you are generaly free to write what you will-there are few limitations to what you can put down and if no-else likes it, then tough. I have learnt a few skills along the way: have picked up a basic understanding of HTML (for the uninitiated, the media language used to creat web sites), have improved some of my spelling and grammar (no don't look), and have a bettter appreciation of what makes a great site.

Where this blog will go, I am not sure. There is still much to say, and many different ways to say it. So, I'll keep writing-just watch this space.

A Dying Breed?

Are the professions dying out? Have been speaking to a few of young adults this last week. What struck me was the fact that most of them do not regard themselves as a particular profession (even though many, including myself have a professional degree). Rather, they possess a unique collection of skills that they use to fulfil various posts and functions. If you ask them what they do, the description is not merely one of ‘accountant” or ‘personal-assistant’ but rather a brief sentence that details what they see as there skills or purpose. I’m not sure if this phenomenon is limited to Zimbabwe and has been created by the situation here, or if it is a broader trend related to this generation. While there is security in a fixed career structure, on a personal level I find the concept rather stifling-if I work for so many years, I can move up to another level if I pass my assessment-no thanks. But, admittedly that’s just me; or so I thought until I started talking with these people.

In a FastCompany article, Po Bronson states
“People don't succeed by migrating to a "hot" industry (one word: dotcom) or by adopting a particular career-guiding mantra (remember "horizontal careers"?). They thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are -- and connecting that to work that they truly love (and, in so doing, unleashing a productive and creative power that they never imagined).” and “There are far too many smart, educated, talented people operating at quarter speed, unsure of their place in the world, contributing far too little to the productive engine of modern civilization.”
Read the full article, and let me know what you think?

Friday, July 14, 2006

So, You've had a bad day.

I love that song by Daniel Powter, the music video is even better(Check out the lyrics or his web site). Got home last night to find that my delightful cousin, and potential bane of my days, had finished all the milk. Woke up this morning to a power cut-no hot breakfast and a rapidly cooling bath. Arrived at work to the universality of power shortages, although it has now returned and I can sip on that much needed coffee. Today is a day that I need strength and energy-between the practice and the coffee shop-I will only finish at 11 tonight without much of a break. So I had a bad start, so what. I can choose to mope, or I can make decisions that will benefit my experience today. I have already got some breakfast from a shop just down from work. I have purposed to take it easy and not get too stressed while treating, and have planned a couple of mini-breaks during the day. So I’m going to have an amazing day (and night), how about you?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Continuous improvement is a necessity in life. In fact the only thing truly constant in life is change. I have finally managed to upgrade the browser on my dinosaur of a pc and will hopefully be better able to manage my site. One hopes that this will translate into better links, more photos once in a while and a richer text content.

My sister Rene' is out from the U.K. for a couple of weeks and I was able to spend much of the last day with her. It reminded me how important it is to maintain the connection with people and spend time with those we love. One of the hardest things for me has been to stop thinking of her as "my little sister" and accept that she is a grown up, quite capable of taking care of herself. To think of her in the same way that I did in the past would be foolish. She is older, wiser and capable of so much more than when we were younger. I love her to bits and am so glad that we have been able to share things in greater depth as our maturity has grown (hers has, I hope that mine has too).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Slow down for the sunset.

Was driving back from out of town the other evening when I noticed the sunset. Sunsets in Africa are spectacular and this one was no different. Then it hit me, I hadn't watched a sunset in ages. I had got too wound up running around doing other things to pay much attention to the beauty around me. So, I slowed down a bit and enjoyed the colours as they mingled, shifted and faded away.I encourage you this week to take a small break and do something you havn't done for a while, relax and enjoy it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Three little pigs

The tale of the three little pigs is a great moralistic fairytale describing how foresight and a bit of resilience can avoid you being turning into proverbial bacon. Personally, I prefer a more modern version of the tale where the third pig loads his shotgun and, when the wolf asks to be let in, blows him away to kingdom come. Either way, planning helps. While you may not be able to spot every trial, there are some things you need to do it you ever want to be able to achieve your dream.

Had an excellent conversation with a young patient yesterday who dreams of playing professional rugby. As a result, he was able to convince his parents to invest in a knee operation to treat in injury that would have otherwise sidelined his career. He should make a full recovery and be back on the road to achieving his vision in the next few weeks. The comment that got my attention was “I want to have no regrets”-if you have ever read the first few entries in this blog, you will know that is one of my aims in life. He will probably go far-especially with parents who believe in him as well. He was aggressive with the trial that came his way- he boiled the proverbial water while it was coming at him down the chimney. We need to the same with our trials-face them, think up an innovative solution and act on the problem.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Question everything

Magazine interviews have the potential to be the most boring pieces of literature available, easily glossed over and avoided due to the mindless nature of common questions. Small talk may help break the ice, but it’s never going to give me any substantial information. If I want to know her eye colour then I’ll look at the photo accompanying the commentary. I recently came across a series of refreshing interviews in a magazine in a colleague’s waiting room. Questions like “How would you spend you last day on earth?” can give you insight into someone’s value system. “What would you do it money was not an issue?” can help you see if you are satisfied with your current situation.

If you had an hour with a person you admire, famous or infamous, dead or alive, what questions would you ask them? I can almost guarantee that you would not be wasting time on the weather. Why then do people inflict mediocre questions on people? My aim this week is to ask entertaining and though provoking questions of the people I meet, probably only one per conversation else it may scare them. Share the most creative question you have ever been asked or asked as a comment on the site for others to see.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Just a thought.

How many times have you faced a bad superior? Does your immediate boss have any really irritating habits? Does your manager know how to bring the best out of you? I thrive on recognition so someone else taking credit for something I have done and not even acknowledging my input is probably my greatest let down. Let me know your pet management hate, and if possible your solution. While you're at it what do you look for in a great manager? I would hate to inflict your experience on some poor waiter under me.

Monday, July 03, 2006

'Suddenly' moments.

I write this a bit jaded and weary after my first day on a new job! That’s right-new job. I’m now a part time manager for a fantastic coffee shop attached to a world class conference centre in Harare. I am still doing physio, just less so.

How did all this happen? It’s a case of a “suddenly” moment. I once heard a speaker refer to “suddenlies” in reference to points of time where everything falls into place and opportunities come your way. This is one of those. I did not apply for the job, I did not actively seek the job, but it just happened in a series of events. I won’t bore you with the details but, 2 weeks ago, I was approached with an offer and after consideration said ‘yes’. In my life list there is an entry “coffee shop” that entry now has a large tick next to it.

The main things with a “suddenly” is to be prepared. For some time I have been trying to wean the practice off me-to a point where it is independent but for minor tweaking and still makes me money. I’m not quite there, but am far enough along to be able to take the extra position. Where this will end up I’m not quite sure, but for this season, I am committing to stretching my management ability and creativity. So if you are in the mood for a Cappuccino pop down to Cee Cee’s on a Mon morning or Fri and Sun night and say hi.