October already feels like a long time ago, so I’ll do my best to capture and reflect on the last month. Despite the usual delays in getting the posts up, I like the impact this monthly practice is having. I like that it forces me to take stock, to reflect and to document what I’ve been doing, thinking and feeling. The deliberate act of paying attention gives me insights into what fuels me and what drains me, and allows me to relatively quickly course-correct where needed.
What I’ve been doing
- The most significant achievement (and the one that has taken up much of my time in October) is (finally) recording, editing and publishing the first episodes of the Women Talk Work podcast.
- I went to my first No Lights No Lycra (thanks to my friend Paulina).
Developing new course content for YWCA Canberra’s She Leads Diploma.
- Writing emails to (future) Ella. I’ve been wanting to start a regular practice of writing letters to Ella (to be given to her at some point in the future) but never got around to it. I figured that a significant barrier was having to handwrite the letters, so instead I’ve set up a Gmail address for her and am sending her regular messages. The email format means that it’s quicker and easier to send short messages and there is no clutter!
I’ve started #another100happydays – a daily photo project capturing something or someone that made me happy. I enjoyed doing #100happydays so much earlier in the year, not just for the record it produced but also as a kind of daily gratitude and mindfulness practice.
I’m grateful for
- Hayfever medication, especially because it’s the first time in 3 years I’m not pregnant or feeding and can actually take it!
- Friends. This month I had a couple of great dinners with good girlfriends and some great phone chats with my dear friend Emily in Hobart. I love spending time with people that not only make me feel loved and valued but who help me to get greater clarity and insight about myself and the challenges/opportunities in my life.
I think I’ve posted this in a previous month, but being able to see the stars is often something I feel grateful for on my evening walks.
My job. On the morning of the latest She Leads Diploma class I woke up so grateful and kind of in (good) disbelief that I get to hang out with a group of awesome, smart, engaged women twice a month to talk leadership and to support them in their personal and professional development.
I’ve been thinking about
- How I want to feel rather than what I want to achieve/do. I’m still making my way through The Desire Map (I’ve stalled at the workbook portion), but this idea of reframing goals as desired feelings has made a big impact.
- Finding meaning through service. The interview with Tom Rath on the James Altucher podcast (see below) has got me thinking about how I might be able to create more meaning in my work by focusing on how I’m serving others.
- So many learnings and insights about myself and others to come out of the first Women Talk Work podcasts, including my propensity for the pre-emptive apology
I’m excited for
- Summer. The cubby house is (mostly) finished and the mud kitchen resurrected. The strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes are fruiting.
- Visually mapping my connected thoughts. In one of our great phone chats (see above) my friend Em provided me with some valuable insights about how my brain works and how I tend to form connections between whole heaps of ideas, and she also mentioned the idea of developing some kind of concept map. I’ve used mindmapping tools in the past but have felt restricted by the requirement to have a single central idea. After a bit of digging around I discovered Scapple and am excited to see how it helps me to get thoughts out of my head and make some sense of them!
I’ve been reading
- The 5 Love Languages. The concept of the 5 love languages is pretty much the only thing I remember from our pre-marriage counselling sessions and it really resonated with me. I finally got around to reading the book this month. It was ok but once you get the basic concept – that there are 5 different ways in which people prefer to express and receive love (acts of kindness, gifts, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation) – much of the detail in the book is unnecessary. I also have a bit of a gripe about the emphasis that the book has on romantic love/relationships with a spouse/partner in fulfilling an individual’s need for love.
- A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty.
I don’t think I would have elected to read to read this book, but for the fact that I went to see Rosie Batty talk at the National Library late last month. I knew it was going to be a hard read (and I actually felt kind of nauseous starting it), but felt that it was important for me to take the opportunity to better understand this woman and her story. Lots of tissues required.
- Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader. I’m still processing all my insights and learnings from this book, but as I’ve been telling anyone who will listen this book will have a massive impact on the leadership development experiences I try to design at YWCA Canberra. As someone whose default position is to think and to plan rather than act, it’s also motivated me to take more opportunities to learn by doing.
I’ve been listening to/watching
- James Altucher podcast interviews with Dan Buettner and Tom Rath
- Given my focus on getting my podcast up and running, I’ve been getting lots of tips from The Podcast Dude and The Podcast Method
- More Chat 10 Looks 3 of course
- And my new podcast discovery this month is Mia Freedman’s No Filter. I listened to great interviews with Rosie Batty, Georgie Gardner, Elizabeth Gilbert, Turia Pitt, Osher Günsberg and Maddison Missina.
Interested in joining this monthly reflection project? Pop on over to Lime Tree Bower for all the details and to share your post.