Coffee Philosophy

I buy my coffee from a small shop in town where they blend, toast and grind. Gail complains as it ‘stinks the car out’ when we bring it home, but I love the smell.

I have a moka pot that I use to brew it and other than water I never add anything else. When I am in the office it goes with me a thermal mug and every I time get a kick with the first sip. At home I have this arty cup but never get quite the same hit like the thermal mug. 

Lovely coffee..but when I first started drinking it I had powdered coffee with with milk and sugar.

This begs the question why have I reverted to something in its ‘base’ state when most of my tastes in life have become more complex? 

Over to you!

Painful Pinch Points

I am making no shame of this but the blog below is self therapy. I dont mind if nobody reads it.

The Coronavirus work for me started in the middle of February when it became apparent our colleagues in China were not going to be returning to work. As we purchase some of the component parts we need to finish off our products there was a lot of figuring out to be done. We ended up creating new tools on the fly so we could identify which customers we would effect and when. I had a dedicated team on this and also immersed myself to support their work. We worked tirelessly with colleagues in operations.

Point 1. Account managers were getting agitated. Every Monday I have a start of week and right off the bat one of the guys started really complaining about the accuracy of information questioning about peoples ability/commitment. It struck me as he didn’t give a care for the efforts that were been put in.

Point 2. Within a few days our tools were giving better information and I assigned support to each account manager. Some ignored this and begun to mis represent the information when advising customers.

Point 3. Our group leadership team were information about impact to customers, what we were doing and how we were negotiating. Not a problem usually but some days this was occupying four or five hours and this was impacting front line time. So I made a call and took a project manager and got him to replace my role in supporting sales. A week or so later in a meeting a person more senior to me called me out in front of everyone else. His real problem was my project manager didn’t get him a report until 6pm the day before.

As we all know the situation in Europe rapidly escalated. We then had customers closing, understandably without notice. So again a core team quickly adapt to this change. I think people finally began to realise we have to work together or so I thought.

Point 4. Preparations were being made to get as many folks home working as possible. I held a full group briefing and was shocked by the selfish attitude of a minority towards a demand to be released immediately (they weren’t set up to work from home at that point). This was in a room where a number of their co-workers would need to remain. So much for caring for your comrades!

This brings me to point 5 that happened yesterday. In a matter of fact way a colleague figured he would be financially better off to be furloughed (and thus not permitted to work) than take a cut that we had discussed the previous day but remain working part time.

I have worked hard. But I have questioned myself and my abilities. I cannot sleep properly. I am tired. But I am not sorry for myself – I need to learn, take action and move forward.

Given the above, I have an absolute empathy for the work everyone in the front line of the Coronavirus pandemic is doing. The pressure on them in a volatile situation is life or death and there is nothing more precious than life.

Business as Usual (Not)

Over the weekend I have reflected on a very difficult week at work where things have been said and done that has left me feeling like I have been kick out of the park.

Through a series of chances I found an advert for a job. This morning I penned my introductory email with the following (edited as there was more) text:

Firstly, I have had an unusual career so far, in that I have worked for one company for the past 28 years. However in that time I have had many different jobs, not all listed my CV. I often tell people the company either likes me or is trying to find me a job that I can actually do!

As the awareness of our impact on the world has increased, I cannot sit still and run business as usual. So what I have is a wide range of business experience and the passion to be making a positive difference. I hope this introduction suffices and I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days.

I like to think the above paragraphs convey a little about my personality, skills and sense of direction.

Work plays a massive role in my life, I need to be focussed and remain true to my personal core values while ever more cultivating opportunities for the vision I have for me.

Yesterday may have been business as usual but today is not.

The Longest Journey

I was listening to Clay’s Coaches Notes yesterday on the way to work. His Thursday episode was about his smack between the eyes sentence from a Sioux Indian saying ‘The longest journey you will ever make in your life is from your head to heart’.

As I pedalled along I reflected on this and the very intense week that was going at work. Without going into detail, we made major changes in 2019 cutting our cloth according to our income only to find the conditions worsening and having to do the same within the first weeks of the new year.

My immediate reaction was ‘yes, I get this’ but quickly followed ‘no, this is wrong for me it’s the other way round’. And here’s why:

I think a lot and feel passionate about certain topics – the bigger picture, right thing to do stuff, my base instincts. Like when you get out of side, smell the air and direction of the wind. The sense of freedom to do something. This is my heart and it seems to beat more strongly the older I get.

My head is rational, logical and conformist. I am restrained and don’t always say what I am thinking. In my job I will tow the line, I seek solutions when conflicts occur and take the monkey off other folks backs. I have to factor the practical things in life like money, mortgage and bills which add to my head.

But as Clay mentioned these words I reflected my heart is bigger but isn’t as dominant as a result my head inhibits my heart.

Therefore my longest journey will always be the other way round.

I woke up early this morning regretting, with my head, an email I had written yesterday to my boss from the heart. Do I regret after writing this blog entry? Hell no!

My Three Key Words for 2020

I have been putting together my intentions and goals for the year ahead. I am definitely not alone in this and imagine lots of people are thinking about resolutions. But resolutions should be more like evolutions as to set discrete goals from one year to the next does not make sense when there are long term things to achieve – for example planning for retirement, children’s college fund or re-training for a new career.

I have been a subscriber to the the Havana Cafe Podcast by @soulcruzer and @sarahbethhunt. In 2019 I learnt to have 3 words to guide the year ahead and although I had a go, in truth the words, I chose had little meaning to me as I had not properly understood how to use them and how they could impact me.

In the last few months of the 2019 a few things came together and my thought process started to become more defined. This was helped by writing a blog and the blogpalschallenge19 was my brain dump to the world. It was also Sarah’s messy morning routine of meditation which I quietly had a go at and will continue with. However, the defining word for me was ‘messy’, in that messy is actually okay when everything in life today is about instant perfection.

So here are my words for 2020 and what they mean to me:

Explore. Get lost. Rediscover my lost skill of curiosity and build up on it.

  • More reliance on instincts and intuition.
  • Dig beyond the headlines. Don’t be fed. Question – everything if needed.
  • Literally go and get lost. Ditch the iPhone & Garmin go and discover.

Proactive. Address procrastination be confident in taking action from the front.

  • See the path ahead and set about clearing the way. Define and communicate.
  • Learn new skills in business development. Crucial to Hoshin goals and I will need to seek help.
  • Balance decisions on time, cost, quality.

Circular. Start breaking from leading a linear life and move to a circular one.

  • Respect circle of of life, the changing seasons and get involved with my local environment.
  • Make better use of the tools and gadgets I have. Improve them before buying new.
  • Develop a project exploring how I can work within a circular economy.

These words form a bigger picture that goes beyond 2020 and are more affirming of a life I want to lead but also support my responsibilities to my family and my colleagues.

Time Slave to Time Lord – Chapter 1

I have long been fascinated with time. In particular how I knowingly ‘fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way’ (Time – Pink Floyd) but seem to do little about it. Time was at the back of my mind throughout the blog pals challenge, with my intention to write a piece about it.

My 2019 Christmas is befitting of this Blog

My fear is I will run out of the stuff before my time is up so I have been trying to get a grip of where this is. I came across the idea of routines through the Michael Hyatt podcast and this has been reinforced somewhat my including a little ‘messy’ meditation in my morning routine by Sarah Beth Hunt. As a result of this, I roughed out where my time is currently spent.

Green – bed; Blue daily routines; Orange – commuting; Red – work.

50 hours working

45.5 in bed (6.5 hours/night)

31 hours ‘free’ time

19 hours routines (Fridays includes chores)

17 hours morning and evening routines

5.5 hours commuting by bike

I decided to start here because time within a day is what I thinking of as ‘micro time’ and this ultimately expands out to ‘macro time’ over the course of months and years. My challenge areas are going to be:

Work – I feel 50 hours is sensible for the position I hold. This does not include business trips which impact the week significantly so I need to think about a trip routine. I need to add structure to my end of day routine and be be more diligent on my start of day – (task allocation and emails etc.)

Bed – this is a real worry area. The 6.5 hours is somewhat less and my quality of sleep is pretty bad. The truth is it has deteriorated over the years to the point I need help.

Free – this is the time I have available for me, family and friends. I could do with planning a little better as this is actually precious time that gets lost and wasted.

Routines – I have worked on this during recent months, encouraged by blogs and podcasts. It does require me to be diligent and I need to develop an end of day routine which may help my sleep.

I won’t make any bones about it but this blog will ramble on into a series as I get this figured out. I don’t need a book, an app or a guru – the only help I need is time….

My October Messy Morning Routine

In October I started a new journey set by Sarah Beth Hunt. I know of Sarah through the https://havanacafesessions.co.uk so was pretty tuned into Sarah’s style and having read her book the Boatman there is a lot of her thought processes that chime with me.

The routine mp3 is buried in my eclectic music collection!

I was there from the get go on Messy, Luminous Being which focuses on getting more breathing space in life – even joining the facebook group. Knowing my life is pretty hectic and taking on board my other influence (Michael Hyatt) I was kind of figuring I should focus on establishing a good morning routine and seeing if I could make it stick.

So my routine started by thinking about all the little things I need to do (shave, clean teeth, tea, eat porridge, pack bag) with a focus of being of out the door by 6:15 and cycling the 6 miles to work. On arrival, after I got changed, is where Sarah’s my ‘messy morning luminous morning’ download came in handy – I would pop my headphones on and go through the exercises followed by my treat – a cup of coffee from my local coffee shop, Blenders. This lasted for two weeks and then crashed as I had quite a few business trips running into mid November and I never went back to it.

On reflection I feel I was getting something from it. During the day I was a little more task oriented and but certainly less likely to jump to conclusions or straight to the answer. I know this for sure as we have a new product in development and I was sitting in a design review meeting and managed to hold back – allowing my colleagues to take the time to discuss and discover rather me jumping in.

It now brings me to December and I am having a bit of an episode with insomnia so this morning I tuned into Sarah’s podcast:

podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/messy-luminous-being-podcast/id1477217106

So my goal this week is to restart this journey and as Sarah explains it’s all about navigation and by changing your course by a small amount can give big results.