Mind the Gap
A simple statement to help the accident prone? Or a big life question – asking us to pay attention to the space between where we are and where we want to be? Or both? And more?
Yes, my ongoing love affair / deep delve into all things Brené, have had me thinking again – and all week has been placing interesting thought pieces into my view, asking me to think about the gap between the reality of the situation in hand, and where I think I want to be. And there have been some pretty big things to consider.
First up, Brené herself, suggesting that ‘minding the gap’ is a daring strategy – asking us to recognise the difference between what we say, and what we do, the difference between the values we say that matter and the values we actually practice.
For me right now, this is challenging on a personal level, wholeheartedly linked to my big question of ‘who am I now?’ I am aiming to ensure that I practice ‘Being Nicki’ – ie true to myself – but this is a real work in progress, so all I can do is try each day, to do things that ring true to that.
My two big revelations this week, as I work through this? The first one is no real surprise at all, but it was interesting to see it come out so clearly in my ‘new’ world – where I really could be whoever I wanted to ‘play’ at being.
I hate huge social events. I feel awkward and nervous and socially inept when I walk into a room filled with people who all seem to know each other. I’m always underdressed and I never have the right accessories. I sit nervously on the sideline of other conversations, wondering how long I have to stay to appear polite. I hang on to any small group that I know, and I anchor myself with a glass of wine, or a plate of food so that I have something to do.
I’ll still go, I’m sure, to these things, sometimes. The view from the Hotel ballroom balcony was spectacular – even in the rain – and the small group of people that I have connected with were as gracious and friendly as ever, it really is just a case if it’s me, not them. I just feel uneasy. Give me a kitchen table, a mug of tea and three or four other people max, and I’m good, really. I can even hold a sensible, interesting conversation, but more than that.. well, it’s a case of not ‘Being Nicki’.
And this links in to Revelation Number 2. I don’t actually like drinking that much. I’ve spent far too long, drinking far too much over-priced, sub-standard alcohol – to hide, to give myself something to do with my hands, to take the edge of, and out here, well, it just seems silly. Even pretty rubbish wine is seriously over-inflated, price wise, and it gives me a headache, and I don’t get enough sleep anyway – to deal with the little monsters when they shout the house down in the middle of the night for the toilet – so… I think I’m pretty much stopping drinking. I don’t think I have a serious ‘problem’ that needs to be managed (feel free to disagree…), I’m not trying to make anyone feel awkward about the fact that they like drinking. I just think I’m going to save my drinking. For a time, and a place, when it’s really good alcohol. With really good company. And then, well… maybe, just maybe, I’ll enjoy a glass or two. And this decision – this sits very nicely with the ‘Being Nicki’ plan.
And on a professional level? Well, this whole Mind the Gap plan has had me thinking about the difference between strategy (the game plan – what do we want to achieve, how are we going to get there) and culture (less about what we want to achieve, more about who we are). Answering the question of whether a company is ‘walking the talk’ can be hard, and very uncomfortable – but my feeling is that honest conversations here are what can drive real change. Otherwise, the ‘gap’ between practiced values and aspirational values is where both employees and clients can easily get lost.
So – Where are you right now?
A Huff Post article (To anyone who thinks they’re falling behind in life) feels a bit like a flip side of this Mind the Gap thinking. (Sometimes, where you are right now, is just where you are meant to be.) Read it. “Most of our unhappiness stems from the belief that our lives should be different… But sometimes the novel is not ready to be written because you haven’t met the inspiration for your main character yet…”
How’s that Having it All going?
Anne-Marie Slaughter became a media sensation when she wrote this article in The Atlantic about how women can’t have it all. Her husband wrote a great follow up article ‘Why I put my wife’s career first‘ which is both engaging and inspiring. “A female business executive willing to do what it takes to get to the top – go on every trip, meet every client, accept every promotion, even pick up & move to a new location when asked – needs what male CEO’s have always had: a spouse who bears most of the burden at home…”
I have a personal thank you to add in here – to someone who very eloquently explained her frustration with her old corporate world, and it just rang true with me. Why did she uproot her family and make a major change in her working life set up? “I was angry at the working world for not allowing me to be a connected mother and powerful business influencer.” I get that feeling. And I know that this amazing woman is a huge positive influence on everyone who is lucky enough to cross her path. Ho!
And then there is that whole Parenting thing…
And the Parenting Skills Gap. The over-arching theme of this Guardian article hit me right between the eyes. We study, we train, we actively go out and ‘learn’ how to be better at work… yet somehow the idea that we might need to ‘learn’ how to be a better parent is too shameful to admit… I’m up for whatever help I can get.
And a new gap?
Little man has lost a tooth. Yes, the tooth fairy will be visiting him for the first time, before his big sister (huge social no no me thinks) – courtesy of a small scooter incident. And that gap, in his smile, is one that I would really rather have been able to avoid for a little while longer!
Phew, enough honesty for the week?
I love books. Always have. Always will. I generally prefer books to people (my best friends and hubby will happily attest to this fact). And I love hunting out beautiful and interesting children’s books to read to the kids. Well, Oliver Jeffers is, in my opinion, a genius. Check out his beautiful books and images.
If this was not lovely enough, the Hubby has excelled himself and has bought me a signed, first edition copy of his new book A Child of Books. I think this is MY book. I am SO excited about getting my hands on this come Christmas time (yes, I do have to wait that long… agghhhhh)
And finally – Questions…
I have so many going round i my head right now… so I’m going to post some here. Fancy answering?