The cooling brush on skin of the woods’ chill changes the atmosphere of an otherwise hot sunny day. Everything slows down. Sounds are muted. Shade yawns comfortably. The crunch underfoot of twigs breaking crackles. Deeper in we go. Though the paths are vague, often concealed, there’s an undeniable way through. We just have to take it. Sunbeams flit in and out of the tree tops, changing the shape of the woods’ carpet, throwing us off track.
A walk in the woods, simple as it seems, has much to teach us about how we walk in our work life. How many times do we enter the workplace to feel the chill of uncommunicative leaders or teams? How frequently do we set out on a path of a project, a task, a job, to be thrown off track by an apparent emergency flitting in that changes the shape of our day, or week? As we cast our eyes around for the way through, do we see nothing but concealed paths, or too many paths to take? Are we spinning in circles, stuck in the woods?
As a work life mentor, I see many people walking through the woods, unsure how to take the chill out of uncommunicative work colleagues and bosses. If they focus on getting others to change, it’s likely to go nowhere. If on the other hand, they take steps to change their own attitude – become the warm person, the communicative one, the one interested in what others are doing, thinking, are concerned about, then there’s a chance the chilly people respond. It’s hard to keep up a cold front, when someone approaches you with warmth.
As for emergencies flitting in to change the shape of your day, at first it’s good to stand still. Reset your bearings. Get accustomed to the new lay of the land. If the emergency is unstoppable, then arm yourself with sticks (your wits) to beat a path through the bracken. There is always a way through. You just have to take it. Indecision is no-one’s friend in the face of an emergency.
Then there’s the choice of too many paths. Even on a regular day. Which one is the best one to take? How can we be sure? Start by the process of elimination. Cull those you know instinctively or from experience are the poorest option. Ideally you are finally faced with two. Either, or. We are naturally drawn to one path or another in the woods. Perhaps one appears safer, more interesting, more daring, more rewarding. Take the one you are drawn to more naturally, and stick with it. No time for regrets or what ifs, or perhaps the other was better. Making a decision on the path to take, in itself demonstrates confidence and certainty. This is the beginning of your way through.
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© Amanda Yensa Manor 2015