October 19, 2012 is a milestone event in our lives. It's the day that my husband Steve retired from his corporate career. His company hosted a wonderful party for him last night, and it was rewarding to meet his ex-colleagues and staff and hear them recount stories of their time working with him.
Steve always said he wanted to start his first day of "freedom" at St. George's Heights, sipping champagne and watching the sunrise. Frankly, the last thing I wanted to do after a very late night, was get up after only four hours sleep to watch the sunrise ... but I am so glad I did. Yes, when the alarm went off at 5.15am, it was a rude awakening, but dutifully I got up, dressed and ready to go. I didn't want to spoil this day for him.
Driving there was so easy. No other mad people were up at that time, and for the first time ever, all the traffic lights were green! We parked up, and walked to our favourite spot, and marvelled at the beauty of the calm water, the red sky and the lights of all the homes and offices around us and the surrounding area.
Apart from the pop of the champagne cork, the only other sound was that of the birds. Three or four rabbits came out and ran around the grass, and we sat, deep in our own thoughts, and watched the sun rise. "This is the best part of the day", Steve told me, and I had to agree - it was spectacular. He has seen it regularly on his early morning walks, and I suspect he will spend a little more time enjoying it in the future, without the need to get to the office hanging over his head!
During the lead up to this day, many people have asked me what impact having Steve at home is going to have on me, particularly as I work from home, and what is Steve going to do? When I respond that I am honestly looking forward to having him around more, and that as he has no idea yet of what he will do, I really don't know, they express surprise, concern, and sometimes their counsel!
The reactions have been interesting. Some have said that Steve has taken a brave decision. To me, this is just a new beginning - the start of a new chapter in our lives - and we are looking forward to the opportunity to shape it into something meaningful for us. And it got me thinking. Are you about to embark on a new beginning? Are you feeling excited about it, or slightly anxious? Or perhaps you have to make some decisions and you just can't see the wood for the trees? I've been in that situation many times. I understand how it feels. I know that deep down you have the knowledge and resources to move forward - and I can help you find that answer within yourself. If you'd like to find out more about how my Wellness & Performance Coaching can help you, contact me by email: email@example.com. And while you are waiting for a response, my weekly wellness tips and hints newsletter is a tremendous resource - just pop your details into the contact form and start receiving them straight away.
BANG!! We all turned around in the gym to the direction from which the noise had come, and there was one of our group members, lying flat on his back, glasses having flown through the air and landed some distance away. No one is sure what happened - we were getting ready to do our end-of class stretches, chatting amongst ourselves, and all we know is he was talking one minute, and on the floor the next.
The staff were fantastic. Instantly, they appeared from all corners of the room. Monte, the owner, took control, grabbing the telephone on his way so it was ready to hand if he needed to call an ambulance. Monte knelt on the floor next to the guy, started talking to him, while checking vital signs, all the time reassuring him and telling him to lie still and not get up. He was asking him questions - such as “do you know what day it is?” and “roughly what time is it?” - to see if his condition was getting worse or improving.
Some of the members were suggesting an ambulance be called. When Monte didn’t respond (although he still had the phone in his hand), the members looked at Howard, who responded “he’s got it” - meaning, it’s under control, and if Monte feels he needs an ambulance, he’ll call for it.
Seeing that Monte was able to cope, Howard moved us to a different part of the gym, and took us through our stretches. As our class disbanded, the next class was coming in. There was no verbal exchange between Monte and Howard, they’ve just worked together long enough to have that level of trust between them, and to each do what was required.
With Howard in charge of the room, Monte asked Hayden, a student in his first hour of student placement, to assist by locating and photocopying the member’s file. This meant personal details and exercise history was available to the ambulance crew should they need it.
Next, Monte wanted the area coned off, and the first aid box and gloves brought to him. Having spent about 15 minutes with the guy, observing and communicating with him, Monte felt it appropriate to ring for an ambulance. The member wanted to sit up - Monte stayed calm, gently, reassuring him and still telling him to lie still. As he stayed on the phone to the emergency services control room, Monte asked a member of the class that had just finished if they could please wait on the street to meet and direct the ambulance crew.
When they arrived, the ambulance crew immediately went to work, checking vital signs, asking questions, getting as much detail as possible.
A gym incident report was filled out, and a list of all the members who had been in the class that day was attached to it, with their contact numbers for future reference if required.
Finally, before the ambulance crew took the member to hospital, Monte spoke to his doctor and wife to advise them what had happened.
What criteria do you have for choosing the gym you want to exercise in? Perhaps you want state-of-the-art equipment, or a personal trainer to work one-on-one with you? I wanted somewhere close to home with great equipment AND with qualified, friendly, professional staff who showed me that it was as important to them that I achieve my goals as it is to me. It never occurred to me that I might be taken ill at the gym ... but how reassuring to know that in the event I am, the staff will remain calm and work together to take care not just of me, but of everyone else in the room.
Have you ever watch a young child take it's first step? Seen them hesitate, uncertain of what might happen, then take another step, then another? And as the steps increase, the look on their face changes from one of fear, to uncertainty, to intrigue, to joy and then sheer excitement - with lots of screams and giggles included. The adults standing near by give encouragement and cheer them, which boosts their confidence to take another step. With their support team beside them, believing in them and celebrating their success, their confidence continues to grow - until their fears disappear altogether and their parents have to grab them to stop them walking into danger!
We gain confidence in many ways - usually when we achieve something in line with our values and beliefs. Making decisions makes us confident, it moves us forward, and as we move forward, we gain confidence.
It's only when we lack confidence that we begin to feel doubt and that's when we step outside of ourselves to seek recognition. When we lack confidence, we are indecisive and uncertain.
We doubt ourselves and make decision making difficult, asking ourselves "what will happen if I make the wrong decision?".
Just assess the situation you find yourself in, and make the decision in light of what is best for you in that moment. We learn from everything we do - so take the first step, and trust your internal guidance system to take you where you need to go. Like a child, every step forward brings greater confidence, and if you can surround yourself with supportive friends, they will cheer you on your way.
You will find that, when your confidence is at it's peak, you are open to new things, moving forward and positively energised. You are calm, acknowledging and yet strong and powerful at the same time. You are living life in accordance with your values, living life on purpose, and with gratitude.