A phrase that is perhaps very fitting for me today as I’m sat here on the last working day before @WildFigSolns blog curation (for #blogcarnival as part of this year’s #cipdldshow) writing my blog about ‘making every day a learning day’. I’ll take a punt and say the definition of ‘early bird’ has been given to someone else on this occasion.

But that’s cool. I’m ok with that.  I’m not naturally the early bird and if truth be told these days I’d much rather be the second mouse.

Why?

Because the reality is that I’m a bod that struggles with balance!

And as I’ve reflected on some of the tools that have reconnected the self-awareness I can kinda see why …

…I’m a bit of a learning junkie (with learner being my top talent in Strengthsfinder),

…I’m a high D or Driver (in DiSC personality preferences) and

…a likely Activist (in KOLB learning styles).

I’m sure you’re getting the theme. I’m a bod that thrives on doing more, more, more. I’m a bod that gets motivated by deadlines. Lots of deadlines, for many things, all week long. I like to learn. I like to do a good job. I like seeing results. I guess like many others I’ve likely been conditioned with that ‘driver’ mentality to achieve, maybe cajoled that way with many years in business or educated in a way that focussed me to look for the next achievement. Perhaps sub-consciously I was always keen to be the early bird that catches the worm.

But as coaching has taught me it doesn’t matter where it came from, but where its going to go…

For years I’ve been faithful to ‘type’ and as a consequence I’d question if it has always enabled me to be true to myself. Possibly even stinted my growth at times. Tools in learning can be an important feature – certainly for raising self-awareness, but they are close to useless if you choose to do nothing with them. For me, I’ve learnt the environments that suit my learner style – the ones that enable that strength to truly flourish and the types of learning that enables me to stay balanced (reflection!!), I’ve also learnt how to tame the driver in me in order to have more balanced and effective relationships with people and I’ve learnt to appreciate the natural reflector in me when tackling something new as opposed to forcing the ‘I must experience this to learn’ that may come from an activist tendency. I find that the key with any of these learning tools is about balance. Balance in application of the results, balance in adaptation that comes from this, balance in ‘being’ as a result of the learning. 

So whilst I’ll admit there’s a little bit of angst within as I’m writing this so close to ‘the deadline’, there’s also a little bit of joy. Joy as a consequence of seeing a big life lesson unfolding before my very eyes and into my everyday behaviours. A lesson in ……slowing down, in being selective with deliverables, in focussing on one thing at a time, in enjoying each of those experiences, in learning from past mistakes, in having space to cultivate the thinking, in continually re-evaluating my priorities and in enjoying every moment of the ride. A lesson in balance.

The second mouse gets the cheese …

…is a reminder for me to be cautious, to recall my purpose and serves as a warning when I’m looking to get a quick reward.

So whilst I’m approaching my time at #cipdldshow on 10th & 11th May, I’ll throw my musing from this saying out there, and get a bit of group accountability by letting you know my plans :

  1. Slow down – It’s true there’s a wealth of information available over the course of 2 days… from conference to exhibition content. But the reality is it’s impossible to get through it all so there’s little point in rushing. My mantra for information digestion – slow down! If you see me pacing between things feel free to call me out!
  2. It’s not always a good idea to be first in – Note from above – I’m not a natural early bird. Arrival at Olympia first thing provides a logistical challenge for me. Arrival a little later enables me to arrive fresh as a daisy, enjoy the active time I spend there as well preserve some energy for Wednesday evening drinks, musings and general collaboration about the event with fellow people bods.
  3. The one who rushes will get caught in a trap – Just as the poor little first mouse did, taking some time out to reflect and prepare in advance will make sure that I don’t get caught in a trap. So in taking time to digest what’s there, who’s there, what sessions are important to attend will mean that I literally don’t get caught in a trap of being somewhere that I’ve no interest in being at all.
  4. Haste makes waste – for me I see the impact of this on relationships. Acting too quickly may impact the blossoming of superb relationships. Perhaps they’ll take longer to blossom or maybe not blossom at all if approached with haste. Connecting with others is as valuable as the information that is being shared. Note to self – make time to connect, properly connect. And if this means less ‘cards’ and more deep connections then that’s a good thing!
  5. Learn from the mistakes of others – People are there to learn, to soak up information, to collaborate, to connect, to promote their services. A lesson from a friend that is jumping to mind is to be aware of who and what you are engaging with, be respectful of that person’s purpose and in connection remain aware of their needs as well as my own.

The purpose of @WildFigSolns blog carnival was to get people’s thinking flowing, to get that happening out loud, and ultimately to help shape our purpose for going to the event or following #cipdldshow. So as I’m bringing this blog to a close I’m hoping that this, as well as the blogs of many others, has indeed enabled your thinking to flow and helped to shape your purpose for the event. I know that in sharing my thoughts it has certainly helped shape mine.

On a final note …

…Who knows what can happen if you take the choice to be the second mouse… you never know you may just get the cheese!

“Live as if you were dead tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”

– Mahatma Gandhi