It’s only gone and turned Friday AGAIN! Here’s another Friday Fess-up of what this free workerbee – or Career Pioneer :) – has been up to this week.
Hope it’s been a good one for you!
This week I have mostly been… trying to get hold of Ikea so that they can come and replace the custom counter they delivered which has been cut exactly to size… only the wrong bloody way round (RAGE); writing that ridiculously long post I blogged on Wednesday; doing art; hanging out; and doing some soul searching. Here’s another pretty table I made to make me look busier than I am…
On Sunday, we discovered one of those magical, well-kept secrets of London that you can’t believe has been right under your nose the whole time. I’ve been to Hampstead Heath dozens of times, since it’s only just up the road from where I grew up. It turns out just across the road is the Hill Garden and Pergola, an enchanted garden with raised walkways, mysterious creeping vines and majestic domes that give the whole place the feeling of a lost city or fallen civilisation. It’s really cool.
On Monday I had a whole day of running round London with the amazing Niki Kopcke, the founder of Mazi Mas, a social enterprise I have been advising. Mazi Mas helps support migrant women in London with employment opportunities through pop-up dining events showcasing the amazing, authentic home-cooking of these talented chefs. They are currently doing a month-long residency at The Yard in Hackney. Definitely check it out if you can, you will have some yummy food and meet some incredible people!
On Tuesday I had my last ever Illustration class at Central St Martins. If you want to see what the difference between believing and not believing in yourself, I think this is a pretty good example. At the beginning of the class we went round the room and talked about our illustration experience. Everyone said they hadn’t illustrated in ages…by which they meant they hadn’t “illustrated” specifically, but had been busy painting, drawing, graphic designing etc. When I said I hadn’t drawn since school they didn’t seem to believe me, until they saw this:
And then, just 10 weeks later, my final project:
Thanks so much to my teacher (@martimcgrath), my lovely and supportive classmates and my sister, for forcing me to sign up with her and then not going to most of the classes leaving me to fend for myself way outside my comfort zone. These classes run in the evenings and I should have signed up years ago. Yes, if you have work on you might not make every class, but it’s pretty cool to engage a whole other side of your brain for a change.
On Thursday I spent a lot of time doing something that kind of makes me cringe but that ultimately is the whole point of this transition period. I’ve never been very good at self-reflection. I’m really good and telling other people how to fix their lives, but I can never seem to apply the same principles to my own life. My friend Jen sent me a link to a free online course on Harvardx called Unlocking the Immunity to Change. As you know I made loads of resolutions at the beginning of the year and have had mixed results. I love productivity stuff and personal improvement gimmicks so I signed up.
It hasn’t been what I expected at all. The program is based on the research by the two course leaders, who are both developmental psychologists, that shows that people can continue learning well into adulthood and are capable of significant change even in their advanced years. Their method distinguishes itself from the typical ways of forming habits (the “resolution” model and the “willpower” model) and is based on identifying the underlying reasons you have resisted change in the past.
At first I was going to work on a goal that was relatively superficial – I wanted to get into the habit of meditating. This would have been great, but when I asked my friends and family what they thought I needed to work on the answer was pretty clear. So (and it makes me feel a little ill admitting this to all of you but I think that’s kind of the point of the exercise) the goal I am trying to achieve is: to get better at giving myself credit for being who I am instead of caring about what other people think and what other people do.
It’s a biggie, for me at least, and looking back over my posts for the last few months maybe it’s obvious that this was the goal I needed to work on. The course has been really powerful in revealing to myself the pervasiveness of the effects on my life of not living in alignment with this goal. I’m really excited to make progress on this.
On Thursday night I went to a talk at the Spectator about The Always On Generation: How Technology is Changing Childhood. They kindly gave me a free ticket since I was going as research for my novel.
There were some really interesting points made by the panel, most of whom thought the net effects of being “always on” were broadly positive. Personally I think that the net is doing something funny to our brains (read Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way we Think, Read and Remember and/or watch this great video summarising the key point of the book by Epipheo).
I’ve got to go see some puppies in Liverpool now (don’t ask) but here’s a quick list of the stuff I’ve been reading this week…
- Is it Worth Being Unhappy in Your Profession?
- Women are squarely in the picture where law and technology combine
- Tour a Minimalist Apartment
- What the hell are you doing? – on leaping without a safety net and leaving a job even if you loved it once
- 10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s – crowdsourced advice from 600 people over 37.
- Feeling Burned Out? The One Change That Could Fix Everything – I usually hate articles with this kind of title, but this one is interesting.
- 10 Rules for Startup Bloggers
- Snoozers Are, In Fact, Losers
- Self Acceptance: the key to a happier life?
Have a great weekend!