This morning I had a magical bank holiday wander around our village Bramhope, in West Yorkshire. Armed with water, a rucksack and a container with a lid, I set out for walking and blackberry picking.
As I walked and wandered, I pondered. It’s a day for pondering and new beginnings; with my youngest son moving into his new flat in Birmingham and my eldest probably going to settle in New Zealand.
As I picked the blackberries I saw many parallels to blackberry picking and life in general…….because I love metaphors I thought I would stretch this one to the limit and share ten things about seizing opportunities:
- The best ones are usually surrounded with nettles, be careful, tread carefully
- Don’t pick where everyone else picks, find your own place
- The biggest ones are not always the sweetest
- Don’t stretch too far to reach them, because you might fall in the ditch
- Slow down and just look and wait and as if by magic they seem to appear from nowhere
- Stop when you have enough to make something you enjoy
- The crumble tastes better when you can share it with others
- When you look at what you have gathered, you might have a few scratches and stings, but it’s worth it
- The joy can be in the picking as well as eating the crumble
- Remember there is always enough for everyone out there, gather what you will use
There are some lessons in life that I seem to learn and re-learn, no matter how many times I go through the cycle. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist and this has sometimes lead to stress, unnecessary work and frustration. I have rationalised that my striving to give 120% (when people don’t even notice if I drop to 80%) is unnecessary and I need to “give myself a break” but somehow this keeps popping up. It is no doubt in my DNA.
It has been such a lesson and is quite a funny story. My eldest son, Alex has been on the other side of the world for nearly two years and was coming home for Christmas, bringing along his girlfriend. To say I have been excited has been an understatement (btw if my younger son Joe is reading this – we were looking forward to seeing you too!) I had been cleaning and tidying his room in readiness, buying bits and bobs, making the bed cosy (the cold will be a shock!). Yesterday I walked in and thought “Ooh that lovely air freshener will smell nice in here” … a final finishing touch.
So I sprayed and stood back, anticipating how welcoming the room was looking. To my horror, what appeared on the wall was a huge splatter of oily residue from the air freshener. No matter how hard I washed and scrubbed it persisted. Not in a position where it could not be noticed or hidden by furniture, I was faced with having to paint the whole wall. Why oh why could I not have just left it be?
In my professional life, not recognising when good is good enough has also happened and I wonder who else can relate to it?
- “Tweaking” and delaying a report until all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed – rather than getting something out that will promote discussion and others getting involved
- Working on a design for much longer than anticipated, to get it “perfect” rather than relaxing before the delivery
- Adding more and more thoughts to a blog, when really there was not that much to say (gilding the lily?)
So with that last thought I will leave it here and encourage you all to give yourself a break and recognise when good is good enough. It is not a perfect world and sometimes you just need to be a little less perfect!