Let go the distractions to be smarter.

Whilst clearing away decorations, I was half way up a ladder with an armful of fairy lights and a friend looked at me slightly suspiciously, he had just asked what my New Year’s resolutions were, to which I had responded that I had none. His face was one of astonishment and what looked a little like disappointment. ‘But you’re an Executive Coach, you help people develop and lead. You must have some?’

I went on to explain that I do have new goals and plans and things to let go for this year, but they are perhaps not in the conventional sense of, ‘more of this, less of that, do this, do that ‘etc..

Do you remember the story ‘A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson’ I asked my friend, his look now turned to one of mild bewilderment but he let me continue. It is a children’s book about an old lady with a house that she thinks is too small, it is suggested that she invites in all the farm animals. It is such a ‘squash and a squeeze’ that she lets them all out again. However, when they have gone she realises that what she has is enough, she has what she needs to do what she wants to do, and what’s more she has the space in which to do it.

Metaphorically I wonder if at this time of year we need to do our own version of a squash and a squeeze. What have we taken in over the course of 2018 that is creating headspace and distraction that no longer serves us professionally or personally?

Let go of the idea that you can’t change the world around you? You can. Lose the thought that you are not in charge of your life, ditch the thought that you can’t influence anything. Get rid of the idea that you are powerless to refine and improve your life. Ditch those habits and patterns of behaviour that hinder your ability to experience, learn, and enjoy all the different dynamics of a new year. Be in the moment, breathe and look at what you really have.

Recent research from the University of Texas has evidenced that the constant presence of a mobile phone is making us less smart. When we are focusing on an important task, if we switch our ‘phones to ‘do not disturb’ or even better put them in another room (apparently on the desk turned off doesn’t count) we actually become more intelligent – and in the moment – that is we truly rely on our abilities, knowledge, insights and skills. That’s a relatively easy daily step with an upside to boot.

Incidentally my New Year goals are about the new people I would like to meet, none of whom I know now and even less how I’ll get to meet them, new places and new learning and experiences (all good for growing the brain too)… and for at least an hour or so a day, ditching the phone.

‘Little and daily’, I said to my friend, ‘Yes, I get it!’ he replied, smiling.

Have a wonderful New Year.

For those of you that I know, I look forward to catching up soon and for those of you that I don’t, I hope that we meet.

My warmest wishes,


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