All posts by Vicki Grainger

About Vicki Grainger

An organisation coach specialising in regaining control at work. Replace feeling stressed and overwhelmed with a calm and confident can-do attitude.

You Never Know!

Whether you believe in fate and destiny or not, Steve Jobs was right when he said that you can only connect the dots when you’re looking back over what has come before.

Time and time again, we go through something in our lives and we cannot fathom how we will ever look back on that particular event and feel anything other than distain, but when we have the wisdom that time affords on our side, we realise that isn’t usually the case. Once some time has passed, we often find ourselves looking back on events with a fresh perspective.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
Keep in mind that you never know what is coming together for you. You might not get the job, the relationship or whatever it may be that you want today, but it doesn’t mean that something even more spectacular isn’t waiting just around the corner for you.
Keep the faith.

It’s That Time of Year Again…

This always happens! My birthday is in the not too distant past and the realisation hits that we’re now closer to the start of 2020 than we are to the start of 2019.

Anyone else’s Instagram feed filled with posts highlighting the fact that we only have 4 months of the year left to complete our goals for 2019?

This time last year, in my post, Success in Inevitable, I explained that now is the perfect time to review the goals we set for ourselves back in January – not only to see where we’re at, but also to re-examine where we want to be by the end of the year.

Don’t forget, when you’re completing your goal review, it’s just as important to give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve achieved so far as it is to identify what else you’d like to accomplish by the time you see the New Year in. And remember, now might be just the right time to stop overanalysing the things you’ve been putting off and take action, even if it’s the tiniest footstep, towards making these things happen.

When Drug Dealers Provide Blog Inspiration…

I was making the most of my lunch hour today and decided to take a seat on the Quayside Seaside. As I soaked up the sunshine, I settled in for a good half an hour of people watching. It’s always a great spot for this pastime, but it was particularly enjoyable today because I found myself sat next to a group of people who were openly talking about being drug dealers. To put this in context, the Quayside is also where the Law Courts are located here in Newcastle, and this specific group were on a break from their court proceedings and were discussing whether they were likely to be sentenced today or if it would be delayed.
As I sat, casually eavesdropping on their conversation, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would react if I ever found myself facing the prospect of jail. For them, a bad day at the office is getting arrested by the police whereas I can get stressed when I know a deadline is approaching fast. Making this comparison, as superficial as it may seem, got me thinking about how we are all personally responsible for identifying what we perceive to be the stress in any situation and we all deal with said stress in different ways.
I felt stressed just trying to comprehend the situation that this group of people found themselves in, but, to them, it was nothing to worry about because they had faced this type of thing before – something is only stressful if we perceive it in that way.
With this in mind, how can you apply this perspective to something you’re facing at the moment? Can you take a step back and reduce the factors that you are identifying as stressful?

The Boy on the Shed

I attended an event where Paul Ferris was speaking about his book, The Boy on the Shed. He used his 45 minutes on stage to give the audience a whistle-stop tour of his life story. From growing up surrounded by the troubles in Northern Ireland, to debuting at sixteen for Newcastle United before an injury ended his career early, he talked about the ups and downs of his life to date, including his recent health issues with both heart attacks and prostate cancer. His story was peppered with mentions of famous footballers such as Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan and he was remarkably vulnerable when he talked about how hard the death of his mother hit him.

It was an extraordinary tale and despite his life being marred by so much tragedy, his story is clearly one of reinvention, resilience and never giving up. One quote in particular has stuck with me and that’s ‘in the darkest moment, there is always a moment of light.”

I think this is something we can all be mindful of! There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how hard you have to look. For Paul, he continuously mentioned his amazing wife, Geraldine, who has been the rock by his side throughout everything. Who or what is it that creates the light during your darkest moments? Are there any specific examples that come to mind?

Working in Unison

I’ve been listening to On Purpose with Jay Shetty a lot recently and his interview with Mike Posner really resonated with me.

During their conversation they were discussing the interaction between the mind and intelligence, and Jay equated the mind to a child and intelligence to an adult. Using an example of being sleepy in the morning, Jay explained that the mind is the part of you that wants to stay in bed, while the intelligence is the part that knows you have to wake up and take care of your responsibilities. In any situation, it is the one that you’re feeding that wins out. Therefore, if you allow the child to get their own way all of the time, you have to be willing to deal with the consequences of that action.

I found this premise really interesting because it relates to so much of what I’ve read and listened to in the past, and yet it felt like I was hearing it for the first time. For example, if you’re going through a period where you’re talking negatively to yourself a lot, you’re feeding those thoughts and allowing them to take a further hold on you. If you consciously take a step back and use your intelligence to help you counteract those thoughts with evidence to the contrary, you are feeding that instead. I know I’m as guilty as the next person for failing to break that cycle as quickly as I should and move towards the healthy, more intelligent option!

As Jay and Mike’s conversation continued, another example was shared and this time it was being a driver in a car and using this to visualise how you’re part of a much wider system. The car represents the body, the intelligence is the engine and steering wheel – the system you’re using to control it, and you, as the driver, are the consciousness. Each part of it is separate but you need each element to work in unison to start moving.

Sometimes we can get so focused on one thing that it seems to take up all of our time and energy, and this is when other parts of ourselves start to suffer. Have you been focused so much on work lately that you’ve neglected your personal life? Have you been allowing your personal life to interfere with your work? Have you neglected your body with a lack of exercise or poor diet? Have you neglected your mind by not taking the time to do something for yourself and relax?

Which element of your life have you failed to care for recently and what are you going to do to rectify this?

Misunderstandings and Missed Opportunities

I have just finished listening to Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes on Audible. After struggling to get into the book in the beginning, I spent my Sunday cooking and baking, and getting more and more engrossed in the characters’ lives as the day went on.

The central love story of the book focuses on a couple who embark on an extra-marital affair that, rather unsurprisingly, seems doomed from the off. A combination of bad luck and well-meaning, but interfering friends prevent the couple from starting a life together – that is until a journalist stumbles across one of their love letters decades later and endeavours to find out what happened to them.

Throughout the book, you constantly find yourself wondering if they ever find happiness together, and it was obvious that this would never happen without clear communication between the two. There’s a moment in the book, where the main female character feels she has done all she can to show her lover how she truly feels and she perceives the ball to be in his court. Due to a number of events, her lover never finds out about her attempts to reach him and he interprets her silence as rejection.

It got me thinking about situations we might find ourselves in where we’re not as open and honest as we could or should be with the other people involved. When was the last time you held back saying what you really felt out of fear?

The example from this book provides some food for thought because if either one of the characters had refused to take no for an answer and had reached out just one more time, their lives might have been completely different.

Misunderstandings and the fallout from them occurs when you don’t talk openly and instead interpret what the other person is thinking based on your notion of the situation. We can never truly know what another person is thinking unless we ask.

Regret is something that can eat away at you when you look back on missed opportunities – whether it’s matters of the heart or something else. With that in mind, is there anyone you haven’t been completely honest with of late? Can you push yourself to reach out to them one more time, explain why you feel the way you do and see what happens?

On The Right Track

“You can’t go around being what everyone expects you to be, living your life through other people’s rules, and be happy and successful.” Wayne Dyer
This is such a simple and logical premise, and yet it’s something that we all find so hard to put into action.

When did you last agree to do something, not because you wanted to, but because someone asked it of you or expected it of you?

We’re all guilty of doing this from time-to-time. We all find it hard to say no and we hate to feel like we’re letting people down, but committing to being yourself isn’t a bad thing.

If you commit to yourself and your goals, you’re on the right track. Agreeing to things that take you off this path, move you out of alignment with what you truly want and leads to frustrations.

You plant the seeds for growth in your own life with the thoughts you think, and if you’re bogged down with feelings of anger and resentment this is what you’ll attract. And, we all know these feelings only gets worse when you find yourself in a situation that you never wanted to be in because you agreed to something you never wanted to do in the first place…

If you’re focused on what will make you happy, that is what you’ll get, so keep that in mind the next time someone in your life asks you do something that will take you out of alignment with what you really want.

Otherwise you would never have moved…

Last week I said it felt a little surreal getting back into our normal routine after the wedding, but, in all honesty, it’s been a struggle.

With wedding planning done and dusted, I have found myself at a little bit of a loose end and wondering what I can do to fill my time. Don’t worry, the irony isn’t lost on me because I know I was downright craving this time before the wedding but, isn’t that always the way?!

My feelings have been somewhat exacerbated by the fact that, on the week I returned to work, a colleague handed in her notice and had started a new job within the week. I’m not gonna lie, I was incredibly jealous that she was going off to start a new and exciting challenge, but, this morning, I saw this quote on Instagram:

“I had to make you uncomfortable, otherwise you never would have moved” – The Universe

It reminded me that sometimes we need a good old push to get out of our comfort zone, and feelings of frustration are a sign that something needs to change.

How could the way you’re feeling right now be a sign? If you’re happy, what can you keep doing more of? If you’re sad, what do you need move away from? If you’re frustrated, what can you do to make a change?

I know I need to be doing more to pursue my interests outside of work, and to get back into the things that I spent my time on before wedding planning took over my life. For example, I haven’t picked up a pack of oracle cards in months and that’s not like me.

Are there any hobbies and interests of yours that you’ve neglected because other parts of your life have taken over lately? What can you do today to get back into them?

The Real Work Begins

We returned from our honeymoon just over a week ago and it feels very surreal to be getting back into our normal routine after such a life-changing event!

The high we experienced on our wedding day lasted for ages and then the excitement of continuing our honeymoon around Italy took over. When we landed back in Manchester, I started to wonder what had really changed… In reality, the answer is that not very much has changed at all, and yet, absolutely everything has changed at the same time.

As a little girl, you dream about your wedding day and being lucky enough to marry your Prince Charming. I got to do that and exchanging our wedding vows is a memory I will cherish forever, but I also know that I need to cherish the sense of happiness and contentment that sits with me every day now.

Alex and I made an important commitment to one another in front of our friends and family, but now that the day is over, the real work begins. We’re incredibly lucky to have met theone person that we want to spend the rest of our lives with, and although I’m dreading the day it happens, I know the newlywed joy will start to fade and the grind of daily life will start to take its toll once again. When that inevitably happens, we’ll need to make sure we remember to love each other, each and every day, in the same way as we have up until now. We must remember to never take one another for granted and to treat each other with the love and respect we have shared so that we continue to grow together.

There’s no getting away from the fact that relationships take work but the rewards definitely make it all worthwhile. With this in mind, can you honestly say you have been giving the relationships, romantic or otherwise, in your life the care and attention they deserve? If the answer is no, what can you do to rectify this?

Everything is as it should be

When was the last time you ranted to a friend or family member about how something was unfair or just downright wrong?

Sometimes it can be really hard to remember that everything is just as it should be.

When we’re much further down the line, we can find ourselves looking back and realising that we wouldn’t be where we are without that particular event taking place. For me, times were hard in the run up to my decision to leave London, but I know now that everything needed to play out in that exact way. If it hadn’t, I might have been happy plodding along down South and I wouldn’t have moved to Newcastle. If I hadn’t moved to Newcastle when I did, I might not have got the job that I got, and if that hadn’t happened I might not have met Alex.

At the time, things can appear to be annoying or upsetting, but time allows us to look back with a more objective pair of eyes.

If you’re struggling with how something is right now, remember that the pain will ease as time goes on, and if you can, look for ways in which you can start to quietly accept what is right now.