Appreciation

Something a little different: 10 on 10 Photography Project

If you've been following along with the 'Summer Series: Who are you in 2015?' I've been posting of late you'll know that we've talked about your strengths, interests and values and how knowing these can make a big difference to your confidence, your self belief, your goals and your decisions.

I've been playing along and posting my own thoughts and notes, doing each of the activities as we go along and despite having done this kind of thing many times before, I have - as I always do- discovered and rediscovered little things about myself that seem very pertinent to life as it is at the moment. 

One of these is an interest in things aesthetic.  This has never been a driving force in terms of what I do work wise.  It's more of a hobby that manifests in fun with clothes, home interiors, my garden and taking photos.  But when life gets busy, as it does, I don't always get to these things as often as I'd like and I think that leaves a gap in my positive experience of life.

So, when some of my fellow graduates of the Clever Cookie School of Blog (a nicer group of people you never would meet) suggested getting together to create a photography challenge to incorporate into our blogs, I excitedly put my hand up to join in. It's gives me the goal I need to put aside some time for taking photos, testing my skills and learning a little more, and a lovely reason to sit and edit and have fun with the aesthetic side of this blog. 

So today I bring you my first 10 on 10 Photography Session.  This is a day of photos that I took last month when one of my dearest friends and her two small people joined my littlies and I on a jaunt to Phillip Island and my parents' farm.  At the end of the photos you'll see a  link to a fellow Clever Cookie graduate who is also participating in the 10 on 10 photo challenge.  There are some terribly talented photographers in this group, so if you love beautiful pictures, please click on. 

Off to The Nobbies, a spectular headland on the southern side of the island.

Off to The Nobbies, a spectular headland on the southern side of the island.

Flora and fauna.

Flora and fauna.

It was a little chilly and spectacular coastline is perhaps not that exciting when you're under seven.

It was a little chilly and spectacular coastline is perhaps not that exciting when you're under seven.

Now that's spectacular.  And a little dangerous.  Rock fishermen are lost regularly, sadly.

Now that's spectacular.  And a little dangerous.  Rock fishermen are lost regularly, sadly.

Farm time.  Hello boys.

Farm time.  Hello boys.

Off to pick mulberries from the very old and very prolific mulberry trees.  We estimate that these are over 100 years old and produce bucket loads (literally) of mulberries every summer.

Off to pick mulberries from the very old and very prolific mulberry trees.  We estimate that these are over 100 years old and produce bucket loads (literally) of mulberries every summer.

The mulberries are good, but the climbing is the best part.

The mulberries are good, but the climbing is the best part.

My littlest man having fun and looking a little more angelic than he is.

My littlest man having fun and looking a little more angelic than he is.

The produce.  Delicious but messy.

The produce.  Delicious but messy.

Big boys.  I love this photo.

Big boys.  I love this photo.

And we're done.

And we're done.

Next in the photography circle is the lovely Sally at Glimpses of Lately.  She's shot some beautiful photos of her kids enjoying country life!

And as today is Tuesday I'm also linking up with the lovely Jess @ Essentially Jess for #IBOT

 

 

 

 

Is this the meaning in life?

Time for some Saturday inspiration.  You might have seen this? It's comedian, actor and musician Tim Minchin's take on finding the meaning in life.  It's inspiring, funny, profound, smart and at times just a little bit rude. 

I first heard it (audio only) when it was broadcast on Radio National's Life Matters last October. Hubby has the radio on in the bathroom every morning and usually it's just background noise for me but as I showered one day Tim's words pierced my consciousness and I stood there transfixed, listening, when I should have been getting on with my day.  

I hunted down the YouTube video and have watched it several times since for inspiration and as a great reminder of some of the important things in life.  Tim's world view won't align with everyone's (although it certainly does with mine) but no matter what you believe about finding the meaning in life, this is bound to give you a laugh.

If you don't do video, you can find the transcript on Tim's site here


Say thanks, feel good. Gratitude for managers of the big and the small.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary
— Margaret Cousins, author

My six year old son is becoming quite the little helper (okay, sometimes, when he wants to be). He will fetch shoes, baby wipes, toys, my phone, whatever is required while I physically wrangle his not-always-so-helpful two year old brother.  When this happens I try very hard to thank him and show him that I appreciate his help.  I know that as a parent positive reinforcement works and I generally find that he squirms with pride at my praise.

Managing people at work is not much different to being a parent.  We're just managing big people rather than little people and sometimes those big people don't act much more grown up than the little ones. 

But as managers of big people we can forget, as we do with our kids, to thank them and appreciate their efforts when they exceed our expectations. Even when the ordinary everyday tasks are getting done with ordinary everyday efficiency there is a lot to be said for being appreciative and saying thanks. 

Gratitude (being thankful and ready to show appreciation) is a hot topic in positive psychology with plenty of research in the past ten years showing a strong and consistent association between being grateful and being happy. That means that when we take the time out to consciously consider the good things we have in our lives, including the people who help us out, we're more likely to feel happier not just at the time but for some months ahead. 

What's more, getting into the gratitude habit can do the following good stuff: 

  • Increase your brain activity  
  • Reduce your stress and anxiety
  • Improve your sleep
  • Increase your overall sense of wellbeing
  • Enhance your relationships with other people (particularly those people you thank), and
  • Increase your sense of responsibility to other people and to society at large.  Basically, it makes you a better person.

Of course if you are managing other people - whether big or small - you may also find that they are more motivated and more productive when you thank them for their good work.  It's that positive reinforcement thing again.

Thankyou
So what can you do to become the uber-grateful people manager and all round happier person?
  • Practice! Make a conscious effort to thank one person a day. Have a go - try it now.  If there's no-one around, think of one thing that you are thankful for today and make a note of it.  Feel the happy.
  • Be specific.  Saying 'thanks for doing such a great job' can just feel a bit awkward.  Try thanking someone for the exact thing that they did and tell them how it made your life better.
  • Be genuine.  We can all pick a phony and you only get out what you put in.  Happiness comes to those who are truly grateful.  
  • Be fast.  Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and get into the habit of thanking people right then and there when good stuff gets done.
  • If you're on the receiving end of thanks, be gracious. Don't brush it off.  Smile and say thanks in return.  Now you both feel good.

Feeling thankful, and expressing it, has an amazing capacity to flip our point of view around from humdrum to happy.  Go ahead, thank someone for making your life easier and see if you can't make a big person squirm with pride, even just a little bit.

What are you thankful for?  You might like to post it here: Thankfulfor.com Or tell me about it in the comments below.  (P.S. Thanks for reading to the end! E.)