Sunday, September 24, 2017

you are unlimited

Ever since I began gulping down tea pot after tea pot like there was no tomorrow back in high school, accompanied by philosophical discussions about life - 

because that's what the Humaniora students did. Well, at least us who actually thought a lot did, which to be honest, looking back, the majority of my class mates probably didn't. I loved high school, I just  didn't have much in common with most of my class mates though. But then again I've never been interested in having a gazillion superficial friends when I can have a few close and important ones. And that I had, hence the philosophical discussions over lots of tea

I've known that in tea is wisdom.

It's even better when that fact is proven by the tea's equivalent to fortune cookies - Yogi tea quotes.

These above and below ones I got recently and they both struck a special cord for me. 

Because you see, I've been spending the majority of these past few weeks working hard on a special work project - yes it has finally begun! -, which has left me in different measures exhilarated, stressed, amazed, confused and dash annoyed. I guess this is what agile teamwork is, which is great in a way - especially when our different skills seemingly blend together so very well, that's the amazed part, because I don't know these people and they don't know me yet and still, smooth working... - but I also think there's a need for more structure.

Things like, can we please schedule the online meetings and the most important update phone calls a few days ahead. If possible, when possible. And since I'm obviously the last one onboard I don't have the full story of the project and its background, beginning to grasp it obviously after these intense weeks, but still, the lawyer and (semi)control freak would have liked to be a *bit* more in the loop before I got started.

On the other important hand though, and here's the exhilarating part, I've learnt so much during these weeks only. Thrown headfirst into a project with no clear roles or really specific tasks as such I've done so much more than I thought I signed up for or was suppose to do. 

Simply because a) it's such a worthy cause (brand), b) I always approach things as a great opportunity to learn new things (and practice old ones) even if there might be initial kinks and c) when there seemingly aren't any specific roles I might as well do the most of it, enjoy the headfirst situation and get to work. 

Because you know what, the upside of slightly hazy areas of responsibilities is that noone can really object to who's getting things done, as long as it's within the brief and with the mutual goal in mind. This part we're working on now is only a first step of many in a long project. It will hopefully get a sign off this week so we can move on to the next. 

Going above and beyond what I intitially thought would be my role, well it has been fun, really fun. Somewhere down the line it will pay off in different ways, opportunities, karma etc. And when I was feeling stressed and confused a few days in to the project I got this tea quote telling me I'm unlimited and yes, yes of course I am! And since I am a Jill of many trades, why not expand on that?

For me this experience so far has also been a real tangible test on that thing I have such difficulties doing, the one thing I've been blog talking about for years now, but also the one thing that has been coming much easier for me to do ever since the grief recovery process. To trust the process. And the gut feeling. To breath, relax and let my inner (semi) control freak have an extended holiday on some tropical island far far away.

And even if I'm well-used in working with overseas clients and remote work we've then basically worked via emails and Skype. This time there have been other project management tools as well as more phone calls in 2 weeks than I've probably had in the last 2 years - you know, I the odd phoney... And since our little team are situated in Finland, Sweden and England respectively we communicate in some delightful blend of Swedish and English. Which has actually added to the fun.

The curious thing is that when I began writing this post I thought I was going to write about how much more we needed structure, specific areas of responsabilities, what do we expect from eachother, to be able to perform better, avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. I still partly think that would help, but at the same time it has been a fascinating and unusual ride of trust. And a more positive experience and full of learning in a reasonably short amount of time than I ever thought it would be. Looking forward to whatever will be next.

And then the first few weeks in September there was a sudden, unexpected influx of various new job/clients opportunites. Even if I well know by now that over 50% of them always fall through in general, for various reasons, I got a bit flustered. Because what if many of them would lead to something more substantial than just a thought and initial meeting, and that they paid enough and/or were interesting enough, which would I have to chose to decline? And could I really afford to not say yes (both from a financially and the FearOfMissingOut point of view)? 

Or should I just see the next 6 months as a gritty working period, adding to my portolio of experiences and building financial stability? And the silver lining is of course, for a free spirit like me, that I mostly work from home - proud place of awesome pink office - and can usually set my own work schedule just as long as I meet the deadlines.

But as a part of my new trust the process stand that has so far worked out for the best, things partly fell through as usual, partly will begin shortly and more later this autumn. Things happen when they are meant to. Life is much better enjoyed when you bear that in mind. 

Which, again, is not the same as just sit back relax and wait for things to happen. Be active in a way that your comfortable with, and do step out of your comfort zone regularly, and take responsability for the energy you put out into the world - which will be the topic of my next post, the wise words doesn't come from me, but more of that next time.

Not only over these past few weeks, but over these past few months I've been grateful for so many things, for so many experiences, for so many people that have suddenly come into my life and changed me and my path forever. And when I feel flustered, disappointed, even deflated at times, I always remember all those things I'm grateful for. What has truly been the worst 1,5 years of my life has also been one of the most evolving and yes magical even, 1,5 years of my life. Especially these past six months. Which brings me to this second quote I got a few days after the above one.

Grateful. Always.

Friday, September 08, 2017

happy 12th blogoversary

The Blog, this blog, turns 12 today. 

After a both emotionally and physically exhausting week, mostly in a good way but not only, I alas don't feel very witty or capable of writing something profound about the blog journey of 12 years.

But I will say as much as it has been a true haven during both ups and downs in my life. Not least in my most challenging, heartbreaking as well developing, insightful and healing last one and a half year of growth.

When I look back on my post from the first few years I admittedly sometimes shudder of embarrassment, the way I wrote then and in parts how I looked at the world, the topics I chose, it was a very different me. That said I let them be were they are, available to be read, a testament of 12 years of development and finding my voice, both as a human being and in writing style. 

My blogoversary was spent with a lovely LinkedIn-lunch, a possible new client getting in touch, an unexpected meet cute of the doggie kind and not least a cup of tea and a perfect cinnamon bun contemplating 12 years of blogging. Who knew this would be where I'd find myself after a decade plus?

And of course, thank you, dear readers, who keep coming back for more, and sometimes leave those kind and heartfelt comments. I treasure them all.

Happy 12th Blogoversary to me, may it feel meaningful for many more years to come!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

the b project

First, let's have a cup of coffee. Or contemplate having a cup of coffee. Or in this case muse over a picture of a cup of coffee. Specifically the above picture of a cup of excellent oat latte that looks like it has been one third drunk.

Which it hasn't. Not the littlest sip has been taken from it yet. The one third gone was partly spilled when I tried to put the cup down on the table at the same time as my backpack slid down my shoulder. The rest of it spilled right before this picture.

Because what isn't visible - but would have made an excellent cautionary video - is that the outdoor seating at this cafe is partly pretty unsafe. My chair fell backwards from the elevated veranda when I prepared to take the picture, and I managed to grab on to the table in a very awkward position while flashing an uncomfortable amount of my underwear to the good people of Stockholm. I was hanging on there for some very long seconds before I decided that we. would. not. fall. down on street level the chair and I.

Had this happened some years ago I would probably have been so embarassed I would have avoided the cafe for years. Now I'm just glad I survived. And was a source of a hearty laugh. Which certainly is one of the perks of growing older and wiser, embarassing things just aren't that embarassing anymore. Grey hair still is a nuisance though.

Someone called this a Bridget Jones-moment, which I think perfectly illustrates it. I'm still waiting for my Mark Darcy to appear though.

Once again, this wasn't really what I was going to write about, but the arm in the picture with a delightful bracelet belongs to the B-project partner. B as in B personality, specifically the bit that focus on us not being morning people but often night owls. And the introvert/ambivert traits. 

We've talked about creating something really lovely with this, having mulled over the perfect name for the project and suddenly it just came to me the other day. Eureka! In fact it's such a brilliant name for us who are really nerdy about word plays that I would like to shout it from the roof tops, but I won't even mention it in blog because the project is still in early planning stage. Let's just say I'm a bit giddy over it. It's not a big project per se, but I think it will be a lovely, social and fun project. For B people.

I'm currently giddy over quite a few things really. Several great job opportunities/clients (new and old). Like the great meeting I had a month ago, things finally began to happen this past week, but it's still pretty unstructured so I'm looking forward to straightening out question marks and start working, creating a bit of magic, getting to know people and learning new things. It will be great to have natural sounding boards while still being trusted to do my thing. Can it actually be that I have found my tribe? Time will tell.

This weekend I'm preparing a proposal for a very neat and unexpected communication project - thank you again, LinkedIn! - which I had a very nice meeting about last week. Fingers crossed.

It also looks like I'm going to continue with the career coaching part time this autumn too, but this time as a consultant not subconsultant which will mean a more reasonable payment. Plus I have so many new contacts and leads from this spring that a lot of ground work is already done, by myself. Since it was a job that gave me so many warm and fuzzy feelings and fueled my soul it felt like it was too soon to let it go, I'm grateful if we're able to work the details out in a mutual beneficial way.

And in October one of my old clients from 2015 probably will return in a new shape, that will be fun. It's all about cats, dogs, wildlife projects and nature, so right up my alley that too.

I'm really looking forward to doing a work schedule for my autumn.

When things keep slowly falling in place like this, with different pieces in the work puzzle coming together, I can't help but remembering a question someone asked me earlier this year when I sent out an SOS for a part time job - "Do you really want that part time job or would you be happier with having your schedule as full of clients as you want instead?"

It isn't a question with an obvious answer. 

I do miss working with likeminded others with a shared vision and common goals, but that doesn't mean I have to or even want to work with them side by side part day in part day out. Just a touch down and a chat now and then would be perfect.

I love having overseas clients but I wouldn't want my work schedule filled with them because that would basically be like working in an office just doing it from home. With no offline touchdown ever.

The brain exercise and constant creativity flow that comes from having a varied set of clients and assignments, meeting different people on a regular basis, owning my days and never having to feel confined by the restrictions of a physical workplace, that is simply gold worth in my world. (That it will be worth its financial stability weight in gold is obviously also the ultimate goal.) 

And I'm honestly not sure that would be possible to have as an employee. That you feel the job is as challenging, exciting and evolving in the long run as running your own business. Free spirit me talking. Ambivert me.

Then again, if something truly irresistable would turn up, who knows? 

For now, I'm just really stoked about my work autumn. And grateful for this past summer of completions and new beginnings - which I do hope will turn into a glorious Indian summer of course. Not at all ready to say bye to summer dresses, bare legs and sandals just yet. Or outdoor coffees.
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