Category Archives: Love

Friendships In Funny Places

 

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New cities.  Moving at 35 from a city that I kicked and fought to stay in from the age of 19 was never going to be easy.

Although, I really can’t complain.  The move across was incredibly easy, and we have met fantastic people quite easily.  In spite of all the meetups I’ve been to since arriving in which I’ve lasted 10 minutes (my current average time overall is 27 minutes) I’ve managed to find friendships in funny places.

Everyone has a theory on how long it takes to settle in to a new place.  Some say a year, some 6 months, some say the 3-month milestone is the most significant.  For me though, it was from the moment I really committed to being present in this new place.  In the excitement of leaving London for a new adventure, I didn’t grieve at all for the incredible friendships that I was about to put an ocean and a bloody large mass of land between.  A month in to being here in the wonderful city of San Francisco though, and it hit me.  Phone calls to London friends help, and don’t help.  As dear as those friends will always be to me – trying to insert myself back in to the day to day world of London life really doesn’t help the loneliness.  The only solution for loneliness that I have found is to be present.

The average time a person stays in San Francisco is 3 years.  The average rise and fall of a new startup is 3 years.  Sell for big bucks or go under… either way it’s 3 years.  And people here are weathered, wary of the constant footfall of new people to the area.  Only so many times can you invest in new friendships only to see them leave before the merry go round grows tiresome.  And if your heart isn’t here, people are like horses.  They can smell it on you.

After a trip to London in January in which during the 1st week I thought I’d never be able to leave again, in the second week I began to miss our new home, our new situations and opportunities and of course – any sign of the sun whatsoever.  On return to San Francisco I felt more ready to settle, be present, and be available for new friendships.

I’ve discovered when you really commit to a place, it’s a lot easier to find true friendships.  On the roof of our building last weekend drinking wine and eating cheese with a bunch of girls from the building we live in, full of food from the BBQ we’d just had with friends from the local area, I revelled in how much can change in a short period of time.  Call it the stars aligning, or whatever you please, but since truly giving my heart to the city I live in I’m finding real friends in the funniest places.

 

 

New Horizons

 

You can’t move forward while staying in the same place.

That’s my mantra for this season.  Today marks 16 years that I’ve been in my beloved London, and 2 weeks from now marks the move to pastures anew.  In 2 weeks my husband and I move to San Francisco, California.  Having never lived in the States before (other than a couple random stints) I am adequately nervous and excited, in equal parts.  Although the excitement is definitely winning the war.

So stay tuned, for lessons learned in the American tech market, and in the journey of new relationships, new adventures, and a whole list of things you’ll know not to do once I’ve done them.

Creativity Vacuums

I have not blogged for a long, long time.

Currently in a move to distance myself from all blame of procrastination, I am blaming my inability to write on the fact that my job is consuming all of my creative thought.  I have a theory around creativity and seasons… this season, according to my theory, is not good for music or blogging, apparently.

That said – I’m back with tons to blog on as a result of all the creativity that has gone in to the business I’m a part of.   New business theories, lessons, screw-ups, genius moments and other insights to impart.

But for now – Happy New Year!!  Today also marks my one year anniversary of being married to the best thing since sliced bread.  Lots of lessons there too… mainly in how not to be a pain in the ass.

Watch this space…

 

Stretch Marks

 

More and more I am discovering just how uncomfortable growing really is.  It’s a tug-of-war; old self vs new self and it leaves stretch marks I must warn you.

Each time we are in a season in which we are being stretched everything in us wants out.  Out, back to a place where we can be confident, back to a place where we are self-assured, and we reason that we’re ‘just not as strong here’ or something along those lines.  The trouble is, real growth never happens when we’re comfortable.

Real growth happens when we are just getting through by the skin of our teeth.  Real growth happens in the fire.  We often so long to be better than we are, smarter, of greater character, but these traits all come with a hefty price tag.  Wanting growth without stretching is like wanting to lose weight without making any lifestyle changes.  Unlikely.

So wherever you are in this season, if you’re uncomfortable; embrace it.  Know that in this you are growing… even if only in patience.  In business patience goes a long way, so don’t underestimate what you might be gaining this very minute, as you sit at your desk, gaining stretch marks.

 

The Trouble with Trouble

The trouble with blogging about trouble in love and business is that it’s rather close to home.  If not left long enough it’s rather obvious what one is referring to.

The past few weeks have been full of all sorts of trouble, which will rightfully take its place in the coming weeks in this blog as the obligatory time passes.

In the the meantime, here’s one I wrote earlier:

 http://whatnottodoinloveandbusiness.com/the-5-love-languages/

Love languages.  In the run-up to Christmas might be worth it to brush up on these as a little reminder in to why a present won’t always cut it….

 

Silos of Character

Why is it that we always give those closest to us the hardest times?

They say (whoever they are) that you always hurt the ones closest to you.  Why?  It makes no sense.  Is it because when the walls come down we somehow feel free to act towards those closest to us in a way that we’d never dare treat others?

I’m convinced that different areas of our lives mature at different rates – in silos almost.  The person I’ve become in the professional world and the character I’ve learned doesn’t always translate in to my home life.  I have a theory that it’s possibly because in my job I have built a career with thousands of little integrous decisions that no one ever knows about but me, but that have developed me in to the person that I am now. Most certainly I have a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way.

Having only been married a few months, I’m making good decisions (and bad) but building the foundations of character in that area of my life is quite a bit less developed.  So, I react to situations sometimes in my marriage in ways that I would never react at work.  Funny.  Yet each time I make a good decision, choose to let go of my old stubborn ways, put the other person first, I move closer and closer towards becoming the person of character in my marriage that I would love to be.

So maybe that’s why we attack those closest to us.. because we’ve not built the foundations there in the same way that we have with those in other environments.   I’m working towards getting better though, growing up, one good decision at a time.

 

Great Expectations

I’ve been reading recently about the Pygmalian Theory, or SFP (self fulfilling prophecy).

In short, the gist is that people rise up to what you expect of them.  It works both ways – if you expect someone to be great they actually perform better and likewise if you expect them to under-perform they are far more likely to do so.

It made me think about being a parent.  As this season is still (albeit far-off) on the horizon I’m quite keen to figure out my plan before I actually need to have one – if that makes sense.  Of course it’s all theory now so may end up being absolute rubbish come the time….  but here goes.

What if I were to tell my kids that they were the smartest, the kindest, the most athletically gifted?  Rather than expect them to get good grades, perform well, (though I would hope for this!) I would set their own expectations of themselves – that they believe they can achieve all things.

Bit like the case of Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile – once people knew the 4 minute mile could be achieved, many others then went on to reach this goal in a short time after.

What if I were to tell new starters that they were selected because they were the cream of the crop – would this set a standard of excellence in the workplace?

What if, what if.  Worth a thought though.  By just finding the best in people and setting a standard of excellence I have an opportunity to actually change my world… even if just a little bit.

Wrong is always worse

 

 

Having seen this situation recently in both a business and a relational situation, I’ve decided to categorise this post as both ‘Love’ and ‘Business’.

So often we can have the wrong person in our lives, who we know is the wrong person, but “will do for now”.  Don’t do it.  Wrong is worse than nothing.  Wrong is delaying right.  Wrong is square none – the square before square one.

That person in that role that you know isn’t the right person but will do for now?  Funny isn’t it how long now can last sometimes.  The wrong person in the wrong role isn’t helping you or them.  It can be scary removing someone when you’ve not got a replacement, but is average really what you want for your business?  Is their substandard delivery ok for your company to be producing until Mr or Ms Right comes along?  The wrong person can prove to be costly – not only in salary but in damage to your business that can last well past their departure.

That person you’re keeping around because they’re fun, because there’s no one better at the moment, because you’re lonely…  The wrong person sends signals to the right ones to stay away.  You’re potentially sowing in to your own loneliness, busying your mind and your emotions with something you know won’t last.  Or even someone if you’re anything like me that you end up really falling for and then go through the pains of a dysfunctional relationship and a messy breakup, only to look back and and think I knew at this beginning of all this they weren’t the one.

Cutting ties can seem risky.   I would suggest it’s worth the risk.

Say It To My Face

Ah the power of email.

You can scream, swear, call your mother names, demand my way IN CAPITAL LETTERS and write threatening things I’d never dream of saying – all without the risk of you leaning over and punching me in the face.

 

Ah the power of text.

You can break-off long term relationships, fire me, address that ‘thing about me that has always driven you crazy’ call off plans last-minute or apologise that you stood me up – all without having to face the disappointment in my eyes.

 

Ah the power of twitter, facebook and the like.

You can pride yourself in all the relationships you have, the people in high places who retweet your tweet, like your facebook post and comment on your holiday photos– all without having to spend a single moment putting any true effort in to those relationships.

There is and will always be value in the face to face.  No matter how “connected” we are, nothing ever takes the place looking someone in the eye.  Harder though it may be, it’s how relationships – the ones that last in life, in business, in love – are built.

So go on – say it to my face.

The Danger in Routine

Routine is a funny word.  Not so much funny ha-ha; just odd.  I guess because we’re creatures of habit we like things that are familiar.  I guess that’s why we often try and create routines in just about everything.  Or is it more that once we have a routine we have a pattern that we can call our own?

Holidays always highlight for me how dependent I can become on routine.  I start sleeping more, eating more, doing less and voila! two weeks later I’m relieved to head back to my ‘other routine’ as the holiday routine always leaves a 10-pound leaving gift with me.   Why is it my routine that keeps me healthy and active, not my decisions?

Having recently married I’ve been thinking a lot about routine recently.  Mainly because having someone else in the shower when I’d like to be in there is wildly inconvenient.  So is being woken up at 6am on my morning to sleep in, the last piece of chocolate disappearing mysteriously from the fridge, and my laundry load magically doubling in size.

But what’s the flip-side?  Living alone forever because it’s more convenient?  For some, yes.  Not having many friends, as they can be hard work?  Some do.  Missing out on so many of the opportunities in life that present themselves – inconveniently – at the last moment?

I don’t want to ever be that person.  I want to be ready for anything – everything – that comes my way as life is full of gorgeous opportunities if you’re willing to be a little inconvenienced.  Heck, people are bloody inconvenient.

Don’t settle for the familiar.  There’s a whole world out there if you’ll just be willing to once and in a while break out of your routine.