Back in the days before austerity at work, when we were actually allowed to buy our stationary rather than being told to just take it from hotels, all the managers were sent on a course the name of which I can’t really remember. It was based on the premise of viewing things as a success.
At the beginning of each session, we would have to describe a success that we’d had that day. Keeping in mind most sessions started at 9am and we had to speak to 5 people, this would often result in a success being getting up and getting to the venue on time without burning breakfast.
As with most self-help books and courses, the idea behind the teaching is staggeringly obvious. By viewing even the smallest things as a success, it’s possible to build up a majorly successful day. If a project or plan is broken down in to small parts then one can see success happening at every stage rather than just at the end.
I remembered this story while writing yesterday’s post about a stairway. Regular readers will know that I’ve been recently writing about someone I no longer speak to, but I admired her greatly and she was inspirational to me.
She asked me to go to help her prepare for her birthday party last year. I rolled up to her place early in the day and climbed the outside stairway to her flat to find her seemingly fresh out of bed, sitting in her pyjamas at her door feeding the very handsome homeless cat that would hang around. Her hair was scraped back and she wasn’t entirely awake.
We had a cup of tea and started the list of chores she had prepared and throughout the day I saw her change from the tired and stressed individual with messy hair at the top of the stairs to the go-getter to the casual hostess to the impeccable birthday girl out for dinner, and then back to normality as we all watched late night Netflix.
The irony of the story I’m telling is that one of the reasons the person in question stopped talking to me was that she, in rather highly self-opinionated fashion, believed she provided me with all my self-worth because I like helping people and don’t rate my achievements such as having a job as highly as being able to make someone happy.
Another reason was that she thought I put her on a pedestal because of how I would admire her. I did. I found a lot of what she did to be inspirational and, a bit like our course at work, it didn’t have to be a big thing. It was how she dealt with difficult things or things she found hard or scary or stressful, even if they were just her plans to get her flat clean and tidy! That was why I put her on a pedestal and I know it was small things that maybe everyone does, but surely that makes them no less important?
I apparently had low self-worth because I didn’t value my degree as highly making someone smile, and yet I wasn’t allowed to admire her for her some of her achievements.
I can’t post a picture of her because it doesn’t feel right even though she’ll probably never see this, seeing as she broke my heart again last week by finally unfriending me on all social media. Instead I’ll post a picture of something that reminds me of her, and it’s a bird she folded out of a flyer in a pub one night. I’d never seen one made before, so put it in my pocket as we left. I found it a few weeks later and have kept it ever since. For better or worse for me, it’s now my reminder of someone I admire and what she taught me.
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
For Good by Idina Menzel