3 Pockets- The Untold Story

 

I was born in the year of the horse, according to Chinese astrology, but that has almost nothing to do with this post. Read on and you’ll see….

During my first trip to Santorini in May of 2015, my husband and I came across this handsome devil every day on the way to our hotel from the main beach road.

Grecian friend

We always said hello and managed to catch this image.  I’m not sure if horses smile and he doesn’t appear to be.  Perhaps he’s happy and enjoying the land, visitors like us and the weather, but he’s not running free… something that made me rather sad each time I passed him on the hill.   Is he grateful for what he does have?  Does he have friend’s, a mate or even a comfortable place to live and sleep?  I don’t know, but he is there and he looks healthy and well cared for.

Next photo victim.. Me

I’m smiling, the sun’s on my face, I’m in paradise and enjoying a wonderful vacation with my one true love.  Everything is wonderful and I’m full of life.

Me

All of this is true, or is it? (scroll down for more)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is true however; no one really knows what lies beneath.

I’ve been smiling since the day I was born (nearly) and I enjoy being happy and doing pleasurable things. I counsel friends who are down, have a playful sense of humour, have taken care of my family and husband when they weren’t well and take pleasure in finding perfect gifts for everyone in my life for special occasions or “just because.” I give a lot, probably more than is healthy for me.

I have 3 pockets.  I stuff each pocket with things that I don’t need or want while I’m enjoying life and happiness. My first pocket is close to my heart and holds the sadness of losing my father, the second pocket holds my worries… for everything and the final pocket holds my fears.. fears of health and fears of future.

The moment that I walk through my front door after a relaxing and enjoyable vacation or fun event, it’s there again. Me, the “me” that I tucked away in those 3 little pockets.  The me that has been struggling “inside” with trauma that has taken over my persona.

My outside (public self) stays positive, optimistic and playful. Nobody realises, I am a great actress and my smile hides a lot of stories.

With love-Hands-On

Optimists…we’re only human

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A letter to Daddy

 

 

CollegeGrad-DadDear Dad,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written you a letter, but I think of you every day.

A lot has happened in my life since you left and the piece of my heart that you took with you on your journey is still felt. I didn’t think it would be this hard… not to hear your voice, tell you about my life and hear your stories (even for the 10th time), but it is.

Your pride, your unconditional love, support and general inquisitive nature…it is a part of what’s missing in my life, my routine and my being.  I am not the same person without you, I have lost the one person who made it all better just by listening and being my father.

Life is funny in a strange way…as a child, I never saw an end to anything, only seasons,the last day of school and maybe an ice cream.  Those are moments that are enjoyed but their end does not leave a lasting mark.

As I reminisce about times past and the holiday season, I am reminded of how time changes things.. circumstances, people, events and myself. All of this leaves me searching for something and I haven’t put my finger on what it is yet. So this letter .. I’m an optimist but sometimes even an optimist falls. I resisted writing this, for fear that my readers would doubt my optimism, but I’m only human.

I’ve been watching videos I’ve taken of you and it’s almost like you’re here. I wish you were. I have a heavy heart writing this because I have changed since you left. I know that I was lucky to have you in my life and I have wonderful memories of all of the times we’ve spent together. Somehow I feel selfish… selfish for wanting everyone to understand my loss, but I still keep these feelings tucked inside.

I’m in a foreign land, with a man that I love however, my heart is missing family and familiar places to ease my sadness.  So I listen to songs that remind me of moments, people and places and sigh.

I’m trying Dad, but there are few that understand my dreams, wishes and wants.

I hope you are safe and not worrying about me. I will bounce back but you dear father have left an large empty space.

 

 

How I Went From Very Shy to Less Shy

Confidence is not something that can be learned like a set of rules; confidence is a state of mind.

When I was a child, I was confident because at that time, I had no fear of the “unknown.”

In most cases, when we are young we just go with it and enjoy play, light conversation and meeting new people (making new friends) etc. There are no rules on how to be… we just are who we are at that moment in our young lives and we are not being judged by anyone. Perhaps the biggest decisions we make as children are; which toy to play with or which one of our friends are free to play jump rope with. (well.. in my day anyway)

Let’s talk about fear..  I have a very early example of this. 1973 aged 7- I was a Brownie and due to take part in a Christmas concert with my troop.. there must have been over 100 people in the audience (mainly proud parents.) We were performing “The 12 days of Christmas” and my part was.. “and a partridge in a pear tree.”

One line, easy to remember however; the act of delivering this was frightening. I was in the spotlight, which for most people is where they get stuck.  At that early stage in my life, I didn’t know about believing in myself or my abilities.. who would?  So I forced myself to sing to cue and almost missed my line once, before my troop leader gently tapped my shoulder to encourage me. The performance ended and I was relieved after many happy and proud parents applauded all of us kids. phewww.. it was over.

Why was I so afraid?  Why are people generally nervous and scared to be in the spotlight?  Actor’s who we perceive to be extremely confident also claim to be nervous every time they perform. Let me skip ahead to my working years and share with you how I overcame shyness.

So, “I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar” yes… really and this was the beginning of my confidence building because A) I was in the “spotlight” and B) I was “performing” in front of strangers.

My good performances resulted in rewards (tips) and when I was off kilter, not so much. 15 years in the hospitality industry overcoming public appearances face-to-face with happy people, grumpy people, celebrities and new event challenges, encouraged my   ability to feel more confident and so, I started a new challenge.

I began working for a globally recognised company and brand, where my people skills were valued even more. I rose from service advisor to sales advisor/ team leader and then technical advisor in less than 2 years. I was the go-to person for both customers and new recruit training and loved interacting with and helping people. As my training mentor has always said, “I could sell ice to an Eskimo” and had positive persuasion skills.  Positivity is a “state of mind” and so is confidence. So I soaked up all that I could in the 5 years that I was employed there before embarking on the adventure known as the next stage of my life. Hang in there, I’ll get to the point but if you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know that I enjoy telling stories and taking you on a mental journey.

All aboard…. next stop North West, England.  A different culture and a new beginning. How did I prove myself to yet more strangers? My husband is one of the most confident people I know. Not arrogant by any means, but genuine and very approachable. He makes friends wherever he goes and I was never like that. He uses the “icebreaker” technique, which is such a simple concept, but one that you need to follow up and not be afraid to continue being yourself. I used to be the type of person that went to a party and stuck like glue to one or two people I knew in order to be part of it all, I didn’t have self-belief at that time or confidence in being myself to just mingle with anyone.  I was simply…ME. Me from the very beginning of this story. Happy to be a part of something but froze under pressure.  I must admit, with age comes a new kind of confidence and so I conjured up all of my powers and promised myself I would break down my wall.

After learning that a fair amount of companies   in the UK prefer presentations as a means to rate one’s confidence in an interview, I   swallowed my fear and came up with a plan.

During my first presentation, I decided to wear a mask. You think I’m kidding don’t you?  Well.. I wore my glasses, which provided a mask-like protection that physcologically helped my confidence, as I felt that I was not fully exposed. I performed pretty well and if it wasn’t for the lack of a driver’s licence, I would have gotten the job. Personally, I don’t believe in presentations as part of an interview because A) It’s not a natural   environment and  B) I believe in getting to know the person.

I’m a people person (as you’ve probably gathered) and generally have good feelings or intuitions. So, I played the game several times during my career, with no training just being me and spreading my passion about subjects, people and experiences.  I’ve created events, chaired meetings, started focus groups in order to share ideas and working   practices and find that focusing on liked-minded people, relationships and common goals is by far the best way to nurture   your mind and confidence. My state of mind has grown and so will yours if you’re true to yourself.

Some of the examples I’ve used might help you.  I’ll break them down briefly in 5 steps:

  1. Believe in yourself and take baby steps to master your fear
  2. Use a conversation “Icebreaker” and stick with the conversation
  3. Be yourself-It is much easier
  4. Wear or use something that comforts you or makes you feel more confident
  5. Be honest and talk about or do things that you know how to do (pretending is nerveracking)

I hope my story can help you in some way.

With love,

Hands-on

CV or not CV.. that is the question

CV-funny

If you’re originally from the states like I am, then you will know that the CV is known as the  résumé in this instance. Let’s face it.. the title would have been difficult to create… what really rhyme’s with  résumé  anyway?

ré·su·mé

or re·su·me or re·su·mé  (rĕz′o͝o-mā′, rĕz′o͝o-mā′)

n.

1. A brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application.
2. A summary: a résumé of the facts of the case.

Okay, now down to the nitty-gritty….

“This above all: to thine own self be true” what a wonderful quote(Thanks Will!) This is what you should be portraying in your CV.  A CV as you may or may not know, should be a “snapshot” of who you are today with a frame suited to what you are currently seeking. (e.g. goals, roles etc) Apologies, but for some reason I cannot stop rhyming!

If you’re like me and have perfected a CV,  you know that it takes a lot of time, effort and thought.  (almost as much as the actual interview preparation takes) Yet, for some reason, many employers and companies  ask that you complete an application to make it easier for them to read or score.  I do understand the reason behind this but disagree that the CV should completely be eliminated. It’s almost like asking someone to cover their phone calls at work… even though they use and answer the phone, they don’t specifically answer someone else’s. They have the knowledge and confidence with their calls or in this case, their CV, which is a personal and professional presentation.

There is also very little CV preparation and guidance support from educational institutions, which needs to change. I’ve received numerous CV’s from applicants during my career from under 30’s that were so poor, I was almost tempted to fix them all to give them a chance at securing an interview.  We live in a competitive world these days and how you present yourself on paper is quite important. Although…. I’d be curious to conduct a test without the need for a CV and invite someone in who calls and asks for an interview because they want a job doing what we’re advertising.  Hmmmmm

LinkedIn is also a good way of showcasing your professional background and if an applicant has recommendations included, “wallah” instant reference’s! Genius! How many employer’s today use LinkedIn to recruit?  Perhaps a lot more than a couple of years ago.

So I ask you the question again…. CV or not CV?

By the way, I have included a pretty good CV-template-2015, for those that need one.  Just doing my bit to help.

As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.

Hands-on

“Who’s the optimist?”

optimist

I must admit, I was tempted to use the title “Who’s the Daddy”, but I held back.

It didn’t quite fit and I wanted to communicate a unisex attitude.  Let me make a list of optimistic traits and please feel free to feedback and add a few of your own.

Hands-on’s 10 traits of an optimist

  1. Cup half full (I’m sure you already know this one)
  2. Focuses on what they have, rather than what they don’t have
  3. Positive thinking, even during the most challenging of times
  4. “Good ideas” person and sticks to their beliefs in a constructive way
  5. Trustworthy,honest and genuine
  6. Tell’s it how it is, in a gentle and supportive manner
  7. Take’s on a challenge with a smile and determination
  8. Listens first, responds second
  9. Lends a hand  without being asked
  10. Builds someone else’s self-esteem when they are down

I’m sure the list is much longer but I’m conscious of the amount of time my reader’s have to review blogs that they subscribe to.

How about a tune you say?  Sure!

Here’s a classic that will set the mood!

Stay happy!

Hands-on 🙂

People who need people

happy employees

Curious title… yes!

I’ve always been drawn to people, both in life and as part of my career.  They interest me, intrigue me and yes, sometimes disappoint me. As  an optimist, I am not here to focus on the negative, but I do want to raise the awareness of the “good stuff” for those who would benefit from a little self-awareness and improvement. I’m the observer and the people watcher, which  has served me well over the years.

Let’s talk about the “good stuff”, respect and admiration for just a moment. Over the course of my career, I have encountered many types of people:

  • genuine
  • curious
  • helpers
  • Loyal
  • competitive
  • Driven

For me, I prefer working  with the first 4 types. Don’t get me wrong…being competitive and driven can be great but there is a time and a place for it and you need not forget about the people you work with.  Cut-throat is not my style and it drains my “good energy”.

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn, quoting the type of work practice and ethos I’m into, so I shared it.

T.E.A.M

  • together
  • everyone
  • achieves
  • more

It’s that simple and so true. Let’s use Sir Richard Branson ( inspirational  leader) as the example… he’s an extremely successful and powerful entrepreneur who develops ideas into businesses that for the most part, have excelled. Did he do this alone? No. He sought advice, created his support team and ensured that everyone worked together for one common goal>SUCCESS.  He motivates and rewards his teams too, which is why and how he has done so well.  So the next time you hear a story or read a story about dear Richard, know that he picked and lead his teams well to get where he is today.

When you consider how much time we spend at work each day and week… our rituals and experiences need to be positive don’t they?  Yes there are targets and yes there are objectives but for me, a business cannot and will not succeed if their people do not support one another. Would you like another  benefit of working together? Okay… what about learning from one another? Each person that you encounter in  your  workplace  has a different style, level of knowledge and expertise in a company or if they’ve been doing it a while, their sector. It’s not a competition, it’s a learning experience. I myself have learned from people 10 years my junior and 20 years my senior.  Make someone feel good and ask how they would go about doing a task you’re about to do.  You will probably learn something great, but you will also make your co-worker feel needed and trusted.  Everyone started somewhere, everyone needs help and guidance no matter the level and people do genuinely need people.

Streisand
Thanks for reading! Hands on 🙂

Rock of ages

aerosmith

There comes a time in your life when you sit back and reflect on your various life phases.

This is that time… memories, moments and the magic of music.  Do you remember your first concert? My first concert was as you may have guessed.. Aerosmith.

I had just turned 17 and was in the prime of my teenage years in the most wonderful decade of all! (at least to me it was and well.. a lot of my friends and perhaps even you)  I wasn’t exactly frantic to see them but my friends and I would sing their songs at the top of our lungs together and use their quote their lyrics, while relating them to our lives (as you do.) Boyfriends.. “look out” we’re getting even with you, even if at this moment I can no longer recall why. The strange thing is, I don’t remember why but I remember who.  Music is magical in that way and still to this day if I listen to “Dream on”, I know exactly where I was and who I was with.

So in 1983 I had the pleasure of experiencing my first rock concert with my first boyfriend wearing what would only be described as “cool” at that time… worn out TIGHT blue jeans, a t-shirt with cut out pieces in the back and rather expensive trendy cowboy boots. This ensemble was complemented by bold silver jewelry, big hair and plenty of black eye-liner.

After that first time experience I wanted more.. “more hairspray please”.  Enter..the David Bowie phase.  “Spiders from Mars”, yep…I’m going and I’m getting to the front of the crowd!  Ticket sales at that time were at music or record stores or your local Kmart.. (chuckling)  We saw the ad in the paper, called the ticket seller to find out when they went on sale and waited in line (overnight), until the doors opened.  My best friend and I used clever flirting techniques to get to the front of the ticket sale line. Hey, why not…AND, I made it to the front by the stage and was crazy and insane from excitement. (Please don’t ask what I was wearing)  “Ziggy”” & “Major Tom” have followed me since then.. in my memories from that time. It was great.

So you’ve joined me in this journey from the 80’s at the beginning of my young adult life and as I sit here now, I begin to reflect…. oh how times have changed along with my tastes.  I’ve experienced the weird and wonderful and enjoyed it but it has never stopped, it has only changed or perhaps mellowed.

My journey has seen me with “The Boss” to “Bruce Hornsby”, “Heart” to “The Hooters” in the 80’s to “REM”and “Robert Plant”, “Elton John and Eddie Vedder” in the early to mid 90’s (and many, many more). Music was my medicine and in 1994, “The Counting Crow’s” became my preferred prescription.

I had reached a new level, with a more mature palate and real adult problems.  This crossover cannot be explained, it just happens. Their songs solved nothing but answered everything. The words were so perfect in every way that it felt as though I had written them myself and meant every heartfelt word.  Great lyric writer’s.. there are many. Magical music memories, there are many.

If someone was able to bottle that feeling of Euphoria I must have felt during my first “live” musical experience, I would gladly max out my credit card.

“Do you remember?” (seriously.. and I’m not singing.. umm yes I am)

Drop me a line, I’d love to know what your first experience was.

Stay happy and sing loudly x

Hand-on