Tag Archives: Life

Answer me one question … what’s the worst that could happen?

I guess we can all point to times, people and events in our lives that we later credit with causing a seismic shift in our way of thinking. For me one of those times was my first job in field sales, the person was my sales manager, a lovable man who played the trumpet for the Salvation Army band at weekends and the event was a discussion we had about letting nerves get the better of us.

Now Gorgeous George was not the type of man you’d expect to see in a role of that ilk; typically I suppose these days we expect ruthless, results-oriented individuals to be leading sales teams. George was nothing like that; he was a “people person” in the truest sense of the term who instilled very early on in his team members that there is no such thing as inferiority when it comes to your fellow man.

And that worked both ways. In restaurants he struck up conversations with waiting staff and would chat for a few minutes with the vendor of a copy of the Big Issue as he handed over a pocketful of change. Similarly he explained very succinctly why nerves where often unfounded when it came to making a key sales presentation to a room full of decision makers.

“Deborah … tell me .. have you prepared for this presentation? I mean … have you really prepared? And don’t bullshit me …”

“Yes George”

“Then why are you so nervous? You know your stuff …. if you stumble a few times they won’t know because they don’t know what the “perfect presentation” should look like … you know that because you’ve written it!”

“But such a lot rides on this presentation George; I’m worried”

“OK, OK … then answer me one question …. what’s the worst that could happen?”

“Well … the worst that could happen is that I completely fluff it and we lose the deal”

“No … that’s not the worst that could happen. The worst that could happen is that one of them takes out a sawn-off shotgun and shoots you in the knee-caps because your presentation was so bad. Don’t you think? Surely that’d be far worse than us losing the deal because you fluffed your presentation?”

That was George’s skill; he instantly could bring a perspective to a dilemma you were facing that caused your angst to evaporate into thin air.

Now like many people I have laid awake at night worrying over the years. I’ve worried about relationships, about money, about work … and all my laboured efforts and sleepless nights I’ve chalked up haven’t made the slightest difference to any of the various outcomes. I still wake and avail myself of a bit advanced hand-wringing coupled with a toss and a turn from time to time, and it continues to not make the slightest difference. And then a few months ago a Facebook friend shared a nugget of wisdom offered by his first wife on the subject ….

“Worrying is like paying interest on money you haven’t borrowed yet”

I doubt anyone has brought worry into its allotted perspective quite as brilliantly as Janet Goodman did in that instance.

A little earlier today I swapped comments regarding my last post concerning positive attitudes and it led me to wonder why some people seem to get stuck in ongoing negative cycles that they can’t break. And this I find an odd quandary for me to roll around my head because I’ve worn the depression T-shirt a few times in my teens; I’ve taken antidepressants that made me feel like I was on another planet and I’ve woken up of a morning thinking “Oh God, not another day …”

But I guess the difference now is that I’ve lived to tell the tale. Several times over, and then some.

Confidence, positive attitude, call it what you will … it isn’t a skill, a quality or an attribute. It’s the knowledge that no matter what life has in store tomorrow, next week or next year I’ll deal with it. Good or bad.

I used to believe not knowing what the future held was a drawback, but now I see it as definite advantage. A canvas waiting for me to de-blank it.

I mean … what’s the worst that could happen?


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Current position? Lincolnshire somewhere, about thirty miles south of satisfactory …

Given the latter day fashion for making five and ten year life plans I should hold my hand up and admit to dismissing the whole idea as a load of pointless tosh. In my experience whenever I’ve “planned” to achieve anything life has tossed me a curve ball which has necessitated a total rethink of what I’m about.

However the one thing I do with irritating regularity is to look at where I am and decide it’s a long way off where I’d hoped to be. Which is rather laughable given my admission that I hadn’t “planned” to be anywhere. If I haven’t given thought to what I want to achieve, how do I know I’ve not managed it?

Of course, the answer is quite simple. I’m restless, ergo I can’t be where I’d hoped I’d be even if I had sat down and written a five year plan that undoubtedly would have had my Tesco shopping list scrawled on the back at some point ultimately ending up in the bottom of a shopping bag. Couple that with the fact that I like to adopt an intuitive approach to decision-making and you might see why the wood that is my future can’t be identified for all the trees in its way. If I had written a five year plan you can bet your aspirational values I’d have been scoring it through a fortnight later and re-writing it.

You see … I’m a “live for today” and “by the seat of your pants” kind of girl. I rely too much on what “feels” right. I know what I should do, but my edict is that life is too short so it’s better to wait and see what the universe has to offer before you start determining which route you’re going to travel which may in some far fetched instances necessitate constructing your own motorway (that’s a euphemism for “starting a pension”)

I am by nature a restless soul. If we had met on a cruise liner at in the 1930s almost certainly I would have been the sad woman with the haunted look in her eyes who was seen regularly pacing up and down the deck at 3am in the morning. My mother used to regularly despair of me as a teenager proclaiming with much consistency “the problem with you Deborah is that you’re never happy …”

I understand what my mum was alluding to, but she wasn’t strictly correct. I was happy, indeed I am happy … but I am always looking to break the monotony that everyday life can hold with the occasional stimulating episode (I am talking, of course, of stimulation of the mental type)

It was some eighteen months ago that I packed up all my worldly possessions and bundled them along with my son into a vehicle marked “destination Lincoln (city of my birth)”.

The first few weeks were fine, the novelty remained fresh for some time that my parents were just around the corner. I was back in the bosom of my family. It felt nice, warm and reassuring.

After a few months however I started to crave the dynamic edge that the south-east had frequently volunteered amidst all its stress-laden duplicity. Say what you like, but there is more “happening” at any one time in London than any other city or town in the UK in terms of ideas, creativity, opportunity and vision. There’s also an equal amount of not-so-great attributes, but they have quickly faded from my memory.

Lincoln on the other hand may not display quite the same ebullient verve but it’s where I was born and it is where a goodly part of my family still live. It is full of landmarks, buildings and family memories that in an instant transport me back to being a little girl. And when you’ve been emotionally dehydrated and miles from home, the succour that can bring should never be underestimated.

Only this morning inadvertently I played one of my Grandma’s favourite tracks, The Hungry Years by Neil Sedaka, and I found myself crying for her for the first time since we lost her five years ago. You see, my Grandma was probably the kindest woman I ever met. As her first grandchild she doted on me, I was and will always be “her Debbie”. She only ever looked at me with pride and a smile on her face.

Lincoln is the place where many people I love are, spiritually and physically. It may not be the most exciting and cutting edge of locations I could choose to settle in but it’s home.

And yet I feel I’ve returned back to my birthplace and that now it’s whispering “I raised you .. you were never meant to come back … you were meant to fly away on to something else”.

But just like the dutiful and doting parent I’ve come to regard it as, Lincoln is sticking with me for now.

I may still be thirty miles south of satisfactory but I’m edging closer to knowing where I need to be.

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Filed under family, home, Life, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, love and the universe, parenting

The rise of the bullyhags … they ain’t pretty and they know it

It’s quite astonishing the truths you can uncover when you’ve lived as an adult for a few years. Of course living as an adult doesn’t always equate to your age; my son for example oft displays more maturity in one word than I can eek out of my whole being.

No … living as an adult in my book is recognising life’s lessons for what they are, and not blithely taking the same route, making the same decisions and arriving at the same unsatisfactory conclusions. If it didn’t work out last time the chances are fairly high that it won’t next. Being “grown up about it” means walking away on occasion, taking a risk without being consumed with fear and seeing that the hurtful actions that others display towards you is actually testament to their own inner demons, not yours.

Surprisingly I’ve witnessed some pretty hostile behaviour towards me since my marriage broke down over three years ago, and it still leaves me scratching my head as to why that might be. What makes it even more baffling to my little brain is that it has for the most part come from other women who I’ve come to call (affectionately, you understand …) the bullyhags. Surprising, baffling …. sad and grossly disappointing. You kind of hope your own gender will be batting for you … supporting you through the good times and bad. And generally when times are bad they will support you, but there comes occasion when your day starts to brighten that a few seem intent on spoiling it.

The bullyhags will offer up a few choice sharp and sarcastic words, some deliberate attempts to freeze you out of conversations and relationships and display an underlying inference that moves are afoot to undermine your happiness.

I recall being bullied first time round by the very unrefined Susan Smith when I was thirteen because she’d heard on the grapevine that I had taken a liking to her beau, the even more unrefined Mark Firth. I should point out that I never use real names in this blog unless (I’ve just decided) they have at some point displayed the characteristics of pond life. In this case I deem my decision to name and shame wholly justified.

And so having my polo mints snatched on a daily basis because I had embarked on a crush that was the first of many unsavoury repetitions cast me in the role of the bullyhag’s future victim.

The only good thing about being intimidated in such a manner when you’re a child is that it’s done in a very obvious and visible way. Other children witness it and there can be no doubt as to what’s going on.

As an adult it can be a very different affair. It’s often done subtly, at close quarters and quite viciously. There’s often no warning nor is there an obvious reason why the perpetrator has selected you as their would-be prey. As I said … baffling.

I was a little girl who spent her entire childhood trying desperately to please and impress her father so it comes as a bit of a blow to think that there are people out there quite willing to take you down just because they don’t like the cut of your jib. And for no reason other than that.

Friends have said this is often the work of a jealous mind which always amuses me. Given that some offenders have been in secure relationships with no obvious problems financial or otherwise, I wonder how they think my life feels at 3am in the morning when I have tossed and turned in my bed wondering how my bills were going to get paid and what my future held. And I wonder how they think it feels when I look at my son and worry that I’m letting him down and not giving him the childhood he deserves. But then again, given that the bullyhags are adults I’m sure they take all that into consideration before they launch their subversive venomous attacks.

Put quite simply it appears the bullyhags like to select victims that they deem “getting a bit too big for their boots”, someone who may appear to be making progress and who just needs to be taught a lesson. I guess you only have to acknowledge the column inches in the newspapers given over to tales of woe, tragedy and torment to appreciate that bad news will outsell good any day of the week. We just don’t seem comfortable with the nice stuff. That seems for me to be one of the biggest tragedies of all.

Clearly because I’ve written a whole post dedicated to the bullyhags I’m admitting that I do get affected by it all .. but less so these days simply because I don’t have to wait for the bell to go at four o’clock to make my escape.

Inferiority is a state that’s much easier to fend off when you live your life as an adult.

Was that the bell?

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Filed under divorce, Life, love and the universe, Men, parenting, relationships, sex, Uncategorized, Women, Women in business