Smile, surf, sleep


Talking to my daughter about her friendship angst this morning, I advocated she try a welcoming smile. 

I told her about the nice lady at work who told me about the cold snap in Romania and how it’s threatening the cherry trees; people are tending fires to gently waft smoke through the branches to protect the cherries. We both wished them well.

This lovely encounter grew from simply smiling, on three occasions as she made me a latte; and the smile developed into an exchange and then a conversation. 

Let’s see how my eldest gets on – I suspect it might take me than a smile with this ‘friend’.


I’m reading a rather terrific book about letting go of anxiety and fear and tapping into your own energy. 

More of this anon, but one of the many useful reminders is nearly everything that happens to us, in truth, is outside of our control. This means there are only two options, try to resist, control or avoid life – or roll with it. 

This week (like so many) looked on Tuesday morning (after an enjoyable but tiring bank holiday) like wave after wave of bother, problems, egos, unreasonable demands, risks and stressors; culminating in large forum event – at which I would have to orchestrate, perform and keep the whole show together. 

So it was; but by (largely) surfing along on the top of it all and not fighting it (and myself) I got through it just fine. By saving the energy on worry, avoidance and fear – I got it all done quite happily. 

As King Canute amply showed, there’s little point trying to stop the waves; may as well get up on your board and ride ’em.


My old friend sleep. I need it so much, I never get enough of it and I never do enough to make sure I do. But I have improved in a few areas… to earplugs I’ve added eyepatches and from last week a booze curfew at 9pm. 

All the book and all the sage advice in them can’t help me when I’m tired. Without my sleep I’m hopeless; with it I’m smiling and surfing along.


Troubling news (for me) from the latest in cod psychology last week, as I discover I am low on ‘Affiliation’. It transpires that although my beliefs and values place people in great esteem, my ‘revealed’ self can sometimes take them or leave them. Ouch!

For some reason that hurts. A workplace survey is to blame. Sure ‘we are what we repeatedly do’, and as someone said to me about five years ago ‘behaviour is my saviour’. But to discover I’m more motivated by ‘achievement’ and worst of all ‘power’ has really naffed me off.

Still, if the truth hurts, maybe it’s still worth knowing. I put a lot of effort into people at work and sometimes I get little back. I also tire myself out listening to other people’s problems and frequently ‘go round the houses’ to avoid ‘imposing’ or ‘forcing the issue’. Perhaps there’s something to be said for ‘route one’ and just getting it done. I know my own mind and sometimes I should just speak it. I used to.

On a work trip today I was pleasant and engaged. But I did three things I wouldn’t have pre my latest ‘test results’. First, I stopped myself from sending an email afterwards saying everything was great, because some of it wasn’t. Second, I ruthlessly deployed a friend’s trick of navigating a busy station by staring fixedly at the floor ten feet ahead. Miraculously people part like the Red Sea, the opposite of what happens if you make ‘Affiliative’ eye contact. And third I’ve just ignored a taxi driver who obviously was up for a natter (which I wasn’t) by sitting quietly tapping this on my iPhone.

Selfish? Maybe. But perhaps I’ve been giving too much of myself too heedlessly. The beneficiaries of this lapse in ‘Affiliation’? My family, who will get Dad in good time and with batteries a bit more charged. Not bad given the early start.

I’m still smarting from the test, but perhaps the diagnosis is right. It seems good ‘Affiliation’ for me is using my ‘people energy’ more wisely – with the people who matter the most.