What you can learn from a gecko in this situation!

Doctor and Women's Empowerment Specialist, Nicola Harker shares learning from unexpected places.

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On Easter Sunday in our household, an extraordinary event took place.  My son's pet Gecko, who has been living with us since August 2019, produced 2 baby geckos!  This was quite a surprise because the gestation period of a gecko is about 32 days, and our little gecko had been living with us, alone, since August! 

A Miracle I hear you ask? 

 Well no, actually geckos can decide when they are ready to produce their eggs, and apparently, when she mated 8 months ago, she didn't feel it was the right time.  So she stored up the sperm until now, then fertilised and laid her eggs when she was ready, a full 8 months later.

 Why am I telling you this story?  Well, first I just thought a little good news might be welcome at the moment!  But there is another point to this tale. Sometimes we need to wait for the right conditions before we can spring forth a miracle.  Whether you are in employment and wishing for a promotion or a change of role, or you are an entrepreneur trying to navigate your path, knowing when to be patient and when to push harder is a real skill. 

In our current situation, we have the added external limitations placed upon us.  Those conversations you hoped to have, those decisions you hoped to make might not feel so appropriate right now. So what can you do? 

 My approach to every situation is that it's an opportunity.  Waiting for the right moment doesn't mean wasting your time.  This is a perfect opportunity to research, learn, consider, and test. 

 We are usually in such a rush to DO things, but have you taken the time to thoroughly research your ideas?  Have you fine-tuned your communications?  Have you made a financial plan? 

I am hearing two very distinct work challenges at the moment.  Employees whose bosses are saying "of course we don't expect so much since you are juggling homeschooling and working from home" but then continue to pile on the deadlines!  And the self-employed who are feeling scared and disorientated, unsure whether to take action or to panic.  If you've been furloughed, there’s the additional challenge of managing the feelings of anxiety that come with uncertainty, and in some cases still being expected to stay connected with work.  A kind of limbo. 

Whatever your situation, the solutions have remarkable similarities:

  • Boundaries:  be clear when you are working and when you are not.
  • Focus:  when you are working, remove distractions (phone/email) and work deeply for bursts of 45-90 minutes.  Use a timer to stop yourself running on and on.
  • Self-care:  drink plenty of water, eat regularly, avoid snacking on sugary food which makes you feel tired minutes later. Get outside when you can.  Exercise even if you aren’t a gym bunny!  Hoovering, yoga, dancing, cycling, walking, whatever it takes!
  • Structure:  What is your key objective for each short burst of work and how long does it need?  Trying to work without clear goals does nothing for your productivity. If you've been left with no structure, create some anyway!
  • Gratitude:  keep bringing your focus back to what you can feel grateful for, not what is wrong/difficult/scary.  You will drain your energy if you focus on fear.
  • Connect: talk about the challenges rather than isolating yourself.
  • Plan:  It can feel like a mountain to climb, so break any work or planning down into manageable chunks, schedule your time, be realistic, delegate where you can.
  • Whether furloughed or working, be proactive about creating a list of activities that lift your mood:  zoom quizzes, dancing around the kitchen, connecting, reading, watching movies, tidying, taking a long bath, yoga, pilates, walking, nature immersion, face-painting, decluttering, getting creative, audio books....

And always remember the gecko who waited until the time was right.

(Photo by Yeh Xintong on Unsplash)

Nicola Harker

Coach and Mentor (ex-doctor) and teacher of Self-Compassion, Nicola Harker Coaching

Using neuroscience, self-compassion techniques and coaching as well as high-performance techniques I help my clients free their potential and get back to their true selves so that they can thrive in life.