Happy Anniversary

Maybe it’s just me but I think I’m seeing more than the usual share of Happy ‘Work’ Anniversary messages on LinkedIn this month. Doubtless some of my recruitment friends will either endorse or disprove the theory that more people get new jobs in January than any other month of the year.

I also read a loving, uplifting tribute to a father by Neil Morrison this week. His Dad has turned 70, and Neil’s ‘Lessons in Life’ is a great piece about dignity, trust, wine corks and more. Real birthdays beat work birthdays hands down.

Neil’s post put me in mind of my Dad, and then it hit me that he died two years ago today. In the immediate aftermath I wrote about aspects of loss several times, and then disappeared down a rabbit hole of paperwork and grief. That stuff got done, like stuff does, and I wrote about a sense of emergence for Alison in her December 2013 advent blog series.

The emergence continues at pace. In business terms, 2014 has started how I always wanted a year to start, productively and enjoyably. I am crafting a space where I help people collaborate more effectively, help them explore better ways of working, and get comfortable with creativity and experimentation. More and more people are asking for that help and I’m thankful and excited. I love my work – it often brings me to huge laughs and tears, and much more besides. I’m thankful. Did I already say that? Who cares – I am thankful.

I choose to believe that where I am right now is a complete product of where I’ve been before, and in making that choice, I am able to see the death of my father as one of those pivotal moments that lends huge support to the foundation of my life. Taking strength from loss is one of the hardest things I do, and one of the most humbling and fulfilling things too.

As my good friend Heather put it:

There is so much out there about how to succeed, but so little about how to make it through a hard time. Learning how to rest, grieve, change, and get through difficulties are the essential ingredients of any success. Thank you for this!

Thank you Dad, and happy anniversary.

In a lovely coincidence – I have today received a note from the Friends of LittleHeath Woods (FoLW), a place we played as kids, and an organisation Dad supported staunchly. We made a donation to the woods after Dad died, and the FoLW has decided to reintroduce English Elms back into the woods in Dad’s memory. A regeneration project in Paul Shaw’s name – what a lovely thoughtful thing to propose, made even better by the fact that I learned of it today.

7 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary

  1. Ian Sutherland

    Doug, pragmatically, in my world it is the appearance of new corporate budgets in January that is a major factor in people starting new roles in the New Year s0 you are probably right that there is a higher than usual frequency around this time of year.

    Secondly I am glad life is going well for you. I think we do have a huge hand in the luck we enjoy, in our attitudes and spirit. Your approach to the last few years has been a joy to watch, even if it may have been less fun to live.

    Lastly there is something an old firm did with its senior management (I did not qualify at that time) and that was looking at something called the individual’s Adversity Quotient ie AQ rather than IQ or EQ. It was supposed to give insight on how a person dealt with adversity. While I think history will question whether it helped that particular company I do think that there may be something of value in there should you be interested to look.

    Take care.

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Hi Ian – I hadn’t considered the budget thing – can see how that would have an impact.

      Thanks for your kind words – I’m mindful we haven’t seen each other in a long while, I’d like to rectify that if you would too? And in the meantime I will look into AQ – I like the sound of that.

      Cheers – Doug

      Reply
  2. Tim Kitchin

    Doug. You rock. Stay positive. I have just been through the four year anniversary of losing my Mum, but I fear I lost my Dad many years before he died. Somehow hurtier this year, which I take to be a good thing. Bearing honest witness to this radical pain remains a daily grind for me, but as you suggest that grind can and does, eventually make flour… Now I have a teenage son I understand some of the very particular difficulties he had. Knowing he is still reachable in some sort of Einsteinian space time eternity – physically reaggregated; genetically encoded; socially enfolded and spiritually included within God is a great comfort. Kurt Vonnegut’s book Timequake was a comfort to me when it happened. Scotch was less so. Doesn’t drown sorrows as rumour suggests, just floats ’em downriver.

    Reply
    1. Doug Shaw Post author

      Hey Tim – what a pleasure to hear from you. I may be wrong – I often am, and I think my first ever twitter interaction was with you in relation to the passing of your Mum. Like you say, a daily grind indeed, and some things are meant to be ground.

      I don’t have a son so I can’t directly play things out to him but I am wonderfully fascinated and proud to be a parent of the lovely Keira, who invigorates and challenges me.

      I will check the book you suggest. I rarely drink Scotch as I’m not a big fan of floaters!

      Love – Doug

      Reply

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