What I learnt at the circus.
Two weekends ago (yes I know it’s taken me a long time to get round to writing this blog post!) I was lucky enough to be able to fit in a trip to the circus, not just any circus, the beloved Giffords Circus. A magical village green circus that tours England throughout the summer.
I’d not been for years and at the time the big top was pitched on the stunning historic grounds of Sudeley Castle – where, incidentally, my husband and I were married four years earlier.
This year’s show is called ‘Xanadu’ meaning an idealized place of great idyllic magnificence and beauty. We were transported back to the 60’s where flower power, peace and love reigned true.
Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind while taking in the show.
Are you letting first impressions blind you to valuable connections?
Close to the beginning of the show we were introduced to a very smartly dressed mother and father who are busy chasing after and berating their young daughter who is clearly intrigued by the hippies and flower power surrounding her. She tugs in the opposite direction to them and they scold her in their ridiculously up-tight voices. They clearly want to be seen as upstanding respectable people.
They run in and out of the ring in between acts until eventually towards the end of the show the young girl manages to break free and subsequently encourages her parents to surrender to the movement of peace and love. A fantastic display ensues with the parents taking it in turns to glide through the air around the ring suspended on a rope. It was so spectacular my writing skills just aren’t up to describing this act with the true justice it deserves.
The fact that I had paid such little attention to this couple throughout the show got me reflecting on the hidden talents they went on to display. We’ve all been to networking events and been asked ‘What do you do?’ I’m not a big fan of this question because I don’t feel people should be defined just by the job they do in that moment in time. We all have a history of experiences and most of us are planning many more.
How someone seems on the surface may not be the full extent of their talents, talents which may be of use to you. I’m not suggesting, ‘So tell me your life story then?’ as an opening question at a networking event but ‘What are you passionate about?’ Or ‘Tell me a little known fact about you?’ might be a nice alternative. Warning - make sure you are ready with your own answer should the question get turned around on you though!!
Be open to the fact that first impressions can be deceiving. Don’t presume you know or write anyone off too quickly.
Direct opposites can work well together.
The policeman and the hippie. Although they were polar opposites in the show these two
came together and performed an amazing balancing act. Using their individual strengths they were able to flip and tip and roll together. How often do we look to socialise or work with people who are like us? Could it be, that accepting we can’t do it all and that we are not always right might help us to find people with an opposite yet complimentary skill set? Allowing someone else to bring something completely different to the table could elevate our game and help us break new boundaries. Embrace different.
The juggling act and work life balance.
I personally don’t believe in work life balance. There I said it. After all, who wants an equal amount stress to their levels as happiness. Much better to accept that sometimes family is going to have to take the lead and other times work is. Some projects will take more time and other tasks will have to go on the back burner.
At the end of the day the juggler was never holding all the balls at once, he bounced some in, he took some out, sometimes they were in the air and other times they were balanced on his neck. You will drop balls and that’s ok, the word multitasking was actually invented to describe the actions of the first computers, humans are not computers. Just make sure you take some time now and again to check which of your balls actually need to be in the show.
The star of the show!
The general public may often think of the clowns as filler acts but at Giffords, for me, Tweedy really was the star of the show. His energy and enthusiasm coupled with silly gags and audience engaging mayhem made him the life and glue of the show. All team members are important; some team members may have skills which are more important than you think.
I was once employed as a receptionist for a tech firm. I turned that job into something of my own. I wasn’t just simply meeting and greeting customers at the front desk. I was counselling staff, maintaining morale and setting them up for the day with a cheery smile. I made ‘flapjack Friday’ a thing, with votes on chocolate chips or raisins an important debate (Sometimes I’d make two batches.) Team morale is important and often overlooked when considering how to increase productivity. You may have staff who are not the highest paid or the most highly skilled but that doesn’t mean they don’t play a key part in your company ecosystem.
Ending on the note of increasing team moral have you considered how my Kick Ass Kindness workshop could help your business team? Click here to find out more,