Geese, grockles and gratitude: shifting your focus to achieve more

I set off on my daily walk with the intention of combining it with a visit to the local stationer’s to pick up some office supplies. As soon as I left the open spaces on Dartmoor I spotted my mistake. Parking restrictions were in place. It was Tavistock’s big event of the year – Goosey Fair.

For me this means countless tourists (or grockles as they are known in this part of the world), market traders from far and wide selling wares of questionable quality and entertainment, and a very noisy fun-fair.

I needed to get to the shop and back again in time for my client meeting. Unfortunately for me the sun was shining which meant there were even more visitors than usual. The streets were packed. It was hard to move let alone move fast.

Negotiating the dawdling tourists I became increasingly frustrated. When I eventually reached the shop I found it closed for the day. Argh! What a waste of time!

Or was it? I noticed a small child grinning with delight as she was offered an ice-cream and something within me told me to stop and think. To my eyes, most of what was on offer was of little value but clearly many of the people in the streets were enjoying themselves. They clearly did value the experience, even if it meant parting with hard-earned cash. Who was I to judge that?

Chastened, I decided to make a detour and avoid further crowds. My route took me past the livestock auction: the original reason for Goosey Fair. I looked at my watch. There was no way I would be back in time for my appointment. I really hate being late and so reluctantly called my client to let him know.

It occurred to me that it was probably 10 years since I’d been anywhere near the market. Now, with the pressure off, I went in. The auction was in full swing and I wondered how you could tell which goose or chicken was better than the next one. Was it a simple as being a good weight and sporting shiny feathers? What could you tell from its eyes and toes? How about attitude?! If you are a goose how do you make yourself attractive to a buyer?

Homeward bound I took stock and it occurred to me how lucky I was to live in this beautiful part of the country. Unlike the geese in cages, I have the luxury of independent movement. I can choose not to buy any of the many goods on offer but I can also observe and be affected by other people’s joy. And on this occasion I got more exercise than I planned for, which is a good thing.

My client, who lives thousands of miles from here on another continent, was fascinated by Goosey Fair as a local tradition and all the history behind it. One of his challenges is around networking and demonstrating his value in the job market. The picture of the caged geese (which I sent him) was a humorous but poignant trigger to exploring how he could better articulate his unique set of skills to prospective employers. In essence how he could demonstrate his value and stand out from the crowd.

Shifting my mindset towards gratitude was a good thing. It might sound insignificant but making room for joy, for me anyway, allows for more creative thinking and a different perspective. When you take your mind off getting and allow yourself a more generous state of mind you will often be more open to receiving. I didn’t get what I wanted from the shop but I did receive inspiration for a very productive coaching session.

What are your geese and grockle equivalents of gratitude generation?

Click here to find out more about Clare’s work with leaders and their teams.

© Move Ahead Global 2015

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