How Do People Feel Around You?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about defining what our daily vision is.  The next task was to think about the type of impact we want to have on those around us. When a person has spent time with you, what do they come away with? How do they feel?

The answers to these questions will vary from person-to-person but by consciously thinking about the mark we want to leave on another person’s life, it gets us thinking about the other person, thus moving the focus off of ourselves.

As I pondered this task, I came up with these 3 approaches:

  1. Appreciation: does the person feel genuinely appreciated and cared about when I am with them? This could be through my words, gestures or behavior.
  2. Inspiration: is the person motivated and encouraged in some way by what I say? Positive and exuberant speech can get others excited about life!
  3. Attention: do I give my undivided attention, use eye contact and appropriate body language to ensure the person feels truly listened to?

In addition to daily vision (for example, persevering through difficult tasks, having a positive attitude, doing our work with diligence), the mental act of considering how others feel around us can get us more focused on how we affect other people.

 

Living a Less Distracted Life…Focusing on What Counts

Today, I was reminded once again what an incredible blessing it is to have children. I cannot think of another experience in my life that has challenged me, refined me and simultaneously made my heart full more than being a mother.

There are days when I am in tears from the frustration and exhaustion of parenting two little ones. But then are those days, when I finish the day feeling elated, needed and vastly important in the eyes of those two little souls who look at me with such hope, dependence and love. It almost takes my breath away.

Today was one of those happy days when I couldn’t take my eyes off my children. Their quirkiness, curiosity and energy had me mesmerized and I decided early in the day, that this was would be a day free of distractions. A day when I would be fully attentive to the needs of my children. The emails, internet, dishes, and other chores were going to take second fiddle.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when my 4.5 year old asked me what the heart was. I felt my nerdy “biology-ness” kicking into gear as I tried to explain what the heart was. Finally, we went on an expedition to our basement to leaf through one of my old biology textbooks. My son’s eyes opened wide as I showed him a schematic of the heart with all its chambers, arteries and veins. He was fascinated! He then proceeded to ask me how the brain works so we perused the biology textbook for a diagram of the brain and I explained the best that I could so that a  4.5 year old would understand.

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Our son Caleb having fun with our microscope

Our science lesson for the day concluded with my son asking if he could take a look at our microscope. At first he was frustrated that he couldn’t see anything through the eye-pieces but with some gentle manipulation of the reflective mirror, he was able to see at least a circle of light (note to self, time to find some slides and cover slips so we can observe some actual specimens). He was ecstatic when he saw the circle of light and I felt so proud of him for persevering. I think we have the makings of a young scientist! Despite my 2-year old daughter being sick and feverish the last two days, she was generally in good spirits today and regularly showered me with hugs and kisses.

As I took pictures and videos of my children doing various activities, I was reminded how precious this time with them is. I cannot take it for granted. I want to make more effort going forward to lead a less distracted life and zoom in on what I consider most important and worthy of my time. How many times has my son tried to get my attention but I’m too busy reading an email on my phone? It’s no wonder he was getting frustrated sometimes. Technology such as the internet is beneficial in many ways but I wonder how much of the outside world we miss when we get caught up in its web (no pun intended).

As I sit and write this, the house is quiet but I still hear in my mind the sound of laughter ringing from earlier in the day. Today reminded me that there can be a different way to live…a simple, less distracted life…a more focused life.

The funny things kids say:

“Mummy, you saved the day! You’re a super-hero!” Caleb said to mummy after she miraculously fixed one of his broken toys.

Mummy, just so you know, we’re going to marry ourselves…I’m going to marry Namz” Caleb informing mummy that he and his sister will be getting married.

“Mummy, why aren’t girls boys?” Caleb looking puzzled about the female ‘species’.

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Life is fun when you’re riding a stuffed monkey

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Our little musician…jamming on the piano!

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Our inseparable munchkins

Caleb and Naomi January 2016

Brother-sister love…our darlings Caleb and Naomi

 

Opening the Door to Greater Things

Whenever a door closes, another door to greater things opens. When I lost my job as a research scientist while on maternity leave earlier this year, it was a big blow to our family. I had been employed there for the past 9 years fresh out of university and had gotten used to the work culture and routine. It was a shock to my system to suddenly not be a part of it anymore.

Even though I knew the lay-offs were company wide and were not a reflection of my performance, I still couldn’t help feeling shame and guilt, “Had I done something wrong?” or “Was it because I requested an additional few months of maternity leave?

For the past 10 years, I have had the desire to become a doctor. There have been various planned and unplanned detours along the way and we ultimately decided to start a family before medical school. Once we had our two beautiful children, the question then became, “When do I apply to medical school?”. It was not an easy decision to make. Our children were very young, we had financial commitments, stable careers and paychecks. When would be the right time to rock the boat and make such a big change to our life?

Following the loss of my job, my husband encouraged me that this was the perfect time to make a change and focus my sights on medical school. I have to say that the last few months have been some of the most wonderful months of my life. I have spent valuable time with my children, become healthier, focused my sense of direction towards medical school and developed new hobbies such as writing and blogging which I have come to love!

Now that my medical school applications have been submitted and as I wait to hear back from medical schools, I cannot predict what will happen. But I do know that the past few months have been a breath of fresh air and have allowed me to strengthen the bonds within my family and gain a greater sense of perspective about what is most important in life.

So I would like to encourage you that no matter what comes your way, something good can come out of it. It may not seem like it at the moment when we are sinking, but there is always a way to get back onto solid ground. An obstacle or hurdle need not stop us. It can redirect us to something better than we could have imagined.

Image courtesy of shechanges.com

Whenever a door closes, another door to greater things opens. Image courtesy of shechanges.com

Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams…No Matter How Long It Takes To Get There!

When pursuing a dream, there will be days when you may question yourself and wonder if you are up to the task. There are also days when you will wonder if you are doing the right thing. There’s no way to know for sure of course. There’s no way to be certain until we cross that bridge and take some action towards that dream.

I first considered going to medical school exactly 10 years ago. I can’t believe that much time has passed already. During that time, I have gotten married to an amazing man and had two beautiful children. I have had the chance to live among people in a different culture from the one I grew up in. I have had the opportunity to gain valuable research experience in the pharmaceutical industry. And I have met some amazing people who have had a significant impact in my life. My path to medicine has taken much longer than I anticipated but I’m not planning on giving up, and I am grateful for the experiences I have had in the mean time.

So if it seems that your dream is taking an eternity to be realized, remember that nothing that has happened along the way has been a waste. Many of the experiences will have added to your character and perhaps better prepared you for what lies ahead. What is important, if you are going for something new and exciting, is that you are taking some concrete steps towards realizing your dream. It could be going back to school or taking an online course to get the knowledge you need. It could be shadowing someone to see what their day is like on the job. It could be getting some volunteer or work experience. The important thing is that we do something about it rather than dwell on how far we have yet to go or how difficult it may be to get there.

Image courtesy of iosphere from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere from freedigitalphotos.net