I have found myself thinking about soundtracks of late. In the WEL we talk of changing our personal soundtracks. You know the ones?- that say we aren't well enough,or maybe good enough, strong enough or similar and they can stifle our recovery and our achievements even. Maybe your soundtrack is downbeat at times, sad too or even jarring and discordant but essentially you feel it doesn't enhance your life. But here's the thing, you can change it. And what's truly wonderful is when you change the soundtrack you change how you experience life. We aren't born with these soundtracks but life starts to orchestrate them for us. Often we think we are stuck with them but the reality is we aren't. It's a liberating thought, all we need to do is find a new soundtrack and focus on that one and create the right conditions for it too. Still the mind, be mindful rather than mind full and practice the new music. It takes effort but it does help.
Much of my work of course is with organisations and groups within them not just individuals and I have been reflecting on organisational soundtracks too. Is there one theme, one orchestra or are the strings not playing, the horn section in a different key, the brass section too loud? Is there a discordant soundtrack creating the stress and tension that gets in the way of our purpose? You get the analogy I'm sure. What creates the music though? It's the space between the notes, the relationship to each other that creates the sound; it's how they relate to each other that matters, not each one on their own. So maybe the biggest learning is that we transform organisations not in isolation, we do it through building relationships and enabling a soundtrack that is dynamic and uplifting. It’s the long game, no quick fixes here but it’s the game of sustainable change nonetheless.
It was my birthday this week. A few years ago I discovered its world cancer day on my birthday. Its been a particular source of grievance for me! It feels in the way of my birthday somehow but this year I decided to change that soundtrack. Because what two cancer diagnoses teach you is that the only thing worse than getting older, is not getting the chance to. When I was diagnosed in my thirties I never thought I would get to this age and I’m so grateful to have been able to celebrate with family around me.
I also heard that day that I hadn’t been successful in my campaign to be selected to stand as an MP in Edinburgh. And that felt ok too. I had lovely feedback from people, was true to myself and my values, met great people along the way and learned loads. I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone, which I regularly encourage others to do and maybe I didn’t succeed, but neither did I fail. So my soundtrack just now is a joyful one full of life’s wide experience with a rich tapestry of a much loved family and great friendships and I intend to play it as long as I can. And to live up to this message too....feel free to join in the chorus?