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Unexpected Gifts

You know how it happens sometimes. You go looking for a particular reference and come upon something else, totally unexpected, and it’s a little gift. That’s what happened to me this morning. I got two gifts in fact. I was asked to check a document for someone and there was a short quote from Maya Angelou .  I thought the last line wasn’t correct so I checked the original. What I uncovered was the much longer quote it came from. You might know it, it’s the one that ends “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Sound familiar?

So the first ‘gift’ was the reminder how this is true for our work as supervisors. If my supervisees go away feeling more resourced in themselves, if they feel that something is clearer, even if the details are still to  be worked out, I have a sense I have been my most effective and maybe even motivational. If they feel somehow a bit different at the end of our session because a shift has happened and the thinking has come ‘downstairs’ into the heart and gut I’m confident they have found some of what they need.

The second gift comes from another part of the quote: “…..I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she handles [these} three things:  a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights….” Now that got me thinking. Firstly, how do I approach those 3 things? Do I approach them all well? The same way each time? I think I’m more generous with the first and the last. Lost luggage is a pain in the neck -or elsewhere. It reminded me that the answers to these questions help us to understand that if we can shrug off the stuff we can’t control, and not get over riled about the tiny ones that are irritating, but utterly solvable with time and patience (or scissors), then there’s a good chance our priorities are going in the right direction.  When our supervisees or clients bring us dilemmas they are often a lot more serious than Christmas lights or lost luggage, but still clients can get caught up staying with the things that they can’t change. Too much energy is then focused in a brick wall direction.  Helping them step back, take a “change breath” and work out where to put their best endeavours builds resourcefulness and resilience in the face of those things beyond our control but still vexing in the extreme.  A light touch, too, can come in handy many times.

So from my little detour this morning I leave you with a question: if, as the author says, you can tell a whole lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things- what would be the three things  you  would choose to give you a good indication of someone’s measure?

Karyn Prentice    Assistant Director  CSA    www.fletcherprentice.com

February 2012

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