Blog Posts

Happiness – Orange makes it for me...

As an Executive and Team Development Coach, I’m very much in concerned with the attributes, beliefs and behaviours that underpin high performing people and teams in organisations – big and small.  I’ve seen enough of flip side of these in my own corporate career to know in minute detail, how upping the ante on a few positive behaviours can positively shift productivity and minimise dysfunction in the workplace – that’s why I’m so focused on it.

My post graduate studies into organisational culture and coaching psychology,(in the early 2000’s) were underpinned by the notion of Positive Psychology, which was entering the vernacular at the time.

Then, as indeed now, I allude to some of its key tenets when working with clients.

For example, a person’s pre-disposition to optimism, has been shown to positively impact their careers and relationships.  It greatly assists people when striving for the achievement of goals, as does their resilience quotient, as demonstrated by their ability to bounce back after a setback etc.

Not only do I still use some of these tenets, after all they are evidence based and critically acclaimed, but I also make use of practicable and arguably less scientific ideas - just because they’re simple, accessible and actually very useful.

I’ve recently been reading a book written by Gretchen Rubin, a writer and podcaster living in New York with her husband and two daughters.  She’s written several books on happiness and breaking bad/building good habits and it occurred to me that this is what I’m often working on with my clients.

Somebody at some point asked Gretchen: ‘what makes you happy’ and she realised she couldn’t really answer – didn’t really know. Other than flinging herself on the couch with a glass of wine, watching Netflix episodes back to back, (Ms TC can relate!) she didn’t really have a clue – except of course the usual health and happiness of her family.  So she began working on this and came up with the following:

- decluttering, gave a sense of calm and peace – which made her happy, as did ‘lightening up’ as she calls it

- making time for play and “goofing around” more with her kids – something she’d stopped doing due the pressures of work/life etc. When she made an effort to have more fun, it made her kids laugh and she in turn laughed and that made her happy.

I’ve certainly realised some similarities in my own life.  Work stress (when I was employed by indiscriminate and selfish employers...) as well as other life pressures, had a significant impact on my happiness over a decade or so.

So I got to thinking about what makes me happy.

When we bought a rather sad, albeit sound, cottage in Orange, we rented it out as it was.  We had plans for it but weren’t able to do anything with it right then, even so, that made me so happy!

It gave me an anchor to this pretty place called Orange – a reason to visit, something to focus a future upon, something to look forward to.

These days, as we are finally realising the dream of having renovated the cottage – we are almost at the end of a very long to-do list - I’ve realised even tiny things about it, make me happy:

- Hitting Bathurst after the drive up from Sydney, at the start of a 3 day stint at The Sampson – makes me happy with anticipation.  Even though coming to Orange has meant hard work and the typical stress involved with renovating a place over the past 6 months, ready for guests, it has also meant a lighter mood for me, which means Mr TC feels it too and he also relaxes into the DIY he both loves (as it’s physical and tests his significant problem solving skills) and loathes (as it detracts from his other business interests).  Not for much longer, MrTC, xoxo

- Sitting on the patio at the back of the house, with a glass of wine, enjoying the sense of space and the quiet - the trees in the garden, the climate, and watching the family of magpies.  The babies are growing fast but continue to squawk at their parents for food, as they pick worms from our garden twice a day – they are fascinating!

- The Robinia tree, when it’s in full bloom, wondering at its Wisteria looking pink buds and the climate – did I mention the climate?

Those who know me well, know how I loathe Sydney summers – the soaring temperatures combined with the intense humidity make it almost difficult to breathe, let alone function.

I hate it with a passion, even after 25 years here, staying for love, not out of choice.

And whilst temps in Orange during summer, certainly soar too – more often than not, humidity is a lot less and it’s followed by the cool climes of northern hemisphere, autumns with concentrated and amazing colours, properly cold winters, the like of which I remember vividly from growing up in the UK.

The fresh, newness of spring.  The snow drops, daffodils and incredible blossom trees. Rugging up and walking outside, seeing your breath in the cold….. Ahhh – just thinking about it makes this English girl happy.

Whenever I hit outskirts of Orange, I feel the tension slip away.

Where do you go for your tension release?

And remember... when next in Orange, make sure you stay at The Sampson – Orange

Jacqui Ferris