Talking to myself

Yeah, I haven’t been writing much recently. I have been extremely busy and as I write this now I am actually procrastinating a whole host of things that I need to be doing. But I’m only human, right?

This has been a rough week at work. I mean, there is the party line, and then there is the reality of the situation and the reality of the situation is, in a word, stressful. I realized last week that caffeine (which as many of you know I didn’t take at all for many years) is something I need to eliminate again because what it actually does is put stress on the body and when you are already under stress this is both unhealthy and actually can send you a bit off the deep end. You lose control on both uppers and downers.

During the last four work days I’d say these were the highlights (or major events, rather, not necessarily all highlights!)
• An almost all-day management meeting reviewing strategy, scenario planning, and, last but not least, our new logo. Psyched.
• A sales strategy session around Hub events during which I pointed out an obvious sale to Max and he pointed one out to me, and we both came out of meetings that day with solid leads (never mind that I hadn’t ever tried to sell something before but once you’re on the hook you can’t very well say you’re too scared to try it!)
• A meeting with Provincial Government and its monitoring agency (that controls the purse springs). Like being raked over hot coals; I was so unprepared because I didn’t realize the level of detail that was necessary in the proposal.
• An after-meeting during which I gained several key insights into the inter-agency politics involved.
• One coaching session and other than that, not enough time spent managing.
• An awards ceremony for a social entrepreneurship competition run by government we had helped judge
• A strategy session around Wines with Heart (the guy who runs that business did a fantastic job – talk about a natural marketer!!)
• Two great meetings discussing potential collaboration around the Hub
• An all-hands-on-deck to come up with a pre-selection form for GrowZones

I am feeling a bit out of control at the moment and spread too thin. And not sleeping enough – I am now on something like my fifth or sixth night of getting 6 hours of sleep. Not. Good. But it’s ok because I have a plan. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

On a related note, I am really scaring myself. I am seriously turning into a salesperson. Well, natural marketer to salesman isn’t that far off, and once you get going you can do almost anything if you are confident and start to see some success.

So Thursday night of last week I skipped out on the Jacob Zuma drinking game (otherwise known as the State of the Nation address which, by the by, snarled Cape Town traffic for days but was exciting because it brought out the snipers and armoured tanks!). Instead I brought some grass-fed goodness to my boss’ house where there was no TV and no radio and played the control dramas and personality types game. If anyone’s interested, I’m definitely an interrogator (this is from the Celestine Prophecy, if you didn’t get the reference) and according to Peter an analytical expressive, who is forced by circumstance to be an amiable driver. How’s that for a confused mashup? Probably true, though, I was just saying today how my absolute favourite part of business is trying to design how the company will actually work: what product and service do people really want to buy, at what price, and how do you do it. That’s an analytical mind at work, and yes, I probably would have been a scientist had I not gone this direction. But thank goodness I did.

On Friday my friend Jason arrived from the States. I was meant to pick him up at the airport but I couldn’t, and I felt really badly about this but thankfully one of my co-workers stepped in to help out. Now Jason is the fellow whose “I prefer Sandton to Cape Town” initiated a sequence of events that led to him booking a flight to Cape Town without even really knowing me. Hectic.

Now, who knows why the universe decided to make that unlikely sequence of events come together the way it did BUT, at dinner that night we discovered that we are actually very similar. Like … extremely similar. It’s actually a bit uncanny, but hey it makes things easy although I’ve almost stopped asking the question of “do you often find yourself doing this” because the answer is almost always yes. I will say that talking with him helped solidify in my own mind some of what I like about here: the freedom, the opportunity, and just the being. This is a good place for me to learn. And learning I am. I’m in the zone right now, and it’s awesome (well except that I need to get more sleep or I’m going to break).

So, just two examples. We were sitting at lunch in Hermanus on Sunday and I asked what he thought his greatest weakness was at work. He had never really thought about this much, so he thought for a bit and came out with something. So I thought to myself, ok, sure, now let me say what mine is. So I did and the first words out of his mouth? “It’s like talking to yourself!”

Then I completely unwittingly recruited him to the CrossFit cult. Hey, he brought it up that he wanted to copy my lifestyle while he was here to kickstart his preparation for a half Ironman, and darned if he isn’t doing just that, including eating paleo. So on the first Monday we are doing wall balls and burpees and he does exactly what I would do which is to go and take a ball that’s too heavy for your first time. Roland, of course, told him not even to think about it and I was laughing because I was thinking to myself that it’s like watching myself. And since I find this funny after he posted to Facebook something about CrossFit the next four comments look like this:
• Oh no, not you too!
• Just don’t go all cult on us … everything in moderation (except maybe beer)
• Don’t do it! Can’t afford to lose another one.
• It’s too late guys. Sorry. (that one was me)

So the weekend was a bit of fun. We started off Saturday with the CrossFit workout, then went to the Biscuit Mill and tried most of the kinds of beers on offer as well as kudu burgers. Not the most paleo of lunches but what the heck, there is only one way to take tourists to the Biscuit Mill and that’s to do it right.

Then we went to the beach, where I did handstands which I hadn’t been practicing for a long time and just chilled for like an hour and a half. Then we ran into one of our coaches who was playing beach volleyball.

Then we went to meet my friend and, as it turns out, his sister, and walk down to the rugby game. This was a very odd thing because it was a friendly and not a very well publicized one so there were literally no crowds. And the opposing team was wearing pink uniforms. You can’t make that stuff up. The game itself was actually not too terribly interesting aside from a couple of awesome plays because first of all, it wasn’t even close, and secondly the ball handling was pretty terrible. Afterwards, dinner which was necessary because I was extremely hungry (apparently after a CrossFit workout, three beers, a burger and some biltong is not quite sufficient … imagine that!). I think by the time we got back to my car and drove back into town my jaw literally hurt from laughing so much (I mean, cupcakes, milkshakes, and “the walrus” … how can that NOT be hilarious?). That’s how you know you’ve had a really good time.

THEN we went to Mercury where first the car guard accused me of being a good driver (I presume because I made a u-turn right into a nice parking space), and the sign on the door said “Enter at your own risk.” We had been invited by a couple of my co-workers to hang with them at a dubstep party and I had no idea what to expect and I actually have no idea how to describe this music other than very, very cool. A lot of bass, and rhythm, and I can’t stand house music because it gives me a godawful headache but THIS stuff I absolutely loved. I kept thinking it was late and we should go home but I was seriously just in love with the music. Not to mention that the sound system was fantastic. So that was very, VERY cool, and nothing like discovering a whole new genre of music!

Sunday we went for a long drive: to Hermanus for lunch then out east. We were aiming for Point Agulhas but didn’t quite get there because the road ended. But we did get to see some beautiful landscape, penguins in Betty’s Bay, and a fantastic evening and sunset on the R44 by Kogelberg Nature Reserve.

• “Coincidence is the thin thread that ties the universe together.” – Peter
• “The phoenix is the focus. It quells all doubts, all fears.” – Nathan
• “There is no if in the equation, is there, Ellie?” – Peter
• “I’m totally undomesticated. I don’t buy meat for home use. “ – Rob
• “I think I like this CrossFit thing. Wake up, work out, go to the market, drink beer….” “Ummmmmmmm…..” – Jason, Ellie (I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea ….!)
• “It’s not every day that you’re surrounded by a plethora of cupcakes.” – Dan
• “The way that you love your phone, I love your liver.” – Jason (this was followed not long after by “If that phone can do video, I am going to marry it!” … and it does!)
• “Your hands are soft. That’s why they keep ripping.” – Jo (it’s true … they are soft much to my chagrin)
• “Ellie, keep your body straight. ELLIE! Keep your body STRAIGHT! Jo, keep your body straight! Thatch, keep your body straight!” – Roland (this was much funnier in the actual delivery)


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