So yes, you read that headline correctly.
Many moons ago, in my first ever job in the world of television production, I found myself interviewing a former British Prime Minister about the Prince of Wales at the time – now our new King Charles III.
I had secured a short term contract as the Picture Researcher for the Prince of Wales obituary update. You may or may not know that the BBC and other major channels, have a whole department devoted to updating the obituary programme that will be broadcast on the day or within days of a famous person’s death.
It’s pretty obvious really isn’t it, otherwise, how on earth would they be able to produce a programme about the famous person’s life so quickly?
The former Prime Minister I got to interview (the production was very small you understand – I was the humble researcher who was given the opportunity to perform this exciting task!) was James Callaghan, the Labour Prime Minister from 1976-79.
Callaghan had apparently, got on very well with the Prince of Wales, and my job was to tease out of him any interesting anecdotes he would be happy to share.
But the point of my story isn’t about the thrill of interviewing a former Prime Minister. It did go well thankfully, and than that was that, as they say.
No, the point actually concerns a recce trip I made to the location for the interview a few days before.
I arrived at the London office of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at 66, Portland Place – just along from BBC Broadcasting House – and was shown the room that had been booked for the interview.
My boss, who had been my main lecturer at the night school I attended to gain a TV production qualification, and had since become a close friend and mentor, had instructed me to go into the centre of the room and once I was alone, with the door shut, close my eyes.
What would I learn from closing my eyes, you may well wonder – especially for a television interview?
When you close your eyes, your hearing ability increases significantly.
My boss, John Walker, a veteran BBC producer of such well-known television programmes like Panorama, Newsnight and The Money Programme, had told me to perform this task to ensure no extraneous noises would crop up during the interview. There could have been noise from a London underground train, or an air-conditioning system (doubtful, given this was 1987!) or any number of other, potentially ruinous audible distractions.
My solitary point or takeaway for you is this:
Sometimes, it is a really good idea to stop what you’re doing and take a minute or two to think about what’s really going on around you.
Maybe the reason why that important relationship isn’t functioning so well is because it is missing something?
Your full attention for example.
Or, perhaps the real cause of the stress you’re struggling with is because you are simply juggling too many plates.
After closing your eyes for a minute or two, you might see some things you could stop paying attention to.
Whether that means delegating to someone else, or merely ceasing to do something altogether, you will know where the noise is coming from and what to do about it.
Speaking of stress, I am currently researching into what issues I may be able to help you with in a different format.
I have been working as an executive coach for ten years now and in that time, I have come across a lot of different situations, as well as a lot of very similar challenges.
I am considering offering a relatively low-cost online coaching course for anyone who struggles with the juggling act of working, being in a committed relationship, parenting perhaps, and general running around, seemingly at a million miles per hour with no end in sight.
Most people tend to accept this as normal, modern life.
But I don’t believe it has to be this way.
Even if you would never invest in a coaching course like this, I would so appreciate your thoughts on what kind of situations you face, and which areas of your work/life ‘rhythm‘ (I heard this word used recently instead of ‘balance’ but I’m not sure what I think of it yet – let me know what you think!)
If you’re happy to help me out with some market research, I promise it won’t take more than a few minutes.
Please use the link here to fill in the survey
Until next time, be blessed to be a blessing!