Ownership, irritation and dissociation

Do you take pride in what you do, in the things you make? I do. This sort of pride is sometimes described as: “feeling ownership”, feeling that something is mine, even feeling that something that I have made is “part of me”. This feeling is generally considered to be a good thing. It increases job satisfaction and motivation.
However, as with everything like this, there can be a down-side. What happens if someone criticises your work? My day-job at present involves creating design documentation for changes to an existing computer system. That means that I have to produce and take responsibility for a mixture of documents, some new (I created them) and some old (I updated them, or even some which I haven’t touched). I’ve just received a bunch of comments and, for just a moment, the “feeling of ownership” meant that these comments felt like an assault on me!
This is a common enough situation, the question is: what to do about it? In my case, the answer was to take a short walk and “dissociate”. Imagine the problem; all these comments, from different angles.

  • From the point of view of the person who made the comment – well intentioned, no thought of attacking me.
  • From the point of view of an interested third party – the objective is to produce the best possible product.

Then I imagined myself updating someone else’s work. I’ve separated myself from the emotional attachment (which was getting in the way). By-the-way, I’ve also divided the work into easy chunks, so I can concentrate on getting each “chunk” done, rather than worrying about how big it is (I’ve delegated that task to another part of me!). It has worked, and so must I! I’m off to get on with dealing with a boring but necessary task.

For those of you who are interested, I’m going to update this with some references to the relevant theories later. For now “transactional analysis” will have to do:

Nostalgia – a heady potion

I’ve just spent a very pleasant afternoon with some old colleagues. Old in the sense that many of them are now retired, and also in the sense that it has been a long time since we worked together. We had a great time!

Naturally an event like that got me thinking about “nostalgia”. Naturally, it can be nice to think about good times in the past, but it also gives us an opportunity to revitalise ourselves, by reminding us of the skills and abilities we had then, and still have but had forgotten about. The negative side of nostalgia is that it can allow us to wallow and only think about what we have lost.

Does this project the right message…

… for a hypnotherapist? The idea was to identify some of the problems or things I help people with, and associate them with colours:

  • Relaxation = Sky blue,
  • Performance = Green = Go,
  • Phobia = Fear =Yellow
  • Anxiety = Red
  • Habits = Purple

I’ve also used the colour wheel and mixing to give the order.

At some time in the future, when I’ve got more money and time, I may invest in a more natural style of flower and add hot-spots to the petals. In the meanwhile you can see the real thing, live, here:

It’s all a question of image

For most of my life I’ve been concerned with the nature of things, rather than how they make people feel. As an engineer I was interested in whether something “worked” (met its specification). In the IT (Information Technology) business, likewise, I am interested in whether something “does what the customer wants”, although it has to be admitted, ergonomics, useability or “human factors” have a role to play here.

But now, maybe for the first time, certainly for the first time in ages, I’m most concerned with how something makes people feel. I’m in the process of starting up a small (probably very small) business. Tomorrow I’m going to talk with a graphic designer about the design for a company logo. Now, I’m not going to start waffling on about “brand value”. When you are starting up a “one man band”, that sort of talk shows you have your priorities wrong. But, I want a logo that does the right things. I want something that catches the eye, is recognisable (and distintive), and that makes people want to be interested in my product. The product in question is “Hypnotherapy”.

I have ideas about what I want. I hope they are clear ideas. I can even justify why I want what I want. The question in my mind is: how do I guess what will work with the Customers (that is, my (potential) customers)?. In this context, whether I like something is irrelevant. What matters is the way the customers react to it. Now if I were a “big boy”, I’d probably hire someone to run some focus groups (or something similar) for me. But I’m not a big boy, I don’t want to invest that sort of money. So, is it just going to be me, me the wife and the kids or something else. How will I decide? For the next exciting (?) installment (and possibly a sneak preview), watch this blog!

Procastination: an incideous problem and a dangerous enemy

Towards the tail end of last week I got round to doing something which I had been putting off. During the process of “getting round to it”, doing it and then afterward, I did some thinking about the problem of procrastination.

None of this is particularly original, but I noticed a few things:

  • The (irrational) anxiety which was present while I was putting the task off,
  • The tension which I felt when trying to force myself to do it, and
  • The way the resistance increased as I tried harder and harder (The “Law of Reversed Effect”).

You’ll be pleased to hear that I got the task done, and that it was less of a challenge than the anxiety I felt implied. In fact, part of it turned out to be a complete non-event.

The techniques I used to help myself over this particular little incident (which really was not that serious), were:

  • Simple “Self-Induced Relaxation”
  • Dividing the problem into very small parts, and then starting one!
  • Using the momentum gained to propel me into making further progress
  • Congratulating myself (with positive “self-talk”) as I completed each part
  • Rewarding myself with something at the end.