Looking for the blueberries in life
Looking for something to do with my kids during a gloomy rainy day in the Alps this summer, we headed out to the woods looking for mushrooms and blueberries.
At the beginning, we didn’t find many berries at all, but by looking closer at the bushes we started to see a few, and when we took the time to stop and turn the little branches we discovered many berries hiding, waiting just for us!
It was incredible how in a few moments we went from “Nothing here” to “Mum, come, there are tons over here… and over here too…”.
How many times the little joys in life are just hiding behind the branches, and seem very difficult to spot, especially in a gloomy light, but when we take the time to look for one and cherish it, we actually start seeing that there are many around?
It almost seems like they all pop up all of a sudden. The truth is, they were actually there all along, but we just didn’t have time to see them and acknowledge their beauty.
I was working with a coachee a couple of months ago. Let’s call him John.
After about 20 years of a very successful career, John was made redundant and, although he rather quickly found a new opportunity, he was still struggling to gain his self-confidence back.
One of the first times we met, John said he couldn’t actually believe how quickly he found a new opportunity since he couldn’t see what distinctive value his new employer saw in him.
We started our work together by helping him identify what this distinctive value was.
There was a lot of silence at the beginning. A lot of “Not much…” “Nothing special…” “Average…”.
It was really hard for him to articulate what were the characteristics, skills, behaviours, and mindset that had allowed him to be so successful in the past and that his present manager was probably sharp enough to see, even if John himself did not.
But after a couple of sessions something clicked. He started recognising something he was really good at, something else people used to value him for, that reminded him of how much he loved some projects that brought him in a flow state... It was like opening the lid of a jar that had been closed too long, and that was hiding treasures.
This story came back to my mind while I was picking blueberries in the woods.
At the beginning, John was seeing only empty bushes, but once he allowed himself the time for a closer look behind the leaves and started to see the first berry, one led smoothly to the other.
What a great reminder for all of us to take the time to stop, even in busy or rough times, acknowledge the growing fruits, and know that they are there for us to harvest and share, although they might not be so easy to spot!