Go On - Make That Telephone Call...
A few years ago I was studying to become a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). The training sessions were held in picturesque Henley-on-Thames in the heart of rural England.
The course was quite intense, focusing on the belief systems we all hold and how these impact our feelings, our thinking styles and our behaviour patterns. It questioned our habits and motivations, understanding ourselves so we can understand others with the overall aim of achieving excellence.
At some point in the course we found we had 20 minutes of spare time. Our course leader declared time-out and asked us to go somewhere private and telephone someone we wouldn’t normally call. Questioning my own behaviour patterns, I went to my car and scrolled through my contacts list. Declining all my workplace contacts I made it to ‘M’.I called my mum.
‘Hi mum, it’s me. Paul. How are you?’
‘What’s up? Are you ok? Is everything alright? Is something wrong?’
‘Everything’s fine, mum. I just thought I’d give you a call. To see how you are. How are you?
‘I’m fine. Where are you?’
‘Henley. Henley-on-Thames. I am on a training course. I’ve some spare time so I just thought I’d give you a call to see how you are’.
‘Aw. I love Henley-on-Thames. I remember on the day that war broke out, me and your grandmother were so fed up we decided to escape London and spend a day there. We had such a lovely time there, down by the river. It allowed us to forget all that rotten stuff…’
My mum then went on to share some real magic, the sort of information that I would never have discovered had I not made that call. It revealed so much - a private and precious moment that, until now, I have not really made public.
The call ended some 15 minutes or so later. I know it made us both feel so much better. Mum sharing her story and me listening. And her enjoying the experience of me making that unexpected call. The gift of time is a real treasure.
A few months later I decided to take my mum for a day out. Where did we go? Henley-on Thames. Not enjoying the best of health, she was happy to sit in the sunshine by the river and watch the world go by. I didn’t want to invade her privacy and peer into her eyes too much. If I did, I am sure I would have seen a young girl, with her mum, wondering of all the uncertainties, fears, dangers and turmoil that lay ahead in September 1939.
Here in April 2020 we have our own uncertainties, fears, dangers and turmoil to deal with. Covid-19 is an invisible and indiscriminating killer, cited as the biggest threat since World War II. Health and economic wealth will suffer but we will recover. That’s what we do.
One blessing that this lockdown has given us is time. Time to reflect and time to contact others.
So, go on. Make that telephone call. You may never know what magic you will discover and memories that you’ll create and treasure as a result.
Director & senior consultant