The A Word: A Cause for Celebration (or not!)

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind!

Everyone who sees my social media photos must think we have sunshine 24×7 in Cornwall so I thought I would post a blog picture in the rain for a change.  Jamie and I have full waterproofs and I love to walk in the rain; I really appreciate the smell of the earth as it has a natural calming effect on my overactive mind.  We’re so close to nature here it really is beautiful in all weather conditions.

I’m also happy to report I finally have my first Rheumatology appointment since the COVID-19 lockdown and it’s next Monday on my birthday!  I’m not changing it as I’ve waited too long so hopefully all will be well as I’ll get the results of the MRI scans and blood tests from February. We’re off out for dinner after the appointment and up early the following day to drive “up country” to see our family and grandchildren so a lovely week to look forward to.  We also hope to exchange contacts on the house so a busy time all round.

Like me, many people with an autoimmune disease go through periods of feeling relatively normal and then have the sudden onset of severe symptoms called “flares” making it difficult to find the motivation and energy to be active.  Self-motivation has always played a big part in my working life and private life and I thought it would be useful to write about my experience of both.

There are two types of motivation, positive and negative.  Positively motivated people will achieve something because of their own enthusiasm or interest, without needing pressure from others.  For example, being a star performer at work, living a fit and healthy lifestyle or even saving for a deposit on a house.  It’s when a person knows where they’re going, how they are going to get there and adopting that positive attitude towards achieving their goals.   

Motivation is our internal energy force that determines all aspects of our behaviour; it also impacts on how we think, feel and interact with others. Sport is a great example as high motivation is widely accepted as an essential prerequisite in getting athletes to fulfil their potential.  My daughter is a triathlete, mostly focused on the Half Ironman (70.3 distance) and her self-motivation to train never ceases to amaze me.

Negative motivation can best be described as wanting to get away from an existing condition.  Although it tends to display the same characteristics, the results achieved are markedly different from those of positive motivation.  Negative motivation is rooted on fear.  Fear means you are acting on the pressure of losing something – your current job, your money, or your lifestyle. 

The main difference between the two is that positively motivated actions will most likely have a positive outcome.   If someone is negatively motivated, their actions may have an undesirable negative outcome   A film I watched called Deep Water is great example of negative motivation.  It’s a documentary film based on the true story of Donald Crowhurst and the 1969 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race round the world alone in a yacht and it doesn’t end well.

Positive and negative motivation also applies in the workplace.  We’ve all had a boss who uses negative motivation to get their employees to work harder or perform better (yes, the stick rather than the carrot).  These are the people who focus on giving their team negative feedback, threats, or disciplinary action.

I certainly prefer carrots and I would like to think that during my career I always tried to be a positive motivator (and still do).  Positive motivational leaders are visionaries and tend to build a shared vision, rallying their team.  I’ve been very lucky to work for some outstanding people, who, whilst results oriented, they were able to motivate and develop their team to adopt their shared vision.  They pursue information to reduce uncertainty and find ways to do things better, and often cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the job done.  More importantly, they persist in seeking to achieve goals despite obstacles and setbacks.  They see setbacks as manageable circumstances and don’t take anything personally.   I’ve only worked for a “negative motivator” once and I hated it and made a mental note never to repeat that kind of behaviour.

Finally, I wanted to chat about Gin.  I know Jamie and I are late to the party, but what has happened to Gin, its amazing!  A few months ago, in one of my blogs I said I don’t drink spirits, but all has changed since we found the gin “tinnies” in Sainsbury’s. 

From “mothers ruin” to the “hipster” drink gin has now become, it’s a real success story.  There are now pink gins, gin in beautiful artisan bottles and those flavoured with honey, rhubarb, mangoes and strawberries, the list is endless. Flavoured gin has increased in abundance but it’s not just gin. Flavoured tonic is expanding in every direction, providing us gin drinkers with exciting new ways to serve their favourite gins

In 2018 it was revealed that UK gin sales had soared by 254 per cent over the past decade. The spirit was officially named Britain’s favourite drink when a record 47 million bottles were sold in one year! To keep up with demand, the number of UK gin distilleries has more than doubled, from 152 in 2013 to 315 today.  Gin has become so popular in Britain that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) added it back to the basket of goods it uses to measure inflation after a 13-year absence.

Gym?  I thought you said “Gin”, yes please 😊.  Until next time, stay safe #stayalert and enjoy the Gin xxxxx

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