“Some people think I’m bonkers, but I just think I’m free. …. Bon bon bon bon bon bon bon bonkers.”
“Bonkers”, Tongue n’ Cheek (album), Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden, 2009.
Wow, a bit of a delayed start to the blogging for 2014, so I owe an explanation of what happened. Firstly, we moved house to somewhere 1000kms away. I deeply admired the creativity of the removalists fitting a whole house into a 20 foot shipping container, but not as much as I admired my wife, who packed just about every box.
After 5 weeks off, my feet hit the ground in my new Melbourne offices 3 weeks ago. I got asked a few times:
“So, how was your holidays over Christmas and New Year?”
…to which I answered…
“Yeah, really good thanks. I had purpose, control and maintained balance. And I built a Tardis.”
Mostly the responses were arched eye-brows, some were maniacally excited (those who knew what a Tardis is). But for me, I was just articulating a very deliberate approach to my time off. Here is the back-story.
I’m a massive fan of the iconic British Sci-Fi TV show Doctor Who. The main character (‘the Doctor’) travels through time in a blue box, called the Tardis (‘Time And Relative Dimensions In Space’). He always takes a companion or two, who are removed from their day to day circumstances for glorious adventures across the universe. (From what I can tell, they don’t even have to do the washing while they are gone. Now that is a good holiday; a complete withdrawal from our day to day routines…but I digress).
I’ve previously built a Tardis 2 years ago, because I needed a new letter-box. I actually lost my blogging virginity by recording the 9 month build process at a super little website called tardisbuilders.com. I also run Kaizen (continuous improvement methodology) workshops, which feature a basic process mapping technique known as SIPOC. To help make this a little more engaging for participants, I started to get them to do a SIPOC from scratch to record the process if they were to build a Tardis letterbox. Talk about creating intrigue! (When I bump into people who have been on the workshop, they always say “you’re the Tardis guy!”. I ask them to explain what a SIPOC is. Ha!).
Anyway, last October I ran a Kaizen workshop to a class of our 2013 graduate cohort. It can be a tough-sell, because they have only been in the company a short time and they are just getting to know all of our processes, but they certainly have inquiring minds and confidence to articulate their thoughts. I ran the SIPOC section Tardis-style as per usual. One of the grads was particularly taken with the Tardis Letterbox, and uttered “I wish we could sell that at our charity auction for StreetSmart in February.” Something I love about the grads every year is they don’t see the boundaries longer-term employees do. So, I made a snap decision. “I’ll make you guys a Tardis over Christmas to auction off.”
And not just that, I made two. One for the auction, one for the new home we were moving to. It was great to switch off from work, clock up 50 hours working in the man-shed with wood and power tools. Beyond that, it was a creative outlet; in truth I didn’t feel like blogging during this period, probably because my craving to create was already satiated. The feeling that I was mostly tardis-building for others – through a period where I knew my wife and I’s focus would be on ourselves more than usual – meant an outcome of retaining some balance and anchors of self through a period of sometimes stressful transition.
On reflection, that was my most successful holiday ever. I had purpose which I planned around, and the feeling of control helped me relax. You see, I’m scarred. In the past I’ve had times where I have lived without balance, and it’s almost killed me. I’ve learnt some lessons of good personal energy management the hard way. Building tardises isn’t bonkers, living without balance is.
PS – the photo above is the Tardis I built for StreetSmart, safely strapped in on it’s way to being dropped off to the grad cohort. Because I moved house, I couldn’t be at the charity auction last week in Sydney, but I heard that the Tardis made a lot of people smile, and raised $550. Happy days!