It’s been more than two months since the fire broke out in Primark, in the heart of Belfast city centre. Royal Avenue remains closed off, with a number of local businesses still closed. Other nearby businesses have been affected; once positioned on a main thoroughfare, they’re now at the end of a cul-de-sac. Many are not going to continue trading much longer.
I have no financial evidence, but other businesses must be experiencing a surge in trade. Walking into the city centre from the City Hall, footfall remains heavy in Donegall Place. To move east or north east you could have walked down Castle Place and High Street, or turned down Castle Lane towards Cornmarket and Victoria Square. With Donegall Place cordoned off however, all pedestrians must now use Castle Lane, resulting in it being densely packed. Buskers, once scattered through the city centre, now line Castle Lane and Cornmarket. Why wouldn’t they? It’s the busiest place in Belfast.
I can’t help but make the connection between this change in footfall, and my work life. Often, I ask a group about where they want their energy to be spent, and where it is actually expended. When a group says this value is important, but other things get in the way. Or when someone says this is what they most love doing, but find themselves bogged down by things they dislike.
These are good questions to ask yourself.
-Where do you most want your energies spent?
-Where are your energies mostly spent?
And of course, the inevitable third question:
-What changes could you make that might result in a greater flow towards the things you care about most?
Two quick examples. I love social media. I pick up a lot of news and views from Facebook and Twitter. I try to access a range of opinions, but sometimes I find myself irritated by certain perspectives, political ones especially. I don’t necessarily say anything, but I can find argument and counter argument rattling around in my head, taking up space, using up energy. I recognised a while back that I wanted my energy spent more productively, so, from time to time, I simply hide certain posts, or even unsubscribe altogether. A potential distraction is ruled out and my energy is free to be elsewhere.
I love painting, but for a while I never seemed to get around to it. Part of the solution was to create a space where my paints, brushes and palettes sit out ready to be used. That, and always having a project on the go. As far as I can, I try not to finish one project, before another one is started. That way, it doesn’t take too long from sitting down at my desk to get painting. I don’t need half a day, half an hour is enough.
The first is a barrier, a way to stop something happening. The second is a pre-commitment, a way to make something more likely to happen. Both can change flow.