Start where you are standing

- April 2023

Can you believe we are in April already, and just a few days away from Easter weekend. I’ve been sensing my colleagues and clients have all been holding on for this break, many worked over the Christmas break, and need rest. Perhaps, zooming out slightly, the stretch could be from spending more energy as we come out of the Covid world, stretching again to fill our lives socially and with more office days, more cars on the roads again, and adjusting to busy daily patterns as the world pushes on.   

I’ve been reflecting on how work life and home life has shaped up over this time. It has been one year since I moved into my new house, amidst the stay-at-home Covid bubble, I loved that I had that opportunity to be at home more, and to make my new place my own. I am still enjoying creating it to be the home I envisioned when I first set foot in it.  

Most people I know, move because of a garden. They usually want less. I moved because I wanted more. A veggie patch, a native garden to encourage birds and bees and butterflies, and a place for my roses and annuals. My garden is not huge, but it has huge potential. I love it. 

Just like in my work life, I enjoy multiple projects on the go at home, my kids laugh that the lounge gets dust on it because I never sit on it long enough. Even so, all that can be overwhelming. Where to start? So much needs to be done. And I am typically impatient, wanting to see quality, positive results – a job well done – ASAP.  

“Start where you are standing,” my daughter said as we both surveyed the garden area before us. She is a young ranger in the local parks service. “We do that when we are overwhelmed with the volume that’s before us. And then it just gets done.” 

Wise words. It is actually an analogy I have always used, but my daughter defined it with those words. “Start where you are standing.” 

Decades ago I resigned from a teaching career to write my first book, a guidebook to Canberra, “Canberra’s secrets”.  I really had no idea how to write a book, I just knew that was what I wanted to do and there was a need for such a product. So I just started. I have now written three editions and they have been extremely successful. A fourth edition is also on the cards. People often comment to me they want to write a book. “So why don’t you just start?” I usually ask. Just starting is often the hardest step. 

Beginning my new role at Parbery several months ago, I was excited to see the innovation, energy and outputs happening in the projects the teams were working on. I continue to see the organisation’s values being actively played out in all that was being undertaken. 

I love being proactively engaged and working on diverse range of projects at work. It is a privilege to be in a position to make a real difference in big picture projects. So when things may become overwhelming at times, my mantra will be, “start where you are standing”.

And it will always get done.