Christmas, Drought, Family and Plans

Dec 01, 2018
Posted on Dec 01, 2018

I’d like to share a personal, true story about Christmas, drought, family and plans. 

Traditionally I remind everyone as we head into December about what I call ‘Christmas Crazy’. I call it this because it seems every year we make that huge effort as we head into Christmas to “get it all done” so we can relax. 

What I love about my recent conversation with a client was that it was so ‘counter cyclical’ … it went completely against what seems to be the norm. Here goes …

We had planned a meeting for the next week. The conversation went like this:

“We’re coming to Brisbane to pick up the kids. We reckon we can fit in a meeting (about some vitally important business planning that will have ramifications for 10-years) for maybe 2-hours then we need to get going, pick up the kids, get on the road, and drive into the night to get home”.

About 10-minutes into the conversation, we started to talk about what each of our families would be doing over the Christmas period. We both discussed how the drought was stretching family relationships, how family was most important (we both are looking forward to sitting under a tree and relaxing with family, just talking idly about ‘stuff’) and how it is so easy for decision making to become clouded as we rush about in the lead up to Christmas.

Then she said to me, “you know what I am really looking forward to? It’s talking to the kids as we drive home, to check in and see how they’re going and to have some down time to just start the family time we are looking forward to over Christmas.”

Finally we got onto my favourite (but often most confronting) topic of “what’s most important to me?”

So what did we decide?

  1. Family is most important to us both.
  2. Drought is playing havoc with emotions.
  3. If in doubt, let’s get family around us – particularly the kids (as they can sense when emotions are running riot) – so everyone (including Mum and Dad) are feeling more settled.
  4. Decisions that have a 10-year impact shouldn’t be rushed, and can most likely wait until next January or February.
  5. Better to drive home in peace and quiet, no rush, aim to talk to the kids and as a couple.
  6. When we have had family time, are feeling more settled as a result of a simple low-key Christmas, even if drought is still with us, we are better placed to make those big decisions.

In summary, we decided family first, reduce pressure and anxiety, address emotional stability and leave the really big decisions to when we are more relaxed and can likely think more clearly.

Does this situation feel familiar to you?

Take some time out for yourself this Christmas. Remember, direction is always more important than speed, and sometimes you need some time out to get clarity about what’s most important. Then the rest will just follow.

— Gordon Stone