• Damian Sicely

5 'Whats what' from Super Nan

It's 6.30am and the screeching sound of my awful alarm starts! After pushing it off my bedside for the 200th time hoping it breaks so I can ask Mum for a new one, I leap out of bed with a skip in my step. I hear that familiar whining sound of an old Vauxhall Viva as it tries its very best to turn over and move, that beaten classic almost acts as a second alarm as I tell myself "Grandy has left for work and Nana is up finishing her first coffee"

I'd down a few pieces of toast, get dressed and run out the door yelling out "I'm off to Nan's!" bolting across the road, up her drive, and through her door, I burst in saying "Hey Nana, want a coffee?" the same line repeated countless times followed with her famous reply "sure why not, may as well float".

This was our routine for years, coffee and a cheeky cigarette! We would talk and share stories, play cards, crosswords, do puzzles and explore her stuff while I listened to her stories about it, sometimes for hours on end. As I grew older I would be excited to visit and give her an update, to hear her thoughts on what's what in my life and listen to her advice.

On the 19th May 2018 she passed away, she left a massive hole in my life that will never be filled and I miss her greatly. My Nana was not a businesswoman, psychologist or philosopher, she spent most of her time doing crafty things like knitting, cross-stitch and she loved her gardens, and led an incredible life in all sorts of scenes when she was younger, she was our Super Nan.

Lessons in life can come from anywhere if you look, a lot of who I am and how I treat people today has been inspired by her in some way. I want to share some of her amazing lessons so that others too can hopefully learn and practice these in life.

What's what #1

I don't need to understand you to give a shit!

As mentioned, Nan was not a businesswoman and her understanding of leadership or even how to run a business was limited at best! I can't remember the number of times I explained to her what an MBA was and why I was doing it... She likely didn't know at my graduation! But that didn't matter, as long as I was happy and I was doing the right thing, I had her support.

The same can be said for the people around you, you don't need to understand every single part of what they are doing! Often, we think we need to know everything about everything when all people need is support and a listening ear to hear their problems, and for you to give a crap. Listen to hear not to respond was something that Nan always did and I loved her for it.

What's what #2

If they keep mucking you around, tell em to piss off!

My Nan was a no-nonsense type of lady, she didn't have time for silly crap and bloody game playing! She just wanted to know what's what so that it could be dealt with! If there were family members that were packing a tanty about something she had done (smoking always came up) then by god they were in the dog box! She would tell them to piss off if they didn't bring it up in a way that was kind and to the point, she would always say "God knows why they're being like this, all they need to do is bloody talk to me!"

Others are like this too, people don't appreciate being mucked around when there is conflict. This sounds so simple, yet I see and do it myself! Address the issue head-on in a way that is not conflicting and you will get more collaboration, even if it's not the outcome you wanted, isn't it better to have a good relationship than to pack a bloody wobbly with someone?

What's what #3

Oh yeah, what did they think?

Every story I would tell Nan about work, relationships or anything else she would always listen without judgment and ask me the question "What did they say/feel/think?". It was subtle and I never thought anything of it until reflecting on a bunch of things I shared with her. This was her natural response for years and years while listening to my stories about people that she had never met before, knew very little context about other than what I had told her and yet she would always want to know how it impacted them.

We typically are the hero of our own stories and the way we translate our stories to others tends to favor ourselves rather than what someone felt. Nan taught me one of the greatest lessons I could have learned in self-reflection 'it's not all about me!'. What do others think and how did it impact them is extremely important to building your own character.

What's what #4

No matter how shitty you've been I know you'll do well

It would be fair to say that I have not been a model citizen while growing up, like a lot of people I have had my challenges in my own self that I have to constantly battle to get past and people have been hurt in the process. Nan never judged me on what I'd done no matter how bad, she could see the potential that I could live into, she focused on my aspirations of whom I wanted to be rather than dwelling on the mistakes I had made.

Often people need faith in their ability to become more rather than advice on what they're doing wrong. Perhaps that's why I've gravitated to becoming a CliftonStrengths coach?! Focusing on someone's strengths rather than their weaknesses helps them further themselves much much faster.

What's what #5

Never know when I'll drop dead, so give me a hug

Probably in bad taste but Nan would crack up at this one! When life started getting busy and my visits less with Nan, our visits would always end with a big hug, kiss on the forehead and exchange of "love you heaps", often instigated with the words "never know when I'll drop dead, so give me a hug".

Appreciate your moments with close ones, this isn't just those that are in your family but appreciate those that are around you. There are people that can really piss me off at times but they are who they are and it's much easier to appreciate them for that and see the good they could do, and compliment them when it's due. Despite who they are, everyone enjoys and grows from some love.

Goodbye Nan, I'll miss you!

So there you have it, a couple of solid gems from the most badass Super Nana in this world! Life's lessons come from all around you and it's worth appreciating and sharing these with others if you think it can help them.

I encourage you to think about where you may have gained your inspiration from, go see that person and give them a big hug! You'll never know when they will drop dead and they'll appreciate every second of it.

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