What is ONE Thing that Keeps You Centred in Uncertain Times?


How do we retain our mojo in rapidly changing and uncertain times?How do we stay centred and nurture our soul in times of volatility and ambiguity? I believe it comes down to knowing and living our ONE Thing.

Let me explain.

In the movie City Slickers, four friends from the big smoke are approaching middle age. Struggling with work, marriage, and life, they go on a cattle drive to reclaim their vitality and their sense of self.

But they’re fish out of water around the horses and cattle, and find it hard to cope with camping out. When city slicker Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) is separated from the group with head cowboy Curly (Jack Palance), Mitch laments his place in the world, and expresses admiration for Curly’s life. To Mitch, Curley appears master of his domain. If a crisis occurs, Curly sorts it out. When he brings home the cattle after a long drive, his life makes sense.

Sensing Mitch’s dismay, Curly says: “Do you know what the secret of life is?”.

When Mitch says “No”, Curly holds up one finger:

“This. Just one thing – you stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t.”

Mitch replies “That’s great but what’s the one thing?”

“That’s what you have to figure out.”

Believe it or not, a few years ago, I was invited to join the leadership team of Medibank on a cattle drove starting near Emerald (outback Queensland) to raise funds for mental health services in the area. After a prolonged drought the locals were really struggling emotionally and financially.

My role was to give talks on resilience and mental health, do some radio interviews, and facilitate discussions with the leadership team.

Before we went on the cattle drive I watched City Slickers again, and was struck by Curly’s “Just one thing” scene.

As we rode for 5 days without internet or phones, I pondered what my one thing was. It wasn’t easy to choose!

Whilst reflecting, a pattern emerged for me. Most of my days start at 5am with 30 minutes meditation, followed by a walk in the national park near our home. On my return, I plan my day – which then often turned out to be a great one. I decided that my one thing was meditation – it was the centrepiece of the day for me, and led to everything else falling into place.

After we finished the cattle drive, I led a discussion with the group and shared the scene from City Slickers. Sharing that my one thing was meditation, I asked the group what their one thing was.

Surprisingly, answers came quickly. I think this directly related to having time without the distraction of phones and internet coverage. For one member, when his relationship was strong with his wife, everything seemed to take care of itself. For another, it was his two bike rides each week. For a third, quality time with their four year old daughter was essential.

I’ve now asked this question hundreds of times in seminars. Responses include beach fishing twice weekly, jogging in the bush, gardening, and regular family dinners. I’ve had a burly coal miner say that singing in the choir twice a week was his one thing. Another woman told me that her one thing is to get into her little aluminium dinghy, heading out to sea for 10km, and then fishing!!

What is your ONE Thing?

For some people ONE Thing will come immediately to mind. For others it can take a while to work out. I would encourage you to not only know your ONE Thing but commit to living it.

Take action: Commit to deciding when and where you are going to LIVE YOUR ONE THING.

LIVE YOUR ONE THING – schedule when and where to do the thing that keeps you centred and nurtures your soul – is Ritual 1 of the “7 Rituals of Resilient Leader” poster which can be download atwww.GraemeCowan.com.au

Please share in the comment section what you think your one thing is?

Graeme Cowan is an author and speaker who shows leaders how to build their resilience, mood, and performance by being their true self. To download hisspeaking brochure click here. If you have questions about his availability or suitability for presenting to your organisation please emailSonja@graemecowan.com.au or call +61 2 8005 0344

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