Sliding doors: The small choices that make or break us

I am covered in grass from head to toe and a little damp and I have a neurosurgeon to thank for it.

Let me take you back to how this all came about. The other week I heard Dr Kate Drummond speak at Women of Letters (or should I say, smash it out of the park at Women of Letters). Kate works a lot with people who have shortened lifespans, for one reason or another and look to her to save or extend their lives. 

After the performance, someone asked her advice, any advice really for her husband dying of cancer.

Dr Drummond replied with humility, saying that she was journeying with her patients and was not an expert but she did share a critical observation.

It is quality of life, not the length of time left that matters.

Focus on quality, not on the days or weeks left. 

There is such wisdom in these words.

Quality of time is paramount but how many of us live to get to the next moment as fast as possible, without worrying about making this moment worthwhile, fun or any marker of 'quality'.

The longer I coach people and live the tools that I share, that I heal with people as they heal, that I become more whole on my own, I am focusing more on the quality of my time. On how to really live my life, rather than go through the motions.

On that point, I am writing this post after getting the urge to roll down a damp green slope at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. I found myself at the Convent after asking myself where I wanted to be. 

It was a work day. I wanted the answer to be "working really hard at home". 

Instead, it was "go for a walk in the grounds of Abbotsford convent".

Naturally, I resisted the answer.

Another part of me said “you’ve got too much to do and you’ll never get it done on time”, “focus”, “prioritise”, “walk another time when you’ve got the space in your calendar”.

I decided to go for quality of time.

I went to the Convent and walked around its lovely grounds.

I sat and thought, wrote and processed, then the thought popped into my mind…

I want to roll down the slope.

Yep, I’m talking rolling and rolling and rolling on your tummy, sideways, like when you were a kid.

Remember how fun that was?

A part of me piped up “The grass is wet. You’ll get wet. You’ll be covered in grass. There are people all around that will think you are crazy.”

Well, my mind was more or less right, but I really enjoyed myself.

It turns out that rolling down a hill is still really fun.

I was laughing and smiling and it was so sweet and I thought, God, I really could have just stayed locked up inside because I couldn't be bothered. I could have focused so much on time and deadlines (most self-imposed) and a million other things or I could go where I’m being pulled.

Or I could trust that there is a wiser part of me that knows what I need.

The part of us I also hear in my clients that calls them to ‘read that favourite book again’, ‘put that song on and sing loudly’ ‘ dance’ ‘cook’ ‘make love’ ‘send a love note to that old friend’.

That part of us that lives and breathes quality of time.

Today, I invite you to remember that part and let it speak to you.

Just once, do as it asks or pleads. See where it leads you and enjoy the quality of the ride.

N.B. It's at this point that people (I imagine) will think about all the things I needed to get done that I didn't. How it wouldn't work for them. 

Well, the cherry on top was that everything got done and so much faster and with more joy. Yep, it was all done AND I got to walk around the gardens and roll down a hill a few times. 

The lesson is, be mindful about making the most of time and turning life from routine to inspired whenever possible (you'd be surprised how often this can happen, once you get noticing). It's all about listening to that small still voice whenever possible. 


Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, life coach and researcher in work and wellbeing. I coach successful 30 and 40 somethings who want more fulfilling or bigger careers but doubt themselves and their options. I help them get out of their own way, find direction and go for what they really want.

Connect with me via Facebook and Instagram.