It is Saturday and time to share a blog that I have enjoyed and perhaps you may as well. This week’s blog is called Inspire Someone Today by W A E L. The posts are short but sweet and always uplifting. Put some good energy in your Inbox and start your day right!
Today I am going to upgrade my personal phone from a non-smart device (yes, it had an old-fashioned slide-out keyboard) to an iPhone 8. Yes, I know: it’s time to get out of the stone ages. Isn’t it cute & quaint though? 🙂
Since I have had an iPhone for work, I have not felt the need to upgrade my personal technology. It was adequate – I could text and call, but I did not really need it, and since I am pretty frugal about my utility bills, I did not want to pay for an unnecessary data plan. But now that I’m 5 weeks out from leaving my corporate job, it is time to upgrade and get all of my important data and contacts migrated over.
It’s such a pain though, isn’t it? That is the reason I have not yet done it. Every time I upgrade to a new platform, I seem to lose 10-20% of the useful stuff. I really want to preserve my meditation app, Insight Timer, but I am trying to figure out if I can move it from the work phone to the personal. I guess I probably need to connect my iTunes app to my personal email rather than my work.
Seems like this process could take a lot of steps. Oy.
Well, I have real work to do this morning, and I will spend the afternoon on figuring out my tech upgrade. It makes sense that I give myself the proper time to adjust to the new system, figure out how it works, and make sure I’ve got what I need well in advance of my exit timeline.
I’m gonna keep this post short because I want to devote time to wrapping work things up before the weekend. If you have any advice on upgrading platforms, or migrating things (like my Audible App or the Podcasts App) so you do not lose things that you use all the time, please let me know!
This week I am introducing a topic which may be one of a series, since it is complex topic. But it arose for me as I was attending a work gathering last night and observing the way in which I and others approached the food and alcohol service on a patio restaurant for a social event.
First let me say that work social events have always made me a bit uncomfortable. Over the years I have learned ways to enjoy them (generally without alcohol) but as an introvert, they wear me out. Especially after a long day of meetings, a work event to attend can feel like a special brand of hell to those of us who just want a break from having to interact with people.
For many years, my approach was to be sure I had a glass or two of wine, or a beer, to help myself relax during these events. Many of us know alcohol to be a “social lubricant” and rely on it for loosening up our tongue and not feeling as tense or nervous about having to make small talk.
A couple of years ago I decided to stop drinking completely for a period of time. While I am not alcoholic I noticed I was relying too heavily on wine to relieve my discomfort, and I did not like the habitual nature and automatic desire every evening. It was at the same time that I realized I am in a work culture where many, many people drink at work social events. It is a norm, and I suppose among a lot of introverted engineer types, social lubricant many seem like a necessity sometimes.
When I was not drinking, I felt a lot of pressure from colleagues, and the only answer that caused people to back off from asking why I was not drinking was to tell them it interferes with my sleep. Somehow, then it is less socially acceptable to pressure someone to drink.
But the same goes for pressure around desserts: when you do not have a dessert on my team, everyone gives you crap about it! Tons of pressure.
So the point I want to make in this brief blog (since I will need to run off to meetings again today) is that we often eat, not because we are hungry, but for other reasons, like social pressure. We drink for reasons like that as well.
There is a great episode of Hidden Brain which discusses this topic, and I encourage you to listen if you are interested in the topic of food and psychology. Why we eat goes far beyond actual physical hunger. It sometimes has to do with being unable to tolerate social pressure or personal discomfort.
But we can teach ourselves how to pay attention to our own hunger signals and become comfortable with the momentary discomfort of rejecting food when we really do not want it. Learning this skill we strengthen our ability to make other challenging choices as well, and for me, that has transformed my ability to manage my weight.
Okay, time is limited and I think I will make this into a series, continuing the topic on my next Wellness Wednesday when I will be home and not at all-day work meetings. Happy hump day!
Today’s post will be brief, as I am off to facilitate a panel at my work conference this week, featuring geography perspectives on the new process for External Research Projects at our company.
Since I represent Latin America, and I have facilitated before, I am substituting for the individual that was originally scheduled to complete this task. I probably should be more nervous than I am about it. I only reviewed the slides yesterday for the panelists, and I have not devoted much time to prepare.
But I am strangely calm, and I think it is because facilitation is my JAM. It is about being in the moment, staying aware of what the audience and panel need, and helping to make the session more interactive. I have that skill, and this group is familiar to me. So I shall extract confidence from that, and not worry too much about the outcome.
What skills do you have where you are confident in your abilities? Do you have a chance to use those skills every day?
After a lovely two weeks of vacation, on Monday I am “heading back in” to work mode. My husband took a picture of our cat Calvin, who was lolling about on his foot on Sunday, enjoying the sensation of connection. I thought it illustrated my sentiment fairly well.
Going back to work sometimes makes me feel like that, but I guess that’s one way to know I am not aligned with the work I do now. The School of Life has an excellent video about that “Sunday Night Feeling” which I encourage you to check out if you sometimes suffer from the Sunday blues.
I am so grateful for the time off. It gave me some perspective on the situation and on what my intentions are for the coming weeks. I completed some coaching homework, including a timeline and plan for my 1-year goals. I had a good conversation with my husband about what we are prepared to do in order to go from two regular incomes to one for a few months during the transition. My intention is to leave my current job behind in August, and to try to work on my own as a consultant.
I plan to offer my skills in facilitation, strategic planning, human-centered design and change management to companies and departments where I can add value. While my last few years have been primarily focused on clinical research project management in the medical device field, my skills are transferable.
I really enjoy organizing and leading multi-disciplinary problem-solving sessions for leaders or individual contributors that allow people to think big and dream differently about their work. I have a lot of experience in change management efforts, having co-led several of these efforts in the past few years. Most were successful and some less so, but I learned some valuable lessons about what factors are critically-necessary, especially in international and multi-cultural organizations.
Effective organizational change can be achieved when the following exist: 1) shared understanding of why and what changes are necessary; 2) buy-in and ownership of the change(s) at all levels; 3) effective communication and pacing of changes; 4) ongoing conversation and engagement of those affected by and asked to embrace the change; 5) evaluation and re-evaluation if the changes are effective and achieving the desired outcome.
Changes so often fail because they try to address a problem without understanding the root causes. I believe the most successful change efforts often arise from the “on the ground” and customer-focused employees, the people who do the work and see the gaps in the system. Leaders can facilitate these changes by being open to hearing the problems and issues, soliciting and supporting ideas from their front line employees, and adding the appropriate resources to address the challenges. It is important not to make assumptions or jump to conclusions without fully understanding the dynamics of the situation.
I am fortunate to be connected to other consultants doing this kind of work and anticipate I will begin by apprenticing and learning from them, partnering where I can add value. Many years ago I consulted in the nonprofit field, helping leaders with strategic planning and grant development efforts. I particularly enjoy adding an outside perspective to an organization or department that is struggling. It is fascinating to learn and understand the “ecosystem” of an organization and problem, and then begin to apply design processes and engage the right people to solve that problem. Indeed that is the most rewarding work I have done throughout my career.
In about 6 weeks, I will say goodbye to the corporate role, and begin a new phase of my work life. I am ready. Wish me luck!