I am just coming out of my first two days at my new job, meeting people and learning more about what I have signed up to accomplish. It is exciting and exhilarating.
It is also like one of my colleagues described it, “like drinking water from a fire hose.” There are a lot of new concepts to absorb, and research units to understand, training to complete, and meetings to schedule.
Over the lunch hour, I attended a session from the Office of the VP for Research on Vulnerable Populations. It was a fascinating look at the fact that researchers sometimes take a paternalistic perspective to protect research participants. But we do not always consider the injustice of excluding certain types of candidates for research, and how this may actually deny treatment alternatives.
Fascinating stuff. I can tell this job is going to challenge my thinking and open me up to new perspectives. I love that.
I also know that by the end of the day, around 4:45 p.m. after two full days of meetings, and a mini-celebration dinner with friends for my birthday on Monday, I was wiped. My brain felt worked and tired.
I considered pushing through and working longer. Then I opened my journal and opted for a short reflection on the day, old-fashioned pen and paper style. It helped clarify my thoughts and questions.
On the 12 minute walk to my car to begin the commute home, I considered what might be a helpful mantra, given a slight feeling of being overwhelmed by expectations. Ultimately I decided on “you have time.”
–You have time to learn the new job (and it is okay that you don’t know everything you need to know/do in the first couple days)
–You have time to get to know the department.
–You have time to map out a strategy and plan.
–You have time to absorb the information you need. You were hired because of your expertise, experience and capabilities, not because you know everything.
–You have time to enlist the support you need to be successful.
After a few minutes of deep breathing and chanting this simple mantra to myself, it started to resonate in my body. I felt that familiar relaxation response, when my mind starts to believe what I am “feeding” it via conscious thoughts, and my body lets go of anxiety.
The next time you find yourself flipping into a mental script has you feeling overwhelmed, you might tell yourself that “you have time.” See what effect it has on your body, and your feelings. You have time.