Stepping back and reflecting

photo of laptop keyboard with hands typing
Hands on a laptop keyboard AnonymousAccount/Flickr CC 2.0

With some stress and sadness, I’ve struggled a bit this week to get my head clear for writing a blog post. And with my partner away for work for the last four days, time on my own has meant more time to reflect. (None of the awesome distracting hugs I’m used to ;))

Anyway, I’ve been looking through some of the old emails/blogs/notes I have kept from inspirational people or groups I like to follow. I wanted to share with you a few of my recent favourites.

How to Quit Worrying About What Everyone Else Thinks, by Rock Your Purpose Live

I love this one as I’m a shocker! As someone who tends to prefer as little conflict around me as possible (c’mon it’s so much more fun to be in a relaxed environment) not rocking the boat is something I have embraced. But I wonder if it’s actually a good thing? Sure I might not overtly piss people off at work, because I’m keeping the big deal opinions to myself, but maybe I’m also encouraging people to forget me. And in response to RYPL’s number 1 question to help you start being true to yourself, yes I do feel constrained.

It’s interesting actually, when I did a meditation course last year, the chanting session was really difficult for me. There was a dull pain in my throat and it seemed hard for me to get the sound out. The meditation teacher read into that a little I guess and asked ‘maybe you feel like you’re struggling to find your voice in other parts of your life?’.

zen habits: 12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools

Leo Babauta is great. I love receiving his zen habits emails. This one in particular is strong. It gets to the real underpinning reasons to invest in mindfulness.

Leo says: “No. A stress-free life doesn’t exist, but these tools will definitely make you more prepared to deal with the stresses that will inevitably come your way… just as importantly, they’ll help you overcome the fear of failure and fear of discomfort that’s holding you back, that’s keeping you from making positive changes in your life.”

Anything that helps me explore the fear of failure I have is definitely a good thing.

Three signs you’re internalising a toxic culture at work

This post on Women’s Agenda was a ripper. Thankfully I don’t have lots of these toxins in my workplace, but I can definitely identify!

Suzi Skinner highlights these three behaviours to provide some pretty strong hints that you might be unintentionally picking up on the bad environment around you:

  1. Are you working longer hours at the office than you would like? Do you find yourself looking for an inconspicuous way to leave at the end of your day? Are you taking the exit stairs instead of the lift so that you can leave unnoticed? This is a classic response for those who may have unwittingly internalised the message that long hours equal performance…
  2. Do you find yourself holding back information in meetings even though you recognise that your knowledge could be helpful? Are you keeping quiet rather than opening up about your ideas or suggestions that have been canvassed in earlier discussions?
    This behaviour signals that you may be internalising the politics of your company or your manager…
  3. Are you at risk of taking the credit for things that aren’t yours? Do you gloss over the contributions of others in the face of more senior stakeholders? Taking undue credit can be a sign that you may be internalising this unhelpful behaviour – perhaps it is part of the culture or your manager’s preferred approach?

Oh and since I’ve picked up a little on conflict, I highly recommend the book Everyone can Win: Responding to Conflict Constructively by Cornelius and Faire. I still haven’t read the whole thing but one of my favourite bits is about the way to raise difficulties with other people. The 3 ‘I’s:

  • Identify the issue (be objective noting the things that actually happened or were said without going up your Ladder of Inference – Mindtools rocks!)
  • Outline the impact on yourself (using an I statement like ‘I feel’ or ‘it affects me because’…)
  • Invitation – invite the other person to talk with you about it, either now or later.

If the intentionally-framed ‘I’ statements don’t work, according to Cornelius and Faire (page 91 in 2nd edition) you can also add in the steps of the change you think is needed and what the consequences might be if the change doesn’t happen (but don’t frame this as a threat).

Ok thanks for reading all this great stuff penned by amazing people.

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