I just read this blog post from the Harvard Business Review, which discusses the perils of being so focused on one thing that it defines who you are. The post discusses it in the context of a career but it could so easily apply to any element.
For me, it’s definitely been my career that’s been that one thing. In my corporate days, I lived and breathed my job, even though countless people warned me about the related danger and risk of burn out. I started to see the same patterns repeat in my second career as faculty. It’s what happens when you love what you do.
This time though, thanks to a superb circle of people who care- my family, my friends at Skagit Valley College and beyond and a number of my program participants, I’ve caught myself. Realizing that I was falling into that swirling sink hole of working almost non stop and seeing the impact it was starting to have on my effectiveness as an instructor and on my relationships, I caught myself. I’ve pulled back the hours, redeployed some of that time for me and my interests : knitting, art, walking, reading, time with my loved ones including my Bandit. And guess what: by working less, because I’m rested and relaxed, I’m achieving more – funny that!
So what about you? How have you dealt with the risk of burn out? When do you see the signs of the slippery slope? How do bring yourself back?
One of the things I’ve always struggled with is listening. I think quickly, sometimes too quickly, and there have been more times than I care to admit that my mind goes on journeys while engaging in conversation. It’s not that I’m disinterested in the conversation – it’s just that I take what the person is saying and let my mind go off on the sparks, connections and links it wants to make. And then before you know it, I’m six miles away from the conversation and coming back to it takes more mental gymnastics to cover my mental detour and to rebuild my connection with my conversation partner.
I’ve worked hard at improving in this area, paying particular focus on listening with my eyes and ears and I’m always looking for tips and techniques to build this skill. So, I was intrigued by this essay in the New York Times by Kate Murphy, author of a book You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters. Murphy shares the findings of her conversations with expert listeners such as CIA agents and focus group moderators. The article is rife with suggestions on how to be a better listener and with some startling statements about the ramifications of not listening well. None made more impact than Ms Hudson’s closing line “…to listen poorly, selectively or not at all limits your understanding of the world and prevents you from becoming the best you can be.”
And so on this night on this night before the first day of BASAM classes in 2020, I make my new quarter pledge to focus 100% on every conversation I have. I further ask any of my conversation partners to call me on it if they see my mind starting to take out its passport for its journey to other places.
This article is a wonderful embodiment of advice I was given in 2004, when I became a General Manager at Philip Morris International. The Region President, one of my best bosses told me “love your people and they will love you back and achieve miracles for the team” I’ve gone out of my way to love “my people” even sometimes it’s the last thing I think they deserve. Almost with exception, the results have been spectacular- for the people, the organization and for me,
The combination of a hectic Fall Quarter end and a busy holiday season has left little time for a program update. With things settling just a bit, I wanted to share a special moment in the BASAM program – the sight of 60+ program participants marking the end of Fall Quarter 2019. I think you’ll agree that the smiles say it all. Congratulations to all for a great quarter!
We’re in the midst of crafting our personal narratives in the Year 4 BASAM program, and that has had me thinking about how my narrative needs a refresh. Then I came across this fabulous piece my good friend from college Perrin McCormick posted on her Limkedin page – 5 things people would tell you about her. So I’m borrowing shamelessly from Perrin to ask my program people what they would say about me – which was I’ll then use to update my pitch
Earlier today, I had the honor to share the SVC BASAM story at the annual WA State Baccalaureate Leadership Conference. The only thing that gives me more joy than being in the program’s learning environment is talking about it with others. Thank you BASAM program participants for making it so easy to sing your praises.
As my program members know, the land of mybirth is India. I haven’t lived there since I was seven yet thanks to the upbringing, the ties to my cultural roots are strong.
Today, many of the 1.4 billion Indians who live around the world (almost 18% of the global population) celebrate Diwali. I’ll leave its origins and reasons for others to cover. Suffice to say, Diwali celebrates universal truths of the triumph of good over evil and light over dark. For many, many reasons and memories, it is my most favorite day in the year and so I want to wish all BASAM followers the sentiments of festival – may light, love and laughter grace all corners of your home and heart!
On October 25, the BASAM program was honored to have Dr Carl Bruner, Superintendent of the Mount Vernon school district as a speaker in SOC420, a course that examines the intersection of social capital, bias, power and equity and career development. Dr Bruner led the class, drawing from the life story of Dr Donna Beegle, who escaped the pernicious cycle of generational poverty, thanks to a combination of factors including her tenacity and her mentors.
I know I speak for all program members when I say the discussion was thought provoking and inspiring. It will leave a positive, enduring legacy on our hearts, minds and behaviors as workplace leaders and as community members. Thank you Dr Bruner from all of us.
With the Fall Quarter at the half way point, the demands and work in all the BASAM classes is mounting. With that comes increasing time in front of screens, whether PC’s, tablets, smart phones or even the television as a way to unwind. This article from Fast Company provides some great advice on how to reduce eye strain and promote eye care and sleep. And yes, making the sleep area a device free zone is a recommendation!