My meeting with the office floor

There’s not much buildup to this story.

I fell on my butt on the office floor. plain and simple.

You know that out-of-body feeling where you can almost see yourself falling, there’s nothing to grab or catch, your feet have completely left the ground, and you realize mid air that you’re going down?

Yeh, that happened. And yes, you can laugh.

Am I surprised that this happened? No. not really. And I don’t think me walking around hastily in heels was really the cause. If I am to be honest, I was particularly antsy that day. And I knew I shouldn’t have been, the stakes weren’t nearly as high as other situations I have been in at work, but I had put an unnecessary amount of pressure on myself to perform in this instance.

We all know those “strengths” that we throw all over our resumes and recite in interviews. I see “performs well under pressure” as a sort of “aspirational strength”. The one you claim, but yet are always striving to achieve: Can I continue to do this well? Can I continue to think calmly and rationally in tense, time sensitive situations? Can I meet this deadline when work isn’t the only thing on my mind – when my thoughts are plagued by other issues outside the office that garner my attention? (see Rebecca’s post on Balance: Making Space)

What do you do when you need to get something done and your nerves are firing up?

As I said, on this particular day, I didn’t think my nerves were warranted – it was a simple project in comparison to others I have done. But there I was, still nervous.

So because hindsight is 20/20, I’m taking the moment now to reflect on how I ended up on the office floor. I’m working on developing my strategies for figuring out how to keep those nerves at bay in truly stressful situations at work. Because it’s easy to say to yourself “don’t be nervous” – but what’s your next step when you still are?

As annoying and embarrassing as it was to fall crashing onto the office floor. It forced me to look at, and re-frame the situation. I wasn’t anywhere closer to where I needed to be, and it was clear to me my nerves were getting in the way, when the product needed to get out the door that day. I was less productive, and less careful.

It’s quite difficult to coach yourself in the middle of those situations, especially if you’re trying to meet a deadline – because you just “don’t have the time”. But after my meeting with the floor, I realized that I was doing myself and my work a disservice.

So I took a few minutes to breathe and to pray. Just a few. Some may opt to meditate, take a few deep breaths or maybe just take a quick walk down the office hall. The point is to take a moment to re-focus – however you’re best able to. I found those few minutes did a lot to allow me to calm myself.

And with that little bit of calm I gained from those few moments, I could look at the situation with fresh eyes. I was still antsy, and the work still needed to be done. But I could also distinguish a bit more between the pressures of the situation, and the pressures I put on myself. The pressure I put on myself was only compounding the pressure of the situation. I needed to focus more on all the steps I could take to meet the deadline, as opposed to telling myself – I just need to meet the deadline.

The difference between those two trains of thought is quite surprising.

All of a sudden accepting my limitations allowed me to focus on developing tangible steps within the parameters of my situation. I was now finding solutions geared towards the situation, as opposed to setting a forced benchmark for myself, with no framework, and no foundation.

I think this is the switch we have to have to figure out how to flick in each of those “hot” situations where the pressures in the work environment kick in. Somehow in that moment we need to focus on the problem, and less about the ideal that the outcome of the problem is sole validation of our strengths and our abilities. I think, with that, the angst can subside, and we can focus more on getting the task at hand done.

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10 Super Easy Post-Election Food Fixes

 Visions of the apocalypse slowing you down? Need a pick-me-up? These snacks are delicious reminders that joy is only a spoonful away. Since time is best spent plotting your immigration, each food fix takes 2 minutes or less to prepare.

  1. Slice avocado in cubes. Spritz generously with lime juice. Sprinkle sea salt. Add a handful of dried cranberries. In a small bowl, mix with a fork until smooth. Eat with crackers. Muffle sighs of ecstasy.

avocados

  1. Buy Brie. (Was there ever any doubt?) Buy a bag of Lays plain potato chips. Need I say more?

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  1. Tiny marshmallows. They’re like edible clouds. Bonus if they’re multicolored.

 

  1. What’s your two favorite teas? Be decadent and steep them together. Chai & peppermint is especially recommended.

 

  1. Melt aged cheddar in the microwave. Eat with apple slices and chunks of fresh whole wheat bread. Get the grilled cheese feels without cleaning a pan.

Cheese on Toast

  1. Warm sweet green peas (stay with me) dipped in Siracha hot sauce. #madeforeachother #sweetandspicy

 

  1. Add a fresh cinnamon stick to your hot chocolate. Swoon.

 

  1. Mix up your cereal routine. Use greek yogurt instead of milk. Top with honey & kiwi.

 

  1. Dip dried banana slices into a bowl of peanut butter & Nutella.

Chocolate spread and peanut butter

  1. When all else fails, crumble your favorite warm cookies into a pint of vanilla ice cream. If the world doesn’t glitter with every bite, seek medical attention.

homemade oreo  ice cream

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Trump’s Race

The U.S. 2016 Presidential Election will likely go down as one of, if not the most, divisive in history. I’ve observed and studied policies and laws that negatively impact disenfranchised groups but never have I seen a presidential candidate call Mexicans “rapists,” propose a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., brag about grabbing women without consent and call people with Black skin lazy.

When he won, I was deeply troubled. I’ve always known racism to be a real issue in North America but the way Trump fuelled the racist tendencies of some of his voters reminded me of historical conflicts that began with racist language. In the Rwandan Genocide, Hutu extremist groups set up radio stations urging people to “weed out the cockroaches” or kill Tutsis. In the opinion of a Holocaust survivor, Hitler rose to power, in part, by building a brand of saying what everyone thought but was too afraid to say – he too shared a mission of making his country “great again.

When Trump won, everyone was talking about it. I sat down with a Trump supporter to listen to their opinions. In particular, he focused on Trump’s 10-point plan. He felt confident that Trump would increase jobs and bring back wealth to the country because he was a business man – he couldn’t care less for Trump’s racist remarks.

And I guess that’s the point when I was reminded of how individualistic we are. If you haven’t been seriously impacted by racism, then you have the luxury of not caring about the leader of the free world making such comments. You don’t have to worry about Trump’s “tough on crime” proposals that will disproportionally affect Black men. You don’t have to worry if you don’t wear a headscarf or if you’re not a Mexican-American. You have the luxury of focusing solely on economic policies.

Maybe Trump will bring positive economic changes to the U.S. but it doesn’t excuse or legitimize his racist rhetoric. He remains unaccountable for the factually incorrect statements that won him the presidency. The divisiveness of this election shows that race is still a very controversial issue.

One thing that I am committing to is welcoming one-on-one conversations about race without judging the person who brings up stereotypes and prejudices – as long as they come to the table with a willingness to listen and learn. While it makes me happy and comfortable to surround myself with like-minded people, not effectively engaging with people who disagree with me does a disservice to our community and propagates divisive institutions.

The Interaction Institute for Social Change is an organization that engages in conversations about race in the workplace and is calling for unity and dialogue after the US election. Check out their blog. Engaging in an open and respectful dialogue about race is one form of positive change that we can collectively participate in as a response to Trump’s racist rhetoric – I hope you’ll join me at the table.

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