Consequences and Feedback

Soooo….as I described in my last post, I was out of integrity at work before I left for my trip abroad and putting aside my authentic initiatives to pickup the pieces, there were both consequences and feedback at work when I returned.

First, the consequences – I was given an official verbal note (parenthetically, it was written, not verbal), and that is the first of 3 motions that go into place before anything can occur due to my union classification. In addition, I’m on my boss’s S-List, which is absolutely sucky because it’s a) the type of behavior that’s most likely to have him be borderline verbally abusive, and -even without the borderline abuse- b) the type of behavior from him that I tend to resist most.

His feedback though was actually on point – he said that I’ve been approaching this position like it’s my job, not like it’s my career. I come in, do some stuff and get things done, but there’s no sense like I am making this my own, taking ownership and feeling like I’m making this my future.

He’s right about that – ever since I discovered just how little autonomy I have in this role (you know, 3.5 years ago, my first week on the job), I’ve continued to pull back in a major way from how I originally wanted to approach this role. It’s disappointing for me because I had high hopes for what I wanted to fashion in this position – in fact, I chose to apply for this role over another, higher-level role specifically because this one seemed open to being formed and fashioned whereas the other seemed to need a manager to continue what was already designed previously.

It’s strange to have the person who his limited my autonomy tell me that he feels that I approach my job without ownership, but that’s the funnily odd-shaped bridge that I get to walk.

In terms of my goals, not much happened this week. I’ve been holding off on goal #1 for a little bit longer (because the cycle ends really soon, so why not keep holding off), and for goal #2, I feel less like I really created the space for Naomi to feel loved than I hoped for.

We got in a lot of wonderful family time, had some time for ourselves too, and yet, I feel like I’m letting her down, and that stinks…but I get to look at it and re-approach. When I was in Israel I had a few experiences that hurt as much as I enjoyed them…I visited with one of my best childhood friends who lives in a beautiful apt just outside Tel Aviv and he and his wife just had their 4th kid; I also connected with one of my college roommates who married a cousin of mine (ok, I set them up), and they’re building a home in the Israeli countryside and their 6th kid is now 9 months old.

It was wonderful to see them, visit with them and reconnect. And it hurt like heck when I felt lost relative to them – no clear sense of career direction, no home, no kids.

And then I reflected on the fact that I have a most amazing wife, I have a great apt and community, food in my stomach and money in the bank, and more good things in life to come. So while I may not have all that I once dreamed that I would by this stage, I’m thankful for the life that I have, for my accomplishments, friends, family, community, and for Naomi who is my rock through it all.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend!

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Out of integrity at work

I had an experience this last week where I thought I was on top of my assignments.

I was leaving for nearly a week overseas to visit my mother and grandmother whom I haven’t seen in over a year (my grandmother isn’t well and my mother has been caring for her since last year November). My supervisor requested that I prepare – as I always do – an out of office document that lists my open items, what needs to be done and by whom while I’m out of office.

I took my time putting the list together, partially because I knew he was going to be traveling in advance of my departure and I wanted to review the list with my associate director instead. Nevertheless, I prepared a draft version for us all to review, and they had few comments.

I didn’t revise the document by Monday, which I should have. I then was out of the office in the morning on Tuesday for a meeting which I should have rescheduled. I caught up on other items and only finally had my out of office document ready to review at 2:30 on Tuesday, with my overseas flight leaving 5:30 from Newark.

Obviously, therefore, my associate director had WAY more comments than I expected, and when my supervisor dialed in half-way through, it took even longer to get through as we had to back-pedal, and he slows down all conversations to continually emo-vomit…this time fairly about me.

I rushed to make the edits, send the emails, etc. that we discussed and still get to the airport on time…which I did, but I felt rushed and uncertain rather than calm and in control. I also felt like a turd for how out of integrity I my work situation. I wasn’t entire wrong – there really was not a lot of work for anyone to do for me while I was out, but by trying to force things to play to my schedule, I pissed everyone off and left myself rushing at stressed at the last minute.

I could have had everyone happy, calm, and pleased, and instead I created the poop.

So now I get to clean it up. No, I don’t expect it to be fun, but I don’t have to make it heavy either. I get to recognize what aspects of my behavior have been sabotaging me as of late and shift them. I resist my supervisor on a regular basis (conversation for another time), and that gets to change too.

In terms of my goals, I was gifted with access to an online module on creating clarity around vision and have been working my way through it. I picked up some nice points so far and I’m only 2/3s through the first part (nearly 2 hour module), and have created a GoogleDoc to start tracking my work. This week I will continue to develop my vision and put a plan in place.

In terms of my connection with Naomi, I think we’ve done a great job staying in touch through WhatsApp this week – the free international audio & video calls are amazing, and we’ve also stayed in touch and split research into next steps. We’re off to Baltimore to visit with my cousins and her family for Thanksgiving/the weekend and it should be a fun and relaxing weekend.

Getting back in the Groove

So, nope, I haven’t done as much as I intended to for my first goal of developing a vision for my next role and taking action on it. I’ve been tentative and at times hiding or in denial that I need to, even while acknowledging on my own and in response to feedback (thanks everyone, but esp Kyla, EP & my [other] buddy, AT) that without developing a vision I’ll be working at odds with myself (at worst) or wandering aimlessly through this process (at best).

Fortunately, I have a trip coming up this week – I’m off to Israel to visit my mother and grandmother whom I haven’t seen in over a year – and between the long flight (esp with the stopover in Reykjavik) and the week of no plans, I’ll have plenty of time, freedom, solitude and more to delve into myself.

I’m committing now to making this process – and myself – a priority this week, and to developing a vision that I’m drawn toward and excited to create.

In terms of my second goal, Naomi and I have continued to spend lots of good time together – Shabbat’s no cell phone/computer intrusion helps so much – and we even got some compliments during last night’s Game Night on our Hyggelicizing initiatives.

~~~

On a separate note, Noami and I – and jbjams, hvale, & afferant – attended a town hall for AE tonight, where Glo discussed ways she’s going about cleaning up the poop of the last few years; types of people she’s asked for help to strip down and regrow the business; and some of the help she’s looking for from the grad community.

There were parts that were really moving, some parts that were really sad, and all told still I left feeling that things remain highly unsettled. It’s disappointing to see the center of this community struggling amid questions about timing for the next training and ominous clouds of uncertainty.

I don’t know where this is all headed, but if you’re interested in getting involved in making a difference, please reach out to Glo, I’m sure she would appreciate it.

26.2 Miles & Completing Goals

Part 1

Today I ran the NYC Marathon. I finished in 4 hours, 26 minutes and change, and I’m proud of that time given my training.

I’m thankful to Naomi, friends & work colleagues (and the thousands of other NYers) who came to cheer me (and others) on, as that encouragement provided real inspiration and drive to push on when my energy flagged. A lot of folks who weren’t able to join in cheering me on in person sent messages and videos, and I’m grateful for each one (thank you again if that includes you!!).

I’m appreciative of everyone who donated in support of my campaign to raise money for my organization – from every $18 donation up, each dollar counted, and out of the 100 people on the charity team I’m currently #13 in terms of fundraising (with more expected!).

A lot of the above made up my first goal last cycle, and it feels so good to know that I didn’t let up on this goal – I chased after it (quite literally!) and completed it with results that I’m proud of. There are a few lessons in that, including:

  • Sometimes my cycle goal(s) relate to something for the future, and it’s up to me to think about what I can set in motion and complete in the short-term that will enable me & my long-term goals;
  • When I set my mind to a project, including a potentially daunting task, I often have the wherewithal in me to complete the task, so long as I believe in myself;
  • At times, I may not complete all of my goals; others I may not complete them to the degree or manner I prefer. So long as I keep after my goal, I have every right to be proud of how I comport myself and can hold my head up high.

***

Part 2

I had a number of times during the run when I was really challenged and conflicted in a few ways, and some great lessons for me in how I approached them as well.

The first time happened when I was supposed to meet Naomi for the first time (and this will relate to my current goal with Naomi), and for whatever reason I didn’t see her, despite finding my colleagues that I thought she would be joining. I didn’t want to lose time, so I kept on running. After another block and half, I felt really badly that I might have simply missed her, and Naomi came all the way out (ok, BK isn’t that far, but still) to cheer me on…I’d feel awful if she were there and I missed her, so I backtracked to check in again with my colleagues. As it turned out, our timing was off and Naomi wasn’t there. I don’t mind the time it took me to turn around and check – if anything, I should have slowed more when I first got there and double-checked before continuing. That said, having rushed on, I’m proud of myself for thinking beyond me and about her experience as well.

Lesson – even though I was participating in a timed event, I was happier to have given up some time to ensure that others – and especially Naomi – felt cared for, loved, and appreciated. At times I forget to think of others, and wrapped in my own experience with my own set of conceived priorities, I say things or take actions that leave others feeling hurt, ignored, etc., and it’s never worth it.

Another takeaway for me was to both listen to and to ignore how my body was responding during the race. At one point I felt a little lightheaded and realized I needed more energy, and wisely gobbled down another energy bar. At another point, my muscles were starting to feel strange, potentially tensing/cramping…although not yet. I knew that if I gave into that feeling, my run was over, and so while allowing myself to slow down, I essentially chose to ignore how my body was feeling and hoped it would return to normal, which it did shortly thereafter.

Lesson – my body is often giving me important information, and sometimes it gives me potentially misleading information…after all, it has its own set of priorities. In order to accomplish my goals, it’s critical for me to distinguish among the various signals I receive and check them against my goals & priorities to determine how to move forward. Failing to do so could have my crash in any number of ways; succeeding allows me to marshall my resources in an ‘in it to win it’ fashion.

A third lesson came in the last 1/2 mile of the race – I was on 59th street around 6th Avenue, and the course ran to Columbus Circle, into the park and up to ~70th Street. I’d already run over 25 miles, and my brain and body suddenly came up with these three options for me: (a) start running faster, (b) slow to a walk, or (c) come to a complete stop…aka give up. It was crazy how intense this feeling came on, how I wasn’t sure what was going on, and how either my body or mind was going to do one of those on its own, and I wasn’t even clear which one! (It’s actually odd sometimes how little we’re in control of ourselves – another lesson from the pamper pole!)

Immediately I chose some guy just in front of my going about my pace and mentally set a rule “I’m sticking to his ass like glue.” I knew that I couldn’t come up with a way to pace myself for that last few minutes…my determination had nearly run its course. So instead of fighting myself, I simply set one rule in motion => follow him. Needless to say, it worked – by the time we turned in to the part at Columbus Circle my body and my mind both resigned themselves to finishing the race.

Lesson – sometimes I can’t rely on myself to make the right decisions and in those moments it’s important to have a role model or wise counsel to follow. I can be pretty stubborn, arrogant, and full of righteous indignation at all sorts of times, and will often default to preferring my opinion over those of others. It’s important for me to be aware of times when I’m not the right person to make the decisions, and instead to either delegate or abrogate to a person better situated to ensuring the success of a project, program, or other related item.

That’s all about the marathon for now – if you want to hear more, let’s talk in person. 🙂

***

Part 3

This cycle’s goals are progressing, although I feel better about my Naomi goal than I do about crafting a vision for my future. I’ve followed through on setting up some calls and will report back on those as they take place. Just a mini-update, but didn’t want all y’all to think I forgot what else I’m up to. 🙂

With love and gratitude to everyone, and I think I’m going to go ice my knees now.

Life is running by

It’s crazy to me how a cycle can be running past me while I sometimes chase and sometimes dither at my goals. Making little bits of progress, building on one conversation with another, seeing what develops. There’s magic in this, however – while I occasionally buy into the idea of the enormous, spontaneous ‘X’ (change, meeting, relationship, etc.), I’m also acutely aware that for the most part, change happens quietly, slowly, and surreptitiously.

For my second goal, I said that part of the goal was to spend time with Naomi without electronic distractions, and Friday night we were lucky enough to join friends in the 60s for dinner…and that meant that we were largely on our own for the walk there and back. One of the amazing things for me about spending this time with Naomi is that I feel really connected with her every time we have these talks. We used to joke sometimes that due to work, phone distractions, computers, etc. we could be sitting on the same couch and it would feel like one of us is in China. Whenever we have these conversations, it feels like things are just falling naturally into place.

Just tonight I was on Amazon ordering some candles & stuff for the apt so we can increase our Hygge quotient – TBD on what that is exactly, but suffice to say it’ll be even cozier the next time you visit.

In terms of my second goal, K’s comment about first creating vision struck a chord, and I agree that w/o the vision I’m just driving forward aimlessly without any clear direction. If I’m not careful, I may end up somewhere I’m note happy – and that’s already happened to me in the past, so this is a good lesson.

I did have a couple conversations with folks in Philly who offered to connect me with local tech scene peeps. Naomi also connected me with a major venture capital investor in Philly and I’m working on setting up a call.

With that, I’m likely going to sign off here – it’s been a long weekend (went to Philly Sat night for the Eagles game), I have to get in a moderate long run this week and some smaller in preparation for the marathon next Sunday (NEXT SUNDAY! WHAT THE WHAT?!?).

Love to all!

Weird week and weak week

Short post this week…I’m feeling all sorts of feels around my first goal. I put off finishing the exercise that Thomas suggested despite giving myself a Tuesday (last week) deadline, and haven’t yet reviewed or put myself into the place to consider the ideas that bubbled up…so I get to look at that.

I’m sensing that my hesitancy stems from being scared of what’s to come – life brings changes on a regular basis and perhaps I’m less flexible and open to change as I’d like to consider myself.

I wonder what the any future role might brings, from success to happiness, from the chance to work with incredible, bright, empathic leaders to the devil I don’t know. I internalize those questions and feel a state of paralysis about how to steer myself through the unknown…and as a result, I allow other things to dictate what will be.

I did line up 2 conversations, but they haven’t taken place yet; Naomi reached out to some contacts as well, and we’re waiting to hear back. Next step – put a time to speak on the calendar and come up with a list of questions and items I want to know about. I get to also start working on my list of target companies to look into.

In terms of my 2nd goal, Naomi and I continue to spend time together, both with friends (planning a good-bye lunch for my best friend who moved to NJ today with his family; celebrating a friend’s birthday at an escape the room; catching up with friends who were in town today), and just us, including going to a fascinating documentary called One of Us that was just released on Netflix this weekend – we went to a showing downtown with a Q&A session with the director and 2/3 of the people from the film.

While not one of my goals from this cycle, I did a 20-mile run today in anticipation of the marathon (it’s in 2 weeks!!!!), and have started raising money toward my $3,000 commitment to the organization. Would LOVE to have any/all of you come cheer me on – you can be in touch with Naomi about where to meet up along the route.

Looking forward to springing into action and having an active, strong, and fulfilling week, and one where I put aside some time to deal with the being for my first goal, which is sorely needed.

Peace!

Vision & Action ♨️ Making Progress

Just had a great small group meeting – thanks E&M! Love the small group structure, the ability to support and talk to multiple people in addition to my buddy. 

In terms of my goals, I’m in action on both [1) job alignment & search; (2) being with Naomi], although I get to add urgency to my first goal. 

To date I have done half of the exercise T suggested & plan to complete by Tuesday night at the latest. I recommend that or similar exercises for people looking for clarity around their future, inc 5-yr and 1-yr visioning, current analysis, action steps, and the like. I have also contacted a few folks for informational conversations, but not yet locked in a time, so I will follow up on those tonight. 

The next step is to contact 2-3 additional people this week as well as to do some basic online job posting searching as I look to get a sense of what positions are currently being advertised and may preferences/fit for those roles (note, I’m not yet looking to apply as any move is still over six months out, but looking for a sense of the options).
Additionally, I spend some time today with EP examining some of my internal conversations around work, my fit, my mental game, etc., and she had some good suggestions and feedback for me. 

One interesting idea that got kicked up is around affirmations – given that core beliefs, limiting view points and the like play such a big role and aren’t corrected through new actions, affirmations can play a role in shifting those beliefs. EP asked about my openness and receptivity to using them and I found that I’m ambivalent toward them:

– I do believe that repeating a positive message can shift an internal conversation 

– I find it SO STRANGE that saying an affirmation has any impact at all => I get a little judgy about them

So…I get to let go of that judgment and put into practice items that can support me in creating the job & life that I want. 

In terms of my second goal, I’m way ahead of where I aimed for in terms of uninterrupted time with Naomi. While the holidays may have disrupted work and my time freedom for pursuing my 1st goal, they gave us a lot of good personal time including 1-on-1 convos, canoodling, and more. 

We also started planning some date night, and spent some time creating a warmer ambience in the apartment for Hygge-ization. 

Overall I’m satisfied with where I am on my goals, although I have not yet hit the in-it-to-win-it stage, so time to kick things up. 

Looking forward to my next buddy call, and wishing everyone a fantastic week!