Integrity + blog

First off, I’m out of integrity with my blogging days. Thankfully, bad stuff & resistance didn’t come up for me…more so a combination of circumstances (story) and committing to something else over this. There’s a great story here, and a good lesson, both of which I’ll get to later on, but first, I get o be in touch with everyone here.

I didn’t blog on Sunday – what’s more, I knew I wouldn’t be able to as I started a 3-day holiday on Friday night that ended Monday evening, and during that time I was back-to-back for a Sabbath-like 72 hour period with no phones, electricity, etc. Knowing that I couldn’t, I should have been in touch with the group to inform them that I couldn’t blog, or I should have blogged on Friday in advance of the holiday. I did neither.

For anyone who was tracking me, reading my blog posts, or like SS, pulling double duty and following up with those who missed their blog day, you may have thought I was in resistance to an issue, that I was pulling back, that I wasn’t committed to the cycle, and more. It may also have impacted you to see that I went silent and without warning missed my blog day even as I was the integrity co-captain previously, and you may wonder about that role or benefit of the role.

On my end, the impact on me may be that I risk being casual for the rest of the cycle, feeling hypocritical, that I shirk other responsibilities, including those not attached to the cycle.

The vision that I have for myself is to finish strong – it’s to have consistency in my day and in my week to fulfill my goals as I designed them. The structure is to see what concrete items from my PSP are up next and to set aside the time to accomplish them, today, tomorrow, the day after, etc.

Having said that, here are the next steps for me:

  1. Financial – setting aside time to refine the budget. Naomi and I reviewed a version already, but there were some holes and I get to scrub them a bit so that we can make some decisions around shift some expenses.
  2. Learning – I set up learning with a partner but am behind on my personal learning for September; I get to look at ways to do that, perhaps in the early morning.
  3. Relationship – I’ve found a few ways to demonstrate my intention to Naomi; we went on a lovely walk on Monday and more to come this holiday weekend. 
  4. Patience – Hmm…I’ve been tried and didn’t fully live up to my commitment, so some things to work on here.
  5. Career – No action in 2 weeks, I get to reapproach.

Separately, I had a great call with my buddy last Thursday where he reminded me of the concept of the Survival Mindset and I realized that I was embodying it when I beat up on myself as I had been.

The story with that I referenced above had to do with getting to PA in advance of 6 others who were joining for this past holiday weekend…and finding out at 11:45am that we didn’t have – and weren’t going to have – any water for the next 3 days.

I frantically reached the plumber, who walked me through what I had to do; but I got stuck in the mud, trapped under the deck, trying to turn locked knobs and other things, all while trying to avoid inhaling too much cat pee. It was awful. Nevertheless we had at least a trickle of water when all was said and done.

That said, Friday was crazy & hectic, and for 1/2 a second I remembered that I should blog on Friday as I couldn’t on Sunday. Instead, the thought flew out as quickly as it arrived, and I kept on focusing on preparing food and water for the holiday.  This story gets crazier, but the point is that my commitment to having things ready for the holiday and for the group was senior to me than getting in a short post, and thus, I was out of commitment.

The lesson? Don’t wait until a Friday morning before a 3-day holiday to have the plumber turn on the water for the first time after the winter…when it turns out that something is broken, there’s no time to fix it.


Ah! Just saw the time

Crazy times – I was working on pulling information together to create a budget in Excel after not being able to understand the fancier, free software I found. Meantime…the time  is creeping by and I notice that 11:59 is rapidly approaching!

First, let me give a shout out to my buddy JBG for a great call on Thursday, enhanced through our mutual (though separate) walk in the park because the weather was beautiful. Second, props to my small group for an amazing video conf call so we could all see one another, catch up, and support everyone for their goals and what we’re up to.

I my end, there’s movement, and I anticipate hitting Wednesday check-in point pretty strongly, and yet I’m disappointed in myself for not pushing harder. I could have finished figuring out the budgeting items last week and already had that conversation with Naomi; I have set up a lunch and learn at work, but haven’t yet committed to learning every day myself; I had a great week the first week with compassion, patience, and being loving, and then had a breakdown related to interacting with Naomi (of all people).

So, in the spirit of my PSP and as JBG & RG continue to encourage, I’m going to apply my compassion and patience reflexively in this moment so that I can be with it and create a new moment going forward to engage with others. As they so pointedly expressed, if I’m not being that way with myself, I’ll be unable to emote that way externally.

Some other thoughts:

  • This was a really nice weekend filled with reconnecting – Friday night Naomi and I hosted a birthday dinner for a close friend; Saturday we hosted three people for lunch who stayed until Shabbat ended; Saturday night we met up with and old college friend of mine and his wife; this morning we briefly saw my father at Newark airport before he left overseas and then visited friends who had moved from NYC to NJ since we were already there; and finally my evening closed out with the aforementioned small group video chat. It’s amazing how much I thrive on these connections and how much I forget, when I’m cooped up or even at times when I choose to stay in, the impact I feel from connecting with others. As much as I love reading (see below), when my downtime isn’t matched with social time I’m simply nowhere near as happy.
  • I decided to sign up for Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Course. It’s been a while since I enrolled in an ongoing self-learning course, and given how I’d enjoyed her framework, I decided the price was worth the potential learning. Will share some lessons along the way.
  • I’ve recently returned to my reading habit and SO enjoy getting in time with a book. In the last 10-12 years I’ve added more and more non-fiction along with the books that ignite my imagination, and find that I often enjoy them just as much. Some recent reads in the last few weeks were Hillbilly Elegy, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom, and The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye. Upcoming include Power of Habit, Life of God (as told by Himself), Stolen Valor, Who Will Lead Us?, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’m also going to start challenging myself to do a mini-book report on my takeaways from each, including any applicability. If anyone has a good books to suggest, I welcome all referrals.

Until next week!

Humility & Compassion

The (almost) week so far:

Budgeting – downloaded software and started to upload information. Need to figure out the actual budgeting piece, didn’t seem intuitive at first look, but I’ll do that this week as well as review big blocks of past expenses.

Learning – started: a lunch and learn with a colleague; designating part of my commute time toward Talmud study; and testing a learning buddy through my synagogue. TBD on all that.

Naomi – ‘So awesome in so many way’ was how Naomi described me related to supporting her this weekend in Pittsburgh, as she facilitated a session today (and I ducked out to see Avengers). We still need to have a full conversation about how things are, where going, and plan out our summer.

Patient/giving – have not had an experience of impatience or exasperation. Interestingly, a family we spent time with over the weekend had 2 grown children who were on the spectrum, one far more ‘out there’ than the other, and I sat next to the less mainstream one for both Shabbat meals. As an aside, this is an absolutely lovely family – sweet, kind, loving, and good Lord, was the food delicious & abundant! – and it was amazing to see how everyone interacted, including in-laws, a great (great) aunt, and more. Point was that I accepted that I was seated next to this person for a reason and engaged as best I could.

The item I haven’t yet done as relates to this goal is set a time to speak with Emily about affirmations. Having said that, there is a short prayer that I came across a few years ago and have included in my morning prayers nearly everyday since:

May it be your will that I not be jealous of anyone else, nor anyone of me, that I not get angry today nor anger you, and place in my heart submissiveness, humility, and fear of sin.

It reminded me both of Nachmanides’s famed letter to his son, where he similarly refered to anger as the evil trait that causes people to sin and leads them down a dark path; whereas saving oneself from anger leads to humility, the most virtuous of traits.

Along these lines, just today I happened upon the Dalia Lama’s quote ‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassionate; if you want to be happy, practice compassionate.” It was a good reminder that focusing out offers rewards both to others and to myself.

On to a new week!

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!

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.