Saturday, March 29, 2014

Grateful for Goodness

It's all over. Personal growth. Good conversations. Silly times. History and renewal all packed into the same packages. Open them up and eat!

I had such a great little trip to Milwaukee. I am grateful for great friends, good conversation, tasty gluten-free beer, funny tour guides, kitschy breweries, aged cheese, my tummy putting up with abuse, long drives, detours for non-existent Bloody Mary Holy Grails and opportunities to share this information with people thinking that they might care (and it not really mattering whether they do or not :)).

I'm even grateful to have to leave all this to go back to school tomorrow. I have not yet been able to get my brain around that (and I haven't really tried). I've been fortunate to have a longer break than normal, and will get to change my routine as soon as I get back to it by going to ACDFA next week, yet I still get these feelings. Hard to leave. I know I'll be grateful to be back to it when I am. For now, I suppose I'll just enjoy what I'm doing in the moment. Constantly striving for that :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Some Things I Learned This Week

It was a tough one. I've been classifying it as such. Now, I sit here, hoping that accounting for some of what I learned may free my brain space enough to allow it to focus on the work that needs doing after having given myself some time off.

No re-hash, just lessons learned. A wise colleague told me that appreciation isn't always verbal. Sometimes, when you think your leadership actions are going unnoticed or unappreciated, there is someone (or many) in the background taking it in, appreciating it and learning from it. Just because someone does not verbal express their gratitude doesn't mean it isn't there. It's still there, and that verbal expression may come when you least expect it!

I feel like this is also helping me bear in mind when you are focusing on the bad rather than the good. During this difficult week, I had many people who noticed something was off ask how I was, many people asking about my finger, reminding me that I am great at my job even when I wasn't necessarily expressing that I felt differently. People DO notice and care when I am off, and even when I am ON, and they tell me then too. I am committing myself to keeping these things in my awareness all the time, not just when I am down. Beyond that, I had my family buoying me with listening, advice, conversation, compliments, perspective and coffee cards :)

Another thing I learned this week (or was at least reminded of) is the idea that sometimes, the energy or attitude you receive from someone else has nothing to do with you. This actually really does make this feel less difficult sometimes. I even find it easier sometimes to think 'Why give myself the credit of affecting someone else that much?!' I'm not that important. I just often feel so empathetic (even though I feel people don't often know that) that I want to make something my problem even when its not, if there is any way I can help make it better.

Sometimes, self-care, preservation and protection ARE more important than trying to make everyone else's issues your problem (especially if it is unwelcome or unappreciated). I appreciate that I've been driven a couple times in these last couple of weeks to unabashedly put myself first. This is hard for me, because I often feel that people don't know how much I DON'T put me first. That said, this fear has driven me to the point of crazy a couple times recently, which I think have ended up being good lessons for me in how to decipher when my priority must be me.

I feel that I have also been navigating the age-old difficulty of having to choose your battles. I've been trying to determine that in accordance with how much of the difficulty is based on my own (perhaps mis)conceptions and how much of it is a clear-cut issue in which I need to defend myself. Additionally, these choices are made difficult by the blur I am continuously experiencing between friendship and professional relationships. Our working environment at school (i.e. tiny shared office) has made it really difficult to simply reroute the problem by creating new working patterns or places. With most of such recent issues, I've opted to turn my sights toward the upcoming break from this routine that is creating many of these issues. That said, I've also opted to take a couple of them head-on, and they've provided great results because I've approached with honesty and my heart in the right place of trying to better the situation for both/ all parties.

In this rough week, I've also been delivered some reminders about perspective. I intend to lift my heart to my friends who I can confidently say are in more challenging places, and to take these reminders to heart to keep perspective, simultaneously respecting my own feelings while allowing them to fade to a less radiant hue when necessary.