Ted Talk Friday: How to train employees to have difficult conversations

This is one of the most engaging talks I’ve seen about data in a long time! The speaker, Tamekia MizLadi Smith, does a fantastic job breaking down the issues that come with the extensive data collection in our lives. This talk reminded me of my work at a non-profit in Detroit, MI. I spent days passing out surveys and speaking with members of the community. That survey included a number of personal questions, and as soon as I explained the purpose of the survey and how it might be valuable to them, there was typically a tone shift from negative to positive. We all deserve clarity and compassion when we are giving up our data, whether we have to or if we are volunteering that data.

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Did you find this talk entertaining? Have you had any negative experiences with data collection?

Rolling with the Punches (+ Rolling Down Hills)

Last weekend I took a tumble while hiking on one of my favorite Bay Area trails (Gray Whale Cove Trail in Pacifica). It was a beautiful day and a lovely hike–moderately sunny, light wind, lookouts on to the gorgeous Pacific. As we neared the end of the hike, I tried to go a bit faster going downhill and completely wiped out, landing on my knee.

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At first it felt totally fine and as I got up and walked a few steps, I looked down and noticed the whole knee of my leggings was ripped off and my knee was bleeding quite a bit. Hobbling the rest of the mile, I was pretty mad at myself. My friend was supportive and didn’t make a big deal of it, and that made me stop and re-think the incident. This is a good lesson on people; choose to spend time with people who show compassion and support during times like this!

Could I have done something different? Sure! Does it matter now? Nope! I fell and that’s that; all I can do now is be gentle with myself, body and mind, and let it heal. I always joke that I hardly ever get injured, and it certainly came back to bite me this time.

I almost went to the ER because the abrasion was full of debris with a few deep wounds, but luckily I was able to wait until the next day  to go to the doctor to get it checked out. I got a tetanus shot and a thorough cleaning of all my cuts and scrapes. I am incredibly lucky that there was no real damage–no breaks, sprains, or anything that will cause long-term problems. Pretty miraculous all things considered! I was super bummed that I couldn’t work out for a while my knee heals, but I’ve been trying to take it easy and give my body a respite from working out. I think my body has thanked me for it–it’s been a little more relaxing and it’s given me a few extra hours of sleep.

Five days post-fall and I’m still hobbling a bit while I walk, but I’ve been able to get into the gym a bit for some light exercise–focusing on upping my arm workouts and a few ab intervals. I have been taking it easy overall–giving myself a bit more permission to be “lazy,” take it easy, and feel gratitude for my normally healthy body.

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When was the last time you took a hard fall? How do you cope with an injury?

 

Ted Talk Friday: Why 30 is not the new 20

I have heard amazing things about Meg Jay’s book The Defining Decade–nearly all of my friends have read it and have brought it up to me. Needless to say, it has been added to my never-ending reading list! This Ted Talk is a great inside look into the philosophy that guides her book, and guides her approach to living well in your twenties. This talk certainly led to me think more deeply about the way I am living now in my early twenties.

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Do you agree with Jay’s approach? How do you view your twenties?

Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism

I’m a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. In hindsight, for the first twenty-something years of my life I tortured myself striving for perfection that couldn’t exist; 4.0 GPA, leadership positions in too many clubs, staying in touch with endless people. If I was late to a meeting by five minutes or got an A- on a paper, I was so angry and frustrated with myself. I’d spend so much time thinking about what I should’ve done differently.

I should’ve left ten minutes earlier.

I should have phrased this sentence differently.

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All the “should haves” and wasted energy I poured into my mistakes was exhausting, unproductive, and self-destructive. In the past year and a half, I’ve been working harder to shake this negative self-talk and deeply entrenched perfectionism. I have respect for all perfectionism has allowed me to achieve–a wonderful education, strong friendships, a solid work ethic–but I have also learned a few tools that allow me to ditch the downsides of perfectionism:

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who actually cares? Probably NO ONE, but if someone does care they likely do not know you well and might not be the type of person you want to value in your life.
  2. Will this matter in five years? Most likely not. Think about small mistakes you made five years ago–do they impact your life today?
  3. What am I losing? You’re probably only losing out on time you spent feeling regretful, upset, or disappointed.

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Do these things:

  1. Give yourself a hug, maybe even a small kiss on the shoulder–practice self-compassion.
  2. Treat yourself like a friend. If your best friend made this mistake, say to yourself what you might say to them
  3. Distract yourself: watch a quick show, ted talk, or call a friend.
  4. Focus on the positive: sure, one thing in your day went wrong. Now, focus on what went right.

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In school mistakes might mean a less than perfect grade and in the professional world, it might mean a frustrated client or a mistake in a presentation. Whatever it is, it’s likely not life-threatening and often we are the ones who suffer most. If you’re anything like me, I highly recommend trying out some of these tips and learning how you can change your perception of perfection.

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Are you a perfectionist? Do you use any of these strategies?

Ted Talk Friday: The danger of a single story

I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and this talk lives up to what I expect of her brilliant story-telling. She uses multiple examples of how easily we see others as one-dimensional, even with the knowledge of our own complex nature and nuances. Somehow we forget that just like a few adjectives can’t sum up our identity, a few adjectives can’t sum up anyone else so simply either. I hope you enjoy this video and use it to think of the singles stories you might be letting yourself believe.

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Have you thought about this concept before? What stories helped you discover new worlds and ideas?