Ted Talk Friday: 8 Lessons on Building a Company People Enjoy Working For

I am interested in workplace wellbeing from a number of different perspectives: as a lover of psychology, as an employee, and as an employee of a wellbeing technology company. I love how McCord breaks down her lessons into eight simple ideas. A lot of these ideas echo the lessons I learned in Brené Brown’s most recent book, Dare to Lead. I think lesson #6 is the hardest lesson for most companies…watch the video and let me know if you agree!

 

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Do you agree with these 8 lessons? Are there any other lessons you would add?

The Hard Work of Self-Compassion

If you’re a perfectionist, or recovering perfectionist, like me, you know that self-compassion is far from easy. I still remember reading Kristin Neff’s book on self-compassion and feeling complete shock at how unkind I was to myself. I remember reading, “Treat yourself like you would treat a good friend” and I’m sure my mouth dropped. I would never think or say things I say to myself to a friend, or even my worst enemies.

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Self-compassion, as defined by Dr. Kristin Neff, is made up of three key elements:

  1. Self-kindness vs. Self-judgement: We are all imperfect and self-compassion requires us to both acknowledge and accept those imperfections with kindness and love rather than judgment.
  2. Common humanity vs. Isolation: Imperfection is part of what makes us human–no one is perfect!
  3. Mindfulness vs. Over-identification: Be mindful of what you are thinking and feeling, but do not let those thoughts and feelings control you or become part of who you are.

I’ve been working on my self-compassion for the past three years since I read the book–and it’s not a simple change. Yesterday I found myself thinking, “It’s ok, babe. You’ve got this.” I paused and realized that this was my new internal voice; what a beautiful moment that has come after years of putting in work and changing my narrative. That is how I talk to my friends and those I care about, and I’m finally using that confident, compassionate, and loving voice for myself as well. I stopped what I was doing and nearly felt like crying because of how proud I was.

That voice does not come naturally to a lot of us, particularly those of us who have perfectionistic tendencies. I know many in the world of academic research see self-compassion as a bit “fluffy,” which has always bothered me. While it might sound fluffy in that it focuses on self-love and accepting imperfections, the science is loud and clear about the benefits that come with self-compassion. Researchers have found that self-compassion can increase immune function, lower the heart rate, and increases overall wellbeing.

Self-compassion is a skill we can build and it can help buffer us against the kind of self-directed negativity that accompanies depression and anxiety. Research shows that self-compassion can weaken the association between perfectionism and depression.

I’ve always been on the more anxious side; I primarily worry the most about my future and my performance, whether at work or school or in an interview. Building my self-compassion practice hasn’t made these anxious feelings go away, but it certainly helps when things go wrong or I make a mistake. I’ve developed mantras like “You’re ok” and “This is not on you” that help me get through difficult times. These mantras aren’t excuses to avoid taking responsibility for my mistakes, but they are ways I can minimize how my mistakes impact my mindset. You can still own your mistakes and learn from them while practicing self-compassion!

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Curious about how self-compassionate you are? Take the quiz here!

Ted Talk Friday: What I learned from 2,000 obituaries

I was immediately drawn in to this talk during the first minute; my dad actually does the same thing that this speaker, Lux Narayan, and reads through obituaries quite frequently. Narayan’s talk is a beautiful testament to having a life worth living–a life that is focused on what matters and having a positive impact, no matter how small. I also love that someone whose career focuses on data can develop such an interdisciplinary talk that ties in to some many important themes.

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Do you often read obituaries? If not, do you plan to start reading them after hearing this talk?

Ted Talk Friday: Want to be more creative?

I have been facing a lot of creative challenges at work recently. Some of these challenges have pushed me far out of my comfort zone so I’ve been interested in exploring why some of these creative tasks have been so challenging for me. I love creativity and coming up with new ideas, but recently I’ve been forced to get creative with tight deadlines…which means I’m likely not giving myself the time and space to come up with good ideas. I enjoyed the practical tips in this Ted Talk and plan to put them to work in the coming weeks! Plus, there’s the added perk of getting more steps in each day!

 

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What do you do to get creative? Will you try Oppezzo’s tips?

Book Review: The Deepest Well

I bounce back and forth between reading non-fiction related to my academic interests and more fun novels (like Where’d You Go, Bernadette). I’ve been on a non-fiction kick recently so I can keep up with the research I’m most interested in, and I wanted to share one of my recent reads with you.

I am passionate about adverse childhood experiences, particularly experiences of trauma, and The Deepest Well is all about how adverse experiences influences our lives in ways we never could’ve imagined. Not only does it lead to increased risk of a number of different mental illnesses, but it also leads to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases. It is not an issue that only effects those of low socioeconomic status, but it can effect anyone. If you had a parent with a mental illness or had a family member go to prison, your risk goes up.

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A higher ACE score means higher risk the board; it’s a dose-response effect. ACE scores don’t dictate your health, but those scores provide insight and can indicate you might be at higher risk.

The author, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, describes her work on ACEs and her creation of a non-profit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco. I live in San Francisco so Burke-Harris’ descriptions of the wealth disparities, and health disparities that accompany them, hit close to home. Two neighborhoods, defined by zip codes, in San Francisco can have an average life expectancy difference of 22 years. Twenty-two years.

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Facts like this blow me away and strengthen my dedication to research and making positive change. Change does not mean we can eliminate adverse experiences, but we can help build resilience, educate parents, and provide positive interventions to minimize the negative impact of those adverse experiences.

ACE scores do not tell the whole story, but it provides powerful evidence and a simple, tangible metric for us to understand how early experiences influence us for the rest of our lives–both mentally and physically. I highly recommend The Deepest Well if you’re interested in learning more about chronic stress, adverse experiences, and health outcomes.

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Have you heard of ACE scores? Does the correlation between ACE scores and heath outcomes surprise you?

 

 

Plant-Based Tomato Garlic Noodles (+ a secret ingredient)

First off, I have not been posting as much as I would like. I am going through some exciting changes in my life–details to come soon–so I have not devoted as much time to this blog. Luckily, I still make time to cook so today I’m bringing you my newest recipe!

I was so excited when I saw jack fruit on the shelves at Trader Joe’s. I have been dying to try it for a few years. I have seen quite a few fake prepared jack fruit-based BBQ mixes at the grocery store, but I wanted to play with jack fruit from scratch. I decided to experiment with the ingredients I had on hand and ended up making a delicious tomato garlic mix.

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Ingredients:

-3 tbsp tomato paste

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1/2 c marinara sauce

.-1 can jackfruit, drained and chopped

-12 oz zoodles (2-3 medium zucchini)

-12 oz cauliflower rice

-3 tsp minced garlic

-1 bag Miracle Noodle fettuccini

Directions:

  1. Prepare Miracle Noodles according to instructions on the bag.
  2. Combine all ingredients except zoodles in a large pot and let simmer on low-medium heat for at least thirty minutes. This is a very important step to make sure all the flavors blend.
  3. Add in the zoodles and stir the mixture well. Let cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

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4. Remove from heat and enjoy! This recipe makes 3 large servings and 4 smaller servings.

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Don’t forget to use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!

Ted Talk Friday: You Don’t Need an App for That

I really enjoyed this talk and I think it speaks to so many misconceptions about what innovation looks like and where it comes from. Working in the Bay Area, people assume that it is the hub for change and growth, but Shapshak does a wonderful job of explaining why that is not necessarily the case. I think so many of our assumptions about technology is based on who we see is being advanced and what areas are seen as sources of advancement. As Shapshak describes, these misconceptions showcase our prejudices and clearly show how often we misunderstand how invention comes about.

 

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What do you think of Shapshak’s talk?

Ted Talk Friday: Using happiness to evaluate a company’s success

I work in the workplace wellbeing space so this talk’s title immediately caught my eye. I love her logical reasoning behind why happiness is such a valuable metric of success. I have not heard of the happy planet index, but I am definitely going to read more about it.  I see this play out in many companies I work with; HR often cares so much about employee wellbeing and happiness, but it hard to convey its value since happiness is often seen as a “fluffy” concept. After listening to this talk, it certainly doesn’t sound fluffy at all:

 

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Can you imagine a world where the happiness index is listed by stock prices?

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

It is insane that it is already December! I looked at the calendar last week and nearly fainted; where did the year go?! I have a really great feeling about the year to come, but 2018 flew by in what feels like an instant. This year has been FULL of big changes for me–some positive and some negative–but I am beyond grateful for all of the good that has come into my life. I love the holiday season because I love any excuse to give gifts–my love language is gift-giving (although I personally prefer to receive words of affirmation).

I often have a hard time thinking of gifts on short notice, so I tend to buy things throughout the year as I think of people. There have been years when I had all of my shopping done by October!

For the normal people out there who likely haven’t gotten their shopping done, here are a few of my top gifts for 2018:

  1. Tabio Socks: These are an amazing gift for both fitness fanatics or fashion-obsessed friends. I love my Tabio socks for pilates and barre classes especially, the signature run socks have great grip on the bottom and are super cute (my favorite color is lavender). Use code HANN20 for a discount when you order!

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2. Quest Nutrition Bars: These make my list every year. Someone recently asked how I haven’t gotten tired of this brand after six years of eating their products. First off, I love all the flavor options and convenience of a healthy, satisfying snack on the go. Second, I love this brand. The company is based on the principles of positive psychology, self-improvement, and growth–all of which resonate with me.

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3. ActivMotion Bar: I recently posted a full review of ActivMotion bars on the blog, but these are definitely making the gift guide as well! This is a great gift for your fit friend who already has all of the basic fitness products; it’s definitely a unique workout and is a great tool to improve balance!

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4. Satin pillowcase: This is a nice gift for anyone you know who wants to add a bit of luxury to their bedtime routine (and who doesn’t?!).

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5. Orb Sleep Complex: I’ve made so many people try this and everyone falls in love. It provides such a restful sleep without any heavy drugs–it’s an all natural mix of ingredients like melatonin and lavender oil that eases you to sleep with time-released B12 to help you wake up feeling refreshed.

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When do you normally finish up buying gifts?

Ted Talk Friday: Imposter Syndrome?

I have had one crazy week so I wanted to share a quick talk that felt relevant to me right now. In recent conversations with many of my friends, we discussed this feeling of being an imposter and feeling like we don’t belong in our jobs or academic programs–maybe we don’t feel smart enough, old enough, or experienced enough. Imposter syndrome can feel isolating, but the more you connect with friends and family and express your vulnerability, the less alone you’ll likely feel.

 

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Do you struggle with imposter syndrome? Do you talk about it openly?