awareness

Safe Place

There’s at least one every year.

It usually starts with a drop-in from the counselor. “We need a safe place for _______________. Is it ok if we have the library as her safe place?”

The answer is always yes. Of course.

The reasons are many. For some, it’s a desire to run away. In my years in the public education system, we’ve had a handful of students who cope with things by physically running out of the school. Sometimes they make it to the street, down the road, into the woods. As you might imagine, a student exiting the building is cause for everything and everyone to stop what they are doing until the student is found. After the student is located, there is a process that begins…protocols, safety measures, and so on. One part of the protocol is identifying safe places for those students to go when they feel that urge to escape. My library is pretty big and I have no problem leaving students alone. So the counselor brings that student in and shows them where they can go to be undisturbed.

We’ve had other students who try to harm themselves. Much like our students who need to escape, the library is a place they can go to be alone and decompress. I have worked on the art of watching these kids without putting them under a microscope. We all know adults to just need a time out, but don’t need to be overly isolated. I strive to be that safe place where a student can be just alone enough to gather themselves.

At times it is students who can’t be in the room for whatever is being taught. We have families who don’t want their students exposed to stories about magic. We have other families who don’t celebrate certain holidays. In that case, we are the place that students can come to avoid that content.

And then there are the students with health conditions. From seasonal allergies to epileptic seizures, I am the place where students go when being outside for recess isn’t a safe option. I try to give these little guys things to do while they are inside. I hurt at times for these kids, since being outside is so vital to health and such a fun part of the school day.

I guess I am in the margins. A catch-all for students who need a place to just be who they are for whatever reason. A welcoming spot for anyone who is a little different. Do you have a place like that? Or maybe it’s a person?

challenges

Frustrated 2.0

I started this post a few weeks ago and then stopped. Just stopped mid-stream. The post was negative. I don’t like to write about negative attitudes. However, here I am a few weeks later and I’m crotchety again. Go figure.

I’ve been dealing with chaos for a couple of months on a few projects. One stalled for this reason. Another sidelined for a different reason. Lack of human capital on another. Just one roadblock after another.

I’ve kept my calm. I’ve committed to endure the test of time. What I have little tolerance for is ignorance, laziness and stupidity. When any of those factors hinder my progress I want to bang my head on the wall. Literally and physically.

Sometimes I just don’t get how something so simple seems so challenging for others. Am I a details snob? Weather has been rain rain and more rain. This hinders outdoor projects. Supply chain issues hinder renovations on the home front, even something as simple as getting a fence put in.  Transportation issues arise. Add in price increases due to supply and demand. Thanks Corona. Thanks for complicating life on a whole different level.

Some examples to note for my review in the future when I revisit my blog time capsule: I went to Best Buy it was closed at 8pm on a Saturday. Wow. I went to a furniture store for a need and guess what they close at 7pm on a Friday. Places are still buttoned up tight from Corona. I hadn’t seen it as much as I’ve been on the home front a bunch. Just a big wake up call I suppose.

All these small things keep adding up and boom stupidity hit. Lack of preparation on somebody’s part causing an emergency on my end. Should life work that way? Most days I bend and flex but some days I draw a line in the sand and say no way. Solve your own issues. I have enough of my own.

When I look back 20-25 years, I had to lean on myself for problem solving or engage resources to help in shortcomings. Today’s younger generation is just not built the same way. If google can’t fix something you might as well call in the marines.

Maybe we need to go back to the card catalog and encyclopedia days and do some leg work to get answers vs. having google supply a cheat sheet.

I am cranky so this is my cranky pants post. You may see one or two of these a year. So sad to say the first one is already in the books.

giving

Cheering People On Who Need It

You never know who it might be.

Maybe it’s the co-worker everyone finds annoying because they seem to be so hypersensitive about the pandemic and germs and social distancing and sanitizer.

Maybe it’s the colleague who shows up on time every day to his job, doesn’t necessarily go above and beyond but quietly and dutifully does what is required.

Maybe it’s the person who is constantly cheering everyone else on. Posting photos with wide smiles. Positive quotes.

I know each of these people. And I know they are each suffering in their own ways. Do you know these people? When you look around, really look, do you see them?

Yes, I have that co-worker who keeps his door closed. Who was afraid to come back to work and still has those fears but needs the income and benefits. Who people roll their eyes about in conversation because he wants his room cleaned multiple times per day.

So what did I do? I wrote him a thank you note. I complimented his work to my boss. I went out of my way to appreciate him. He is not having an easy time.

The person who is always positive? Once in a while she gives a glimpse into her struggles. She drops a hint. But then she keeps on encouraging. I see a bit of myself in her. Or the person I hope to be. I try to tell her often how much she is a light in my life. It reminds me of someone like Robin Williams, among others, who seemed so funny and light and full of life. Sometime there is struggle there. Who might be putting on a brave face?

It’s the “in the middle” or “under the radar” people I have been trying to look out for lately. Those who are just going through the motions. Nothing unusual. No big highs or red flags. Maybe they’re just kind of invisible.

How are they holding up? Are they barely holding it together? I worry about forgetting people. I worry about people feeling alone and forgotten. When I text to check in on someone and it’s been a month since I’ve heard, I know I need to do better.

I have the fatigue that many others do. The whole thing is wearing on me. My gratitude muscles are sort of flabby. They aren’t as strong as they used to be. I need to keep reaching, stretching, and extending them.

Look around you. Do you see any of these people? How can you give them a lift, show appreciation, let them know they are seen?

The holidays will continue. Think of some unique ways you can lift people up in these draggy times.

working women

Wah

Work at home or wah has been something I have been accustomed to for over 20 years. I am not a newbie to juggling work and home life. Wah requires a certain kind of discipline.

School holidays, summer vacations and digital learning days have always added a layer of distractions over the years but they were managed with care. Even when the pandemic popped up tolerance was built up and grace was given across the board. A juggling act of sorts began. The tolerance was temporary.

Fast forward four months and patience weakens when the reality sets in that one’s wah environment changed permanently. The distractions become coworkers. A teenager, a spouse, a token visitor, and a dog are now fixed figures much like a coworker. Don’t be fooled. These coworkers are not on your team.

Their output doesn’t impact your quota or goals. In fact, their production counts against you in ways that are hard to articulate. Their mere presence over time can counteract your goals.

Each new coworker has needs. It could be bandwidth for zoom meetings. Background noise for calls. Your favorite snack in the pantry. The list could go on and on. Now let’s compare that commotion to the once quiet and peaceful singular employee wah environment one was used to. There is no comparison!

The world around us has changed as well. Neighbors are also working at home due to environmental conditions. They may now mow the lawn more mid-day. They may let their dog(s) out in the yard during the day more. There may be neighbors talking over the fence more. There may be kids playing in the pool next door. There may be more UPS deliveries next door more often. That means noises, distractions, and so much more.

A chain reaction can start quickly. One dog barks in the area then five dogs bark. One toilet flushes then another, then another. School starts at 6:20 am for one. Work starts at 8 am for another. Work starts at 10 am for another. End times, lunch breaks, naps, and meetings all fluctuate between the pop-up mini-team. The poor dog is like a ping pong ball. No more daytime naps for the dog. Too much stimulation.

Somebody turns on the laundry mid-day. Somebody has a visitor pop over. Somebody burns something in the kitchen. Somebody takes a TV break and turns the sound up too loud. How does anyone get anything accomplished?

Work conference calls. School zoom classes. Chaos on the home front. Home and work is now mixed without barriers. Temporary is now more permanent.

I almost forgot the annoying coworker. The one who reads an article and wants to discuss it with you. The one who can’t focus on their own work so they ask you irrelevant questions. A coworker who looks to you for motivation or that mental push. Remember your coworker isn’t on your team but they need you to solve their perceived problem. Today it could be motivation. Tomorrow it could be world news they want to have a chat about. The complexities of wah with coworkers that have independent goals and objectives are many especially if they are related to you.

Was your home office really designed for one or four? Do you have additional responsibilities during the pandemic to keep your job? How is your performance holding up? How is your mental toughness?

How will businesses survive when employee productivity declines even further because their impatience and stress at home become too much? How will kids develop when we take away their social environment and replace it with forced digital environments that  are unhealthy in the best of situations?

So much chaos today. I didn’t even have to mention the fact that no masks are required at home. But is home really home when you make it a workplace, a school, a gym and force so much change on everyone within the home walls that the seams are ready to bust?

Wah no longer means work at home to me. It now translates to what a haze. A haze not traditionally discussed. One that will cause some to revert to drugs, alcohol or other self- medicating or self-harm measures to cope.

Each of the above coping mechanisms present another layer of negativity in the home which is now the school which is now the conference room and maybe even the church and so on.

I can’t wait to see the statistical reports in about 3-5 years. The data that will show all that was lost and learned in 2020 during the pandemic. Statistical data is going to pack a punch down the road. Many are in the moment not thinking about long term consequences.

There will also be stats on kids’ vision and how it was impacted. All the screen time between video games, social media and now online schooling. I know in our wah environment we have made adjustments from varied background screen colors to glasses to keep up with changes in digital hours.

2020 is definitely a year for the record books. Wild, crazy, unpredictable. I think I’m going to work at the office. I have that choice, many don’t. It will most likely be less chaotic.

working women

Patience

Can one master patience?

Generally speaking I am an immediate gratification girl but I am always working to master my patience skills.

This requires conditioning the patience muscles. Right now I’m in a conditioning phase. Many loose pieces in multiple big projects means I have to wait patiently for some to collaborate or make decisions.

This patience phase can be a grueling process for me as I like the finish line in projects. I like cross over the line and say I did it. Boom! Sometimes however it’s not about the finish line rather it’s about the process.

The cultivation. The experience. The relationships. The people. The success. The failure. The memories. The time. The overall patience built into the crossing of the finish line. Watching the vision turn into reality.

Let’s talk about writing a book. Our 1095 Days project. It’s in the works. Well into the planning and execution phase but no finish line. The process has been nothing less than amazing. Much of our concept couldn’t be imagined on the onset to the naked eye. Only the eye that was interested in investing in the farming time. The planting of the seeds. The patience required while you wait for the seed to blossom. The time. That’s the beauty of the process.

In my yard during corona I planted some trees. Now months later those trees are starting to flower. Such a beautiful sight. One blossom born out of such a devastating time. New growth is around in the land but also in people. If we all Look deep into our souls we all learned something during corona. We grew.

In business there is always what’s next. The next sales month. The next big deal. The next job experience. This means if you think there is a finish line then you halted your growth. You have to look beyond the finish line to see what’s next. Or for some like me it’s what is here in the now. I see the finish line but I’m working on what’s in the middle. Because I’m working on what’s in the middle my finish line may be extended. Maybe a longer project yielding more value or maybe even a deeper relationship with a client because of the time spent in the middle.

My patience growth is in the middle. Where is your growth? As I grow I mentor others. This blog is just a glimpse of what I do for many although each experience is different which enables me to compound my growth through experiences.

I encourage each of you reading this to challenge yourself in some aspect of life. Maybe it’s getting organized financially. Maybe it’s taking a risk on a dream. Maybe it’s even swimming across a stretch of water because you fear you can’t.

Take the next move before it’s too late. You can exercise your patience muscles after you take the first step!

Vulnerability, courage and patience all tie together in my mind for many reasons. In order to grow exponentially you usually need to be aware of these three words. More to come on that is a future post.