One way to ruin your day

Want to ruin your day and find out how convoluted your work processes really are?

Teach someone to do your job. 

Training my replacement (as I transition into my new role) has definitely been an eye-opening experience. Procedures and processes that I’ve taken for granted have to be picked apart and distilled into step-by-step instructions.

Some of these steps have left me scratching my head and wondering why we’re doing it this way in the first place. 

But it’s a good thing. 

We can get stuck doing the same things the same way because they “work” and it’s only when we try to explain what we do to someone else that we see room for improvement. 

Even if you’re not actively training someone new, take a stab at it and see if your processes make sense. You may find something interesting you didn’t see before. 

Murder Board?

Part of my job is keeping track of all our services and software and how they integrate with one another.

To visualize this, a few times a year I try to map it all out using a mind mapping program. This time around was preparing for next year, and including all the new stuff that came in to use since I did this exercise last.

It tends to be a little confusing for someone who’s not “in it” on a daily basis. So, during my one-on-one with the marketing team leader, she referred to it as my “Serial Killer Board”.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

The power of late night thoughts.

I listen to a lot of music. Mostly 🤘rock 🎸from the 90’s/early 2000’s in the vein of Jawbox, Jimmy Eat World, Sting, Toad the Wet Sprocket, etc.

🤷🏻‍♀️ Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m dating myself. 👵🏻

Anywho, there was a bass line that had been going through my head with zero other context. No lyrics, no melody, just a bass line. For MONTHS. I remember talking to a friend of mine who went through the 90’s with me about it earlier this year and he couldn’t place it either. It was quite amusing trying to replicate the bass line with my voice.

Last night I was drifting off to sleep and a song title popped into my head from a band called Burning Airlines (Ex-Jawbox for those of you who are interested). I queued up the album on Spotify and THERE IT WAS 🤯. The bass line haunting my thoughts for nearly 12 months finally in my ears.

I could have gone to sleep and forgotten about it in the morning and continued to be haunted, but I made myself get up & get my phone to look up the song. The room that song was taking up in my brain was now free! 🎉

In much the same way, I keep a notebook by my bed and write down those random thoughts at night – and have had some fantastic ideas come from those late night brainstorms. I don’t ignore those sparks, even if I’m 🤏🏻 this close to sleep.

Keep a notebook 📓with you wherever you go so you catch all those seemingly insignificant things that run through your head. You never know when inspiration is gonna hit, and if you don’t record it, it never happened.

And this is the song…

Parents, teach your kids early about gatekeeping.

Yesterday my son began a sentence with “A REAL Pokemon fan is someone who…” and then rattled off a list of things like knowing stats and attacks of all the Pokemon, building your own trading card game (TCG) deck, etc.

I said to him “A real Pokemon fan loves Pokemon. End of sentence. What you’re doing is called gatekeeping and it’s not fair or kind. I don’t know a quarter of the stuff you know, yet I’ve been a fan of Pokemon since the late 90s. You can’t say I’m not a real fan, right? I’m the one who got you into it in the first place.”

So we had a bit more of a discussion on being inclusive and kind and celebrating common interests regardless of how much someone knows about Charizard’s strongest attack in the TCG.

Yes, the kid’s got a rather encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to his interests, but that just means he can teach and lead instead of keeping people out because of some arbitrary test of facts and stats. I’m NOT raising Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. 😂

Think Different

Several years ago, we had Thanksgiving dinner at our favorite diner. They used to do a fundraiser every Thanksgiving for an orphanage nearby.

We know the owners as family friends. Teddy, one of the owners, sat next to my son who was 5 at the time, and started talking about what he was drawing. Not 100% sure how the conversation flowed, but she asked “Can you write me a check for $1000?”

He obliged, and proceeded to draw a huge check mark on a piece of paper in orange crayon with the number 1000 underneath.

We’re still laughing about it today. Kid’s still a joker and finds creative ways to twist words and ideas for laughs.

Looking at things differently is easy when we’re kids. We don’t know how we’re supposed to perceive and interpret the world, so we go on instinct. The result is usually funny, but always uses the kid’s natural ability to figure things out on their own terms.

When things aren’t working, are you still looking at the problem the same way you always have? Try putting yourself into a kid’s mindset – wide open curiosity – assume nothing – look at it with a beginner’s mind, and see what happens.

I Am A Martial Artist

Here I am at home in my uniform post-TKD class holding my belt. A little red and sweaty but really happy.
Here I am at home in my uniform post-TKD class holding my belt. A little red and sweaty but really happy.

I am a martial artist.

I’ve been hesitant using those words, afraid of incurring the wrath of MMA dudebros because I’m far from the picture of idealized female martial artists. I got my black belt in Taekwondo when I was 18, after practicing on & off for 6 years or so. I was at the dojang every day, and left it behind when I went off to college.

Over the next 20-odd years I tried to go back, and finally did in November of 2017. I was at my highest weight ever, had gotten some scary news from the doctor, and I needed to start moving again. I am not a runner, a walker, a yogi, or a gym person in any way. But martial arts, I can do. Fast forward, I’ve released nearly 50 lbs since I started and I’m feeling better in every way.

The physical benefits are only a small part of why I love martial arts. All my life, I’ve felt powerless, and unable to take control . As a woman, and one that takes up “too much room” according to society, I feel powerful when I practice. I am not too much, too loud, nor do I “think too much” in class. I am a student and an assistant instructor. I am confident, strong, and capable. In a world where things rarely make sense, TKD makes sense.

And I can kick some serious ass.

I highly recommend martial arts – any of them – to everyone, especially those who identify as female, non-binary or otherwise not-male. Fitness is a secondary benefit. Confidence, taking up space, grounding, being able to protect yourself, and the feeling of power far outweigh any physical benefits.