As you can imagine, this time in the balcony was especially... a lot to process. I used some directed questions (see below) to get me started, and I let myself really remember how completely bat*$(# crazy this year was. Which is saying something because 2020 was certainly no joke either! I won't cycle through the summary of this year's headlines that will loop on repeat in the next couple of days on every news outlet, but WOW. The lyrics to Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads keep rattling around in my head... (Especially "And you may ask yourself, 'Well... how did I get here?'")
In the midst of it all, my work with clients has plowed ahead. I am still digging in with several clients in terms of #leadershipdevelopment -- creating new manager training competencies, constructing more efficient and relevant onboarding processes, shaping better employee engagement activities, to name a few. But on top of that, I am kept very busy by providing workshops and conversations on #stressmanagement, #resilience, and overall #wellbeing. And recently I have had some truly powerful discussions around #neurodiversity. I am learning so, so much.
To indicate the interest I am discovering around these concerns around #wellbeing: I post about once a week on LinkedIn, and I average from 15 to maybe 300 views... but two weeks ago I posted an article titled "Feeling constantly stressed? Blame your 'threat brain'" and it got 3,817 views! Alrighty then.
So here is what I am reading and using with clients. Please do let me know what connects for you.
🎼 🎧 Science-Backed Productivity Playlists to Help You Dive Deeper Into Work. Personally, I need something in the background to help me focus when I need to put my head down and laser in on one thing. Here are some playlists that might be helpful to you if you like to do that as well?
😵 Staying Sane at Work. This is a podcast interview with Dr. Laurie Santos, who leads the most popular course on Coursera, which I have taken and recommended here, The Science of Well-Being (I still REALLY recommend it). This interview appears on the "Ten Percent Happier" podcast, which is a tremendous resource for those looking for creative, helpful methods of #self-care.
📆 End of Year 2021 Self-Reflection Questions. These are the ones referenced in the first paragraph above. Listen to the podcast given in the link, or scroll down and just use the 10 questions given. Questions 1, 2, 6 and 8 were the most productive for me. How about you?
✍🏾 Feeling Anxious? Journaling Might Help. Following up from my post in November on the value of journaling: Here is a quote from this month's article that sums up why I journal every day: "When people use writing to express themselves, Dr. Wright said, they 'increase emotional regulation, clarify life goals, find meaning, and give voice to feelings, which can help construct a meaningful story.' She added that looking back through old journal entries can remind the writer of the times she struggled but persevered."
✅ 22 for 22. Call them resolutions, call them goals, call them a bucket list... but I appreciate setting my sights on some things to work on and look forward to and challenge myself to try in the coming year. I did this last year via Gretchen Rubin's challenge to do the same (21 for 2021) and many were accomplished. Do this in a way that is life-giving and fun.
👂🏽 What You Discover When You Really Listen. I have learned that the activities of coaching and consulting with others (coupled with decades of pastoral care in my previous careers) requires focus (as opposed to multi-tasking), presence, curiosity, and the ability to keep going through the layers. This TedTalk by Hrishikesh Hirway captures that process -- it provides valuable insight for managers and leaders, but also for individuals as they relate to everyone important to them. Amazing.
🎙 Podcasts that I Can't Stop Listening To. Sometimes I feel like I could create a separate blog just for this topic... I am regularly awestruck and energized by the content I run into. My two latest favorites feed off of the recommendation directly above ~ perhaps you've already discovered Song Exploder on Netflix hosted by Hirway, which unpacks the process, in tremendous and fascinating detail, of how a song is written through in-depth interviews with the songwriter. But there are only a few episodes... so if you want a steady stream of new songs, I recommend the Song Exploder podcast. A similar podcast, yet totally different, comes from BBC Radio 4 that is called Soul Music. The title is a bit misleading... it does not solely cover soul music; rather, like Song Exploder, it explores stories behind all sorts of music -- but from the perspective of the listener, interviewing people who have had their lives (and souls) deeply impacted by a particular song. The episode of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For is outstanding. P.S. If you enjoy this exploration of the creative process, sign up for several hours of watching (which I found tedious occasionally, but overall very worthwhile) the documentary on the Beatles called Get Back.
🧊 ⛏ 25 Icebreaker Questions for Meetings and Groups ~ latest update. I try to regularly compile list of questions for teams to use to break the boring chitchat at meetings, so here's my newest list. Previous lists can be found at https://bit.ly/KSLD25Qs and https://bit.ly/KSLDTeamBuild.
There are even more things to recommend, but that's enough for now. I hope I get to connect with you in the new year. Please feel free to reach out with questions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.