Conscious Contact at Work

I have spent quite a few years pretending I knew what I was doing. Approximately 40-some years.

It is exhausting.

In this week’s podcast, Genay and I talk about Conscious Contact in the workplace and for me, this is where imposter syndrome really showed itself.

And man, I sure took it out on a lot of my direct reports. I required perfection at all times and was scared shitless that someone would find out I was clueless on how to get there. I ruined a lot of relationships and drove off a lot of good people – just because they were different from me or needed something I was not able to give them.

Although I stopped managing people in 2010, it took about 7 more years for me to start to loosen the death grip on perfection. Here are a couple tent poles that I keep returning to:

  1. Wearing life like a loose garment.
  2. Learning about the Buddhist concepts of beginner mind.
  3. Having a sense of humor.
  4. Trying new things.

“In the beginners mind, there are many possibilities, but in the experts there are few.” Shunryu Surjuki

Listen to the whole episode at this link or wherever you get your podcasts.

By |2022-05-22T15:06:09-04:00May 24th, 2022|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

I want to catch you up on the fun stuff that has been happening while on hiatus.

Remember how I said I wanted to get my Tupperware drawer in order? I did approximately zero minutes of that.

Live footage of the jumble of plastic containers.

But what I did do was become a co-host of a podcast.

A friend of mine started the Conscious Contact podcast earlier this year. Here is the description:

Do you hate small talk? Do you often think about how to live a meaningful life, and where we get our reference for what is important in life? Join your host, Genay Peavey, and special guests as they dive into how they reconnect with the present, pursue their bigger purpose (and how they found it), and put the phones down so they can actively participate in their lives.

Sounds like Sustainable Productivity, right?! I thought so too and was delighted when she asked me to be one of her first guests. You can listen to that episode here.

Things just naturally progressed and now I am onboard as cohost!

I am excited about the podcast medium. I did not think the speaking thing was going to be my jam, but Genay makes it super easy, and we both have the same intention with our creative efforts.

If you want to learn along with us, subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. We are on most podcast platforms. You can also follow us on Instagram at @consciouscontactpodcast

By |2022-05-11T08:03:54-04:00May 11th, 2022|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Hi, Remember Me?

I know, I know. My “2-week break” turned into a 6 months (ish) sabbatical.

I have written this post in my head a bazillion times but it never made it to the page computer screen.

Lots of life went down last fall leading to my hiatus. I can’t go into it all because a lot of it is not my story to tell, but honestly – it doesn’t matter what it was.

We all have our shit, ya know? It isn’t a shit show contest.

If it isn’t sustainable, stop it. And that is where I have been, trying to tighten the circle to make it sustainable. But at the same time, trying to hold on loosely.

It’s a balancing act, yo.

I can’t promise I am going to spin glorious prose and words of anything near wisdom. But I am going to start forming public sentences again as part of One Day May social media challenge. I hope to see you over there.

And of course here next week!

By |2022-05-02T20:07:15-04:00May 3rd, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Out of Office

I am taking 2 weeks away to take a step back and recharge. Circle the wagons, if you will. I am taking time off from my day job during Thanksgiving week and plan to hit all the dimensions of a Sustainably Productive life.

  • Health and Fitness: hikes in the woods with Lucille, followed by naps.
  • Mental Well-being: lots of time on hobbies, including crafting with friends.
  • Environmental Surroundings: clearing mismatched Tupperware and putting up Christmas decorations.

I wish you a relaxing start to your holiday season. I hope you take time to recharge, even if you have to say no to a few fun things to create more space in the long run.

By |2021-11-15T19:52:16-05:00November 16th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Time to Slow Down

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand yelling,

‘This is important!

And this is important!

You need to worry about this!

And this!

And that!’

And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say,

‘No, THIS is what’s important!’

Lain Thomasa

By |2021-11-08T19:43:37-05:00November 9th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pockets of Joy

Finding joy in a day does not have cost a penny. I was trying to think of something to do that would be fulfilling, free, and somewhat low key.

Solution: The public library.

If you don’t have a library card, stop reading right now and go get one.

I went in thinking I might just wander around and soak in the library vibes – it’s been awhile since I have actually been IN a library. Pros and cons of Kindles I guess.

I accidentally left with 6 books all due in 14 days with no option to renew. And I am not sorry about it.

By |2021-11-01T17:02:40-04:00November 2nd, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen for your Soul

Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I was living life on a banana peel and only doing crafts to try to make some proverbial space?

Leave it to the queens of authenticity and vulnerability to say it better. Glennon Doyle’s podcast is one of the best things out there. Last week’s episodes touched on this idea of creativity and making space, and said it in a way that resonates all the way to my gut.

The first episode of the week talked about creativity, “Writing & Art: When does your real self get to breathe and be seen?” This really made me think about when I write posts that let my real self breathe vs when I am writing to teach. What is my mission and purpose for this space I write in each week? Do I need to change how I am approaching content that I put out?

Then the second episode of the week was Glennon’s sister Amanda’s view on creativity and generally being “non-productive.” In the episode, “Creativity, Chemistry & Claiming Your Joy,” Amanda talked about a recent valley she was in and the realization that it is not her family’s fault – she needs to take ownership of her needs.

She talked about that need with the metaphor of fire. Fire takes fuel, heat, and oxygen. Without letting oxygen in, the flame dies. You need space for oxygen to come in to fan the fire. Creative pursuits are the fuel and your desire to be creative is the heat.

I have the desire and the fuel. But man that O2 is tough to come by these days.

And life is smothering lately.

And what helps when I am smothered is to do things that breathe life into my soul. These 2 podcasts are such a more eloquent way to say how I feel. I hope you find it helpful as well. The podcasts are well worth the listen.

By |2021-10-26T07:04:01-04:00October 26th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

When Home Changes

The definition of home can change over the years. It is hard to have to let go of “homes” that no longer serve you, represent you, or match your definition of home.

This could be shifting roles in family life, friend groups changing, additional job responsibilities or countless other ways your settled “homey” feelings are kicked off their axis.

It might not be as dramatic as your daily schedule proverbially burning down or moving to a new literal home. It might be a subtle nagging that time spent in a space or relationship is no longer the soft place to fall that you thought it was.

When we think about this through the Sustainable Productivity (SusPro) lens, it means to ask yourself two questions:

  • Is it productive for me: Am I getting the desired outcome?
  • Is it sustainable for me: Can I continue this lifelong if I want?

If the answer to either one of these SusPro questions is no, it is time for an adjustment.

3-Step Adjustment

Once you decide something is no longer Sustainably Productive for you, you can take action through these small, manageable steps. This is not the time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sweeping, dramatic changes are not SusPro and often lead to burnout and negative self-talk. Not to mention don’t solve the problem that brought the need for change in the first place.

1 – Name what is not working

This could look and feel a million different ways depending on the issue and your life circumstances. Don’t overthink it. It could be activities just not fitting into the schedule this season. Maybe it is feeling drained after drinks with friends instead of fulfilled. Never quite finding time to reading the selection for book club – for a whole year.

Don’t judge what you name – let it be what comes up. No matter how trivial, petty, or small it might be.

2 – Make small changes

Once you name what is not working, brainstorm ways to make small SusPro changes. Don’t quit book club altogether, let the group know you can only commit to every other month. Instead of always having drinks with that One Friend, maybe ask that mom you see at band pick up if she wants to grab coffee. Or go have coffee with yourself instead of someone who leaves you drained.

If you are not sure how to make a change to what is eating your lunch every day, keep an eye out for when you DO feel at home. Certain clothing, rooms in your home, smells, people, activities, etc. How can you add more of that? Maybe you don’t need to stop having drinks with that friend, but you try to add other people, change to dessert earlier in the night, or just wear different pants!

3 – Evaluate

After a few rounds of your small changes, decide if it is working or not. This could be several months if you are backing off of book club, but it could be days if you are trying steel cut oats for breakfast instead of donuts. Take yourself full circle as ask the SusPro questions:

  • Is it productive for me: Am I getting the desired outcome?
  • Is it sustainable for me: Can I continue this lifelong if I want?

If the answer to either one of these SusPro questions is no, it is time for an adjustment.

Keep in mind the answer might be MAYBE. If you are not able to say no, keep going and see what develops. You might just be in the stage of habit change where you are resetting routines and neural pathways. Give it time to bake in before deciding.

Your Turn

Are you feeling comfortable in your literal and proverbial “home” these days? If so – identify why and what makes you feel at home. If not – what is not working and what small changes can you make?

By |2021-10-18T17:27:14-04:00October 19th, 2021|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Limping Through Life?

When living life on a banana peel, one must move very slowly. If at all.

Here is a rundown of what is not getting done:

  • House cleaning
  • Sustainable Sue content planning
  • Bike rides
  • Uninterrupted night’s sleep
  • Weed pulling
  • Showering
  • Meal planning
  • Reading multiple books in a week

Live footage of me finishing last week:

Source: Giphy, of course

We are down to the basics, and I must add crafting as one of my basics to keep afloat. I am taking this tip from a couple friends who craft to manage their stress levels too.

Above: Sumo wrestler relaxes between matches by cross stitching (Source unknown). Right: Tom Daley, British Olympic diver manages stress at events by knitting (Source: Instagram)

 

NOTE: Before I go further I want to acknowledge all the privilege that I have that allows me to manage mental health. I have money to afford hobbies or therapy, no kids at home to feed when I just want to eat ice cream for dinner, and a job where I work at home and can lie down during my lunch hour if I need to.

My Floors Are Not Clean But…

Here is a snapshot of what that is getting me through these tough days.

1 – English paper piecing is a quilting / sewing technique that I learned at my local quilt shop. I have several projects in mind including a quilt I may try to sell and small handbags for my nieces. Bonus is using up fabric scraps AND scrapbook paper from my stash. Yay for free crafts!

2 – I learned to knit in August and finished a scarf as my first project. I bought some practice yarn scraps from Reconsidered Goods (think Goodwill shop for all things crafts). I worked on my stitching for awhile before purchasing nice yard for a blanket I want to make for a couch we purchased earlier this year. Lucille is a big fan of knitting too, as you can see.

I like this craft because I can carry it easily in a single bag and it is easily contained to do on long car trips or in waiting rooms and such.

3 – I have wanted to make a puff quilt since seeing it on social media. Turns out Lo and Behold Stitchery has a free pattern that includes a video tutorial! This quilt is 720 squares of shades of Christmas colors, plus backing and binding that I was all able to pull from my fabric stash. I really loved using the stash because half of the squares are never seen so I could use some of the less favorite fabric that was in my mom’s stash that I inherited. There is also some fabric from her that is just so old it is hard to work with. I could not part with it, but this way I can use it and it just does not matter how janky it turns out!

Here is my puff-in-progress.

The purpose of this post is not to shame you into thinking you * should * be doing crafts too. This post is a reminder to myself that what I am doing today is enough. I hope you have something in your life that brings light to your days.

Be easy on yourself and others.

Your Turn

What could you stop doing to give yourself a break? What can you start doing to give yourself a break?

By |2021-10-11T19:11:05-04:00October 12th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fitness Without a Finish Line

I want to share some words with you a little differently this week. Kindred Mom blog invited me to talk about redefining strong, brave and beautiful in the second half of life. I shared about the Sustainable Productivity concept of  “fitness without a finish line” and then recorded it as a podcast with them. You can find this piece here. I hope you enjoy it. Here is a small excerpt:

My 45 year old belly I see in the studio mirror is far from the six pack abs that belonged to the collegiate athlete who was weighed each week and when she hit her (coach’s arbitrary) scale goal was told to start dropping body fat. Young Susan did as she was told – mostly through high intensity cardiovascular workouts which were part of pre-season/in-season/post-season/off-season training programs anyway. And let me tell you––if it was on the training schedule it got done. If there is one thing Young Susan (and sometimes Today Susan, if I am being honest) loved, it was a gold star.

Health and Fitness

By |2021-10-05T08:53:13-04:00October 5th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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