Mindful At Work

At Work.

Erin Taylor

 “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” Sharon Salzberg

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what it means to be mindful in my relationships, at work and in all areas of life. Especially during this unusual time with the pandemic, I feel as though it’s truly given us all the opportunity to hit the pause button and think about things and to take stock about where we’re choosing to put our energy.

Our new normal as of late has become one of social distancing and a lot of times, this feels quite isolating. As social creatures, it’s a natural inclination to want to surround yourself with others and given the new parameters, we must be mindful about how we do this. To me, I’ve looked to Zoom, FaceTime, phone calls, social media & texting to help me feel connected and close to those I care for.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” 
Jon Kabat-Zinn

In business, this hasn’t changed too much for me. I’m already used to working from home, as I work remotely anyway. In fact, in a lot of ways, I think it’s made my job busier than ever! For that, I’m truly grateful. So many are out of work and worrying about how to put food on the table or how to pay their bills right now and for that, I can’t even imagine the struggle so many must endure during these trying times. But, pandemic or no pandemic, I have come to realize the importance of mindfulness and shaped my own understanding and belief behind it along the way.

To me, putting mindfulness to work means that I am being honest with not only myself, but the ones around me. This means that I’m expressing my emotions and thoughts, and being aware and considerate of others feelings and processes. What does this look like to you? To be honest, before starting to work with Generon, I had never even thought of the idea that “mindfulness is a practice”.

In recent times, I actually had the opportunity to practice this in my work, as I found myself in a bit of a predicament with my mother, whom I also work with. Is it a good idea to be working with family? Many have warned me of this, saying it’s never a good idea. Yet, from my perspective, although it has it’s pros and cons like anything else, my experience with it has been extremely positive! I love working with my mom because it allows me the opportunity to talk with her more and as an executive assistant, when I can take things off her plate so that she has more time to work on other things or take a bit of a breather, that makes me feel successful in my job and also makes me feel like I’m helping out someone I love.

In many cases for me, it’s a win-win. AND, sometimes, it means things get tense, we may not agree on the execution of things, and yeah, sometimes we’re going to get pissed off with one another. And yes, this recently happened. Long story short, we just have different ways of completing tasks, and neither of those ways is better or wrong. However, in this moment, my mother sensed that I was being resistant and thought I had ulterior motives in the way I wanted to complete a task. From my perspective, I simply just had a different approach than she would have had herself, and in that moment, she got pissed off with me. At the end of our conversation that day, I left it feeling pretty hurt. I felt like I wasn’t being heard or understood at that time and I also felt as though there were projections coming from both ends. So, I decided to take some time after our call to reflect on how I wanted things to go from this point forward. I knew in that moment, I was feeling incredibly emotionally charged, and so talking with her at that moment would not be best. So, I waited a while and allowed myself to let go of some of the feelings I was experiencing and that evening, I sent her a text to basically just say, hey, I know you’re busy with a dinner meeting tonight, and I didn’t want too much time to go by before I got the opportunity to share with you how hurt I’m feeling about our conversation earlier today. And like that, as soon as I hit the send button, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”

Pema Chodron

The next time we spoke via Zoom, we talked about it first thing and came to the conclusion that COMMUNICATION IS KEY. Always. For this specific example, if one of us had just taken a moment to ask the other where they were coming from and what their intention was, we would have had an immediate sense of clarity and been able to move on without any hurt feelings. It’s easier said than done and hindsight is almost always 20/20. But this is what I want to practice. I want to show up in a space and feel like I can be heard, yes. But,  I also want those around me to feel like they have been heard. This doesn’t mean that we always have to agree, absolutely not. But, it means that we can try to understand where others are coming from, and try to meet each other where we are. We aren’t perfect, any of us. Regardless of title or status, we are all human beings with flaws and emotions, and different, varying perspectives. And at the end of the day, we want to feel like we’re part of the tribe.

So if I take anything away from that opportunity to choose mindfulness, it’s to listen to those around you, and also make sure that you’re still being true to your own beliefs and principles. Take ownership for the way you contribute to every situation and remember that no relationship, whether it be business, friendship, familial or romantic, it is always a two-way street.

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