The Ego Whack-A-Mole Game

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My ego gets very confused about what’s important in life. Since ego, according the dictionary, is one’s sense of self-esteem and self-importance, ego can be a force for good in some doses, and can easily get out of control.  My ego desperately wants to look good, to be seen as smart and helpful. It really wants to be important, and is quite tied to how my hair looks. It drives me crazy with all of these concerns, confusing me about what is really important in life. It’s not all bad, though; it’s also my ego that gets me out of bed in the morning and to work on time.

But just when I think I have tamed it or tamped it down, when my ego has agreed not to get attached to something, like the number of likes on a post or a job title, it immediately pops up somewhere else, circling around in a new disguise.  It gets self-congratulatory about how enlightened it is. It gets attached to accomplishment, even when it comes to meditation (ironic, I know).  It gets self-congratulatory about how enlightened it is.

It feels like a never-ending whack-a-mole game: it’s just you playing yourself, for eternity. (read more…)

My 12 Spouses

Kerala mural paintingI work for a small, family-owned business that, for many years, was run by a father and his son. They had a loving and close relationship, but would occasionally get into terrifically loud, heated shouting matches in the office. This made everyone else fidgety and awkward, and whenever it happened, my colleagues and I would half-joke that our parents were fighting. While the rest of us who work at the company are not related, my coworkers really do feel like family members, people I’ve come to love because of our relationship – and disagree with hotly sometimes, just like I do with my husband.  (read more…)

😁🐳🎉🐼💝, aka, Management With Emoji

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Last summer, I learned a secret to managing millennials. After years of pleading for better communication from them, I accidentally stumbled upon a language we have in common: emojis.

As the program director of a regional junior sailing program, I’ve been working with and managing college and high-school aged employees for over a decade. I oversee 40 sailing instructors and 20 sailing courses over ten intense summer weeks. I love the work, especially being a manager; I thrive on creating an environment that’s enjoyable for both our students and instructors alike. 

As rewarding as management is, it can also be extremely challenging. Most of the people I supervise are in high school and college, and due to the nature of the work, we need to be in touch all day long, often by text. This is where communication began to break down in recent years. If I sent a text to an instructor asking them to do something and didn’t get a response, I had to assume the message had not been received. If it was something time-sensitive, it meant I had to send the text again. Or call. Or email. Or call the manager and ask for the message to be delivered in person. It was annoying and a big waste of time. (read more…)

How to Overcome FOMO

You may know FOMO, or fear of missing out. It’s that feeling you get when a friend suggests that you take a trapeze class. It sounds horrible to you and you dread going, but you don’t want everyone else to do it without you and the fear of missing out wins over your fear of falling off the trapeze.

fomo fear (read more…)

Does Your Greatest Strength Reveal Your Biggest Weakness?

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It’s a typical Sunday when my boyfriend is happy to relax and laze about in the hammock in my back patio — and I join him for about 15 minutes before I get restless and ask what we’re going to do next. This ability to easily relax and enjoy leisure is what I call his “vacation brain.” Very little upsets him; he is generally calm and almost never defensive. There is a flipside to this enviable quality, though. His relaxed demeanor means a certain detachment. He prefers to avoid difficult things and easily puts them out of mind (sometimes to my annoyance).

These opposing traits are two sides of the same coin, or, what I think of as a Janus face.  Janus is the Roman god of motion and transitions. Since these concepts are complementary in nature – starting one thing means ending another, arriving in one place requires leaving somewhere else — Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, one looking to the future, and one to the past. Similarly, our greatest strengths are typically the inverse of our biggest weaknesses. (read more…)