Empowering Women

The Reality of Routines

We all have routines in our daily lives – they serve to provide us with structure and framework for managing our work and personal life. It is interesting how engrained one’s routines become over time. The impact of loss can affect routines in so many obvious ways but also in some ways that are much more subtle.

The week of August 6th was to be a week busy with travel for work for me for employee roadshows. Given the tragic circumstances and series of events, those sessions (along with many other work related events) needed to be cancelled.

Those employee roadshows were rescheduled for mid-September. They were on top of my list of priorities. As I approached the week, I ensured I was ready for the meetings – the conversations that I was going to have and was confident in the flow and structure of those meetings. I have a routine to prepare for presentations; employee meetings and leadership reviews.

What I didn’t realize until later that week prior to the meetings was how I was going to handle my “routine of travel”. For the past five years my husband drove me to the airport and picked me up from the airport pretty much every time I travelled. So my first challenge was how to manage going to and from the airport – sounds silly I realize but Mark was my routine for airport travel. I didn’t want to do that “different” but I had to think about how to change the routine. Mark and I also had a routine where I would text him when I got through security; boarded the plane; and landed. He wasn’t going to be there for me to text.

In a state of grief and through the grieving process – simple things like a familiar structure or routine can be almost unbearable to walk through – even simple things like business travel. At first I panicked but then in true Leslie fashion I created a plan that would suit me – not a plan I wanted, not a plan that I was sure would even work for me. I enlisted my son and his girlfriend to drive me to and from the airport. They were thrilled to help. I enlisted my sister and daughter to be my travel texting partners. They too were happy to support and help.

The travel process was different – not what I wanted and not what I want but I have no other choice. This is one of many new routines I need to build for myself. I am proud of myself that I made it through this “first” and created a plan to manage through the painful heartache a simple routine of life can present when you lose a loved one. 

 

Empowering Women

What Truly Matters

What truly matters?I think we all instinctively know what matters most. Sharing my observations over the past few weeks of moments that don’t truly matter:

  • A flight delayed by 30 minutes. While it is frustrating and could potentially have you miss a connecting flight or be late for a meeting, it’s only a delay in a flight. Likely for a good reason (safety).
  • A long line at the grocery store. Again, while somewhat annoying – a good opportunity to read a part of a magazine while you wait.
  • Traffic. Always an annoyance – but a good time to turn the radio on to some good tunes and literally go with the flow of the situation.
  • Working on a project with a tight deadline – putting in an 18 hour day vs. asking for an extension. What have you got to lose by asking? Worst case scenario: the answer is no and you work that 18 hours. Best case scenario: you get the extension, you get some rest and likely do a better quality job on that project!

Life is short – the moments that matter are those with family and friends. It’s easier said than done but inhaling and exhaling and putting things into perspective is good for your mind, your emotional well-being, and the quality of living.

Empowering Women

Flip the Switch

It’s been a month – the absolute worst month of my life. Getting through the day can be exhausting and I am operating in a fog on most days. It is frustrating. I want to operate at full capacity. I want to think straight. I can’t get out of my own way.
It is even more frustrating at work – I feel like I am about 95%. People say I am doing fine but I know what I am capable of and I know what I am not doing as I did before. It frustrates me.

I have an amazing executive and life coach in my life who shared with me some great coaching tips last week:

1. Don’t set an example for yourself that you can’t meet going forward. 

2. Celebrate what you are able to accomplish vs. what you feel you aren’t accomplishing. 

Great advice (as always)! I am flipping the switch! So instead of getting frustrated with myself for not being able to get in the office before 8am, I will celebrate getting into the office at 8:30. Instead of getting frustrated that I am not doing work from home in the evenings as I did prior, I will celebrate my ability to delegate, creating some much needed work-life balance, and checking my emails for outage restoration.

I’m doing the best that I can – trying to be the best employee, colleague, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and person in the world. It’s not always easy and please know that I am doing my best each day, even if it is not the way I used to operate. I live a life according to “before” the tragedy and “after” the tragedy. I am not the same person, nor should I be. Be patient. Be kind. Be mindful. The journey is long.

Challenges, Empowering Women, Family, Work/Life Balance, Working Women

Going Back to Work

How do you decide? What are the “rules”? What are the company policies?

I knew I needed to return to work – I needed the normalcy that work and the structure provided me. I needed the distraction. My husband’s service was on the 10th and I was then distracted with grief counselors, finding a support group, meeting with my financial advisor and going through paperwork, will, trust, and insurance forms. That carried me through a few days. I then began toying with going back to work. Caring family, friends, and co-workers thought perhaps it was too soon. I know myself and I knew if I waited any longer I might not be able to go back…..at all.

Like I do in all situations – I created a plan. One that would work for me and it gave me some sense of being in control – when nothing else in my life was in any sort of control. I proactively shared my plan with my leader and my HR leader for alignment. I got full support of my plan – and encouragement to not try and do too much too soon. (For those who know me this is comical and the rest of the story here is in typical Leslie fashion).

I returned to work on Thursday August 17th – I worked a couple of hours in the morning to get through the start of the day and then left for appointments and came back to work an hour or so at the end of the day. This was designed to get through a beginning of day and end of day experience. The next day I worked 5 hours straight (from 9-2) in order to see how my “work stamina” would be for a 5 hour workday run. The first day was cleaning out emails and reorganizing my calendar. The second day I scheduled two calls and listened in to 3 others to get caught up vs. active participation.

One of the things I did immediately was to do what I typically do – walk by people’s office to say good morning and hello. I also ensured I said hi and connected as people walked by my office. I did not want anyone to feel uncomfortable or strange around me. It helped them, it helped me.

The following Monday, my intention was to work until 3 and go home and take calls from home. I had a large break of time where I was making some phone calls and decided to do so at the office and take my 5pm meeting in person instead of over the phone, at home as planned – BIG mistake! I still have no idea what was said at that meeting – my brain was in a fog and my capacity to absorb anything was shot.

My work days are not what they used to be – I am trying to be kind to myself. I am taking each day as it comes. Some days I am in the office by 8, somedays by 9. Some days I leave by 4, some days at 5. I don’t do work much at night anymore. In fact I have only done so once. My team that I work with have been amazing – they are so smart, so focused, and great leaders. I am blessed.

My days are still interweaved with appointments, lawyers, wills, insurance, grief counselors – I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot. But I have support to help me through some of the decisions that have had to be made and that has been meaningful and helpful.

I am getting through – one day at a time. Not sure what next week will bring but I do know that there are better moments. Work helps for certain. I am grateful for the career I have and the work I do at Comcast.