5 ways mental slowness is less of a problem

Source: http://www.braininjury-explanation.com/unseen-consequenses-of-brain-injury/brain-injury-and-cognition

For the past month or so, I’ve been feeling mentally slower than I’d like. Almost as though I was wading through mud. I tried explaining it to my neuropsych, but I didn’t do a very good job of it.

This week, though, things have seemingly lifted off me. And while I’m not feeling 100%, per se, I’m not feeling as burdened by my slowness as I was before.

First, I’m not feeling as slow as I was a few weeks back.

I started exercising again. That might have something to do with it. Either it’s getting my mind off things, or I’m genuinely feeling healthier. I think it’s the latter. In addition to not feeling as slow I as I was… I’m also feeling comparatively sharper than a lot of people around me. I’ve been watching others around me, and they are not holding up very well. So, I know it’s not just me. And that makes me feel a lot less self-conscious.

Second, I’ve got too much going on, to notice how slowed down I am.

I am doing so much that’s new for me, these days — or that is a combination of old things that are showing up in new ways, that I almost have no way of knowing if I’m actually thinking more slowly than usual, or if I’m just taking my time to make sure I don’t miss anything.

Third, I realize that my old “need for speed” was pretty much of an illusion.

I had it in my head that I needed to be going 500 mph all the time, when in fact “haste makes waste” and I was bumbling all over the place, screwing up, messing things up so royally that I was constantly scrambling to catch up. I wasn’t necessarily operating at a higher speed, I was having to back-track and retrace my steps a whole lot, which had me in a frenzied panic state, a lot of time. I thought it was speed, but it really wasn’t.

Fourth, I’ve realized that while my processing speed may be slower than it used to be, that has its advantages – namely, that I can slow down to sift through more information.

I’m 10 years older than I was when I had my last TBI. And a whole lot has happened to me, since that time. I’ve been through a lot of upheaval and struggle, and I’ve had some big wins and losses along the way. I now have more “data” to sift through in my head, and that means it’s going to take me longer to put things in order and make sense of them. Even if I’d never gotten clunked on the head along the way, I would still need more time to parse through everything and make sense out of it.

Fifth, I may feel slow today, but I am pretty sure that can change.

I haven’t been sleeping as well as I should, and I know that has an effect. It’s also been a long winter, and I’m foggy and dull. I have seen my mental performance turn around in the past, and with the right hygiene and exercise and just getting all the gunk out, I know from past experience that that can have a positive effect on me.

I’ll just keep trying. Everything changes, and this can get better. I just need to keep a positive attitude, use my head, not be stupid about my sleeping habits, and do the best I can each day.

Somehow, it works out.

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Not giving in

Ha – just try me 😉

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about my processing speed. I’ve been feeling dull and stupid — probably because of my new job that has me sitting on the sidelines and training, before I dive in — and I’m not putting 2 and 2 together quite as well as I’d like.

At least, not yet.

I know I’ve only been on the job three weeks, but I feel like I should be more coherent. I’m having a lot of trouble expressing myself, and I have to really think about what I’m going to say before I say it. I’ve been looking around online to find sites that can teach me how to organize my thoughts. This is getting on my nerves, and I’m starting to get a complex about it. I want to be in the flow, getting live experience… but they have me sidelined, just watching, as though that’s going to help anything.

I know I’m not the only one who’s feeling this. The other two folks who joined when I did are also feeling sidelined and underutilized. We all want to get going and make things happen, and we don’t have that opportunity just yet. We have to learn by doing, but everyone is so afraid of making a mistake, we can’t move forward.

Argh!

My processing speed, as I mentioned, is really troubling me. I know I have a lot of new information I need to integrate and learn to use. So, I need to cut myself a break, relax and recuperate, and give myself time to breathe and settle in. I’m doing that this weekend, occupying my attention with things other than work, relaxing, taking it easy, getting some exercise (which really helps), and checking in with myself about what matters most to me in my life.

I just need to trust the whole process and know that in time I will learn, things will make sense to me, and I’ll have sufficient experience to draw on to make the right decisions about the right things. I need to keep my spirits up, not let on how dejected I get, and keep positive, no matter what. The people around me at work are typical Americans — they need me to be positive and up-beat and can-do, use all the catch-phrases and industry jargon. There’s no room for realism and acknowledging human limits as just part of everyday life. That’s just depressing! And it’s not how Americans are supposed to believe and behave!  At least, not the overachieving top performers that they all aspire to be.

One of the things that makes this job more challenging than need be, is that everyone there is convinced that their company is special and unique and totally unlike anything else on the planet. Silly. They remind me of plenty of other companies I’ve worked for — and they start to squirm when I say so.

I suppose having that sense that they’re unlike any other company helps with fostering a sense of community and “tribe”. Us against them. All that. The thing is, they’re not really that essentially different from other companies. They have their way of doing things, which is just a learned thing. And they have their specific “pain points” that they need to deal with. They design and produce technology. They’re very successful at it, but really, they’re in the same business as countless other technology companies, and they can simply get over themselves, as far as I’m concerned.

Well, fortunately I’ve got two more days before I go back to work AND I only have to work 8 hours a day, this coming week, instead of 10-11. So there. I’m expecting to work longer hours a couple more times in the next month, but then again, maybe I don’t need to work ALL those extra hours. Doing the 10-hr thing gets old. I did it before – for years – and it’s a relief to not have to do it.

Plus, what a huge deal, to get to have an hour or two in the morning to work on my own projects, before going into the office. And getting home at a decent hour… Truly awesome.

So, maybe I put in an extra hour or two, when I have to take time off. Maybe I don’t. Either way, I need to just do what I need to do, to keep my system balanced out. Just relax. And not give in to the anxiety and neurosis. Just let myself be. And be done with it.

I was getting a little peeved at a coworker who’s supposed to be training me. Rather than training me, they’re avoiding me, and they have not been inclusive at all. It’s a little annoying. They think they’re just supposed to be my “buddy” and answer questions when I have them. But our boss says I’m supposed to shadow them. I’m not keen on making a nuisance of myself, but I do need to get trained, and I do need to shadow them. They’re not inviting me to the meetings they should be. They’re actually cutting me out. So, I need our boss to clarify and make sure everyone is clear about what needs to happen.

It’s almost like they just want me to go away, which doesn’t make any sense, because they’re overworked and they need the help. I’m not going to be any use, if they don’t make the effort to train me.

But I can’t give in to paranoia. They don’t even know me yet, and a lot of people don’t think much of me when they meet me the first time. They just don’t realize what I can do, what I’m capable of achieving — and how it benefits them. I’ve got to give it time. Most people I work closely with develop issues with me until they get to know me, so I’ll just need to keep steady and let them sort out their own personal problems.

They’re not my problems.

So, that being said, I’ve had enough of thinking about that person and the situation. The weather is clearing, and I’m going to the beach later today. I’ve got some excellent reading and writing slated for this morning — I’ve gotten some great ideas from a book I’m reading… and I’m writing something to go along with it, to help me understand my own viewpoint on the subject.

It’s all in the spirit of kick-starting my brain and getting myself back into the groove of critical thinking and organizing my thoughts more clearly. Much of what I’m writing these days — aside from this blog — is personal and private and I’m not sharing much of it with anyone. I do share some of it with my spouse, and if they understand it then I know I’m on the right track, because they don’t get caught up in all the mental gymnastics that go along with intellectualizing and what-not.

So, it’s all good. I’m getting good rest and taking care of myself and easing off on the anxiety about my performance at work. For the first time in probably ever, I feel like I’m really at the right place in my life at this time — and I’m right where I always dreamed I would be, at this point in my life.

I just realized that the other day — I’m actually right where I wanted to find myself, on down the line. I’m at a place that I envisioned for myself, when I was a kid mixing up home-grown chemistry experiments in my basement, and recording the results in a composition book (note to self: I really need to find that old chemistry experiment notebook – it’s in storage somewhere). I’ve got a study of my own, with books I love and can turn to. I have a desk with a great view of my back yard, and I have the time in the day and week to really dig in and tease out the things that fascinate me. I have room to move and explore, and I’m not tied down by any licensing body or regulatory commission that’s going to stop me from pushing the limits of my understanding.

It’s all good. I was lost for a long time, dealing with life and all the challenges that came with health issues, money issues, family issues, relationship dramas, and so forth. I’ve been through a ton of sh*t that a lot of people never encounter till later. And while I might not have it all figured out, I have sufficient experience to know how to begin approaching the Big Problems of my life.

It’s all good. It truly is.

Now, onward….

Gearing Up for Change

Time to move to a new fishbowl.

I have another two days before I give notice at my current job. The whole weekend. Typically, I am very happy to have the weekend, and it seems all too short, but this time, I am really looking forward to Monday morning, when I can give my notice.

They’re not going to take it well, I’m sure. The department is short-staffed, as it is — and me leaving is going to leave a massive hole in the organization. I’m not being egotistical — I have been doing the work of 2-3 people for years, and they have just let things go, assuming I would take care of everything. All the time.

One of the big reasons I am leaving, is my belief that if you don’t have adequate staff to do all the work, how serious can you really be about success and high performance? I am very serious about success and performing at a very high level — which is one of the reasons my TBI issues have been so excruciating. I need to be at my best, always learning, always growing. I also need to work for a company that is serious about performance and success, and is willing to do what’s necessary to keep high performers at their peak.

I need to work for a company that does things very, very differently from my current company. Everyone is just in it for themselves, climbing over everyone else to get where they are going. How pointless. I’m sure that there will be some people like that at the company I’m going to. The magical part is, I’m going to this new company on a long-term contract, so I’m not locked into the politics and organizational dysfunction. I just want to go to work each day, do my best, and NOT have to worry about what saying such-and-such to so-and-so is going to mean for my long-term career prospects.

Seriously. I just need to go to work, kick it, and go home at the end of the day with my work finished. No more getting up at 5 a.m. to make international conference calls. No more staying up till 10:00 at night, troubleshooting issues with colleagues on the other side of the planet. I have hung in there as long as humanly possible, and I have really enjoyed working with a lot of the folks, both at home and abroad. But enough is enough. I need to catch up on my sleep, my reading, and my life.

I counted the number of hours I have lost, over the past 2.75 years of the longer commute — it comes out to about 600 hours that have been wasted — over and above my original commute time, which was 20-25 minutes, tops. Driving half an hour longer, each way, each day, and never being able to get home till after 7:30 p.m…. to eat dinner at 8:30 or 9:00 — that’s not good. It’s not good for my health, it’s not good for my spouse’s health, and it’s certainly not good for my sleeping schedule. It’s a little tough to get to sleep before 10:00 p.m. when you’ve eaten dinner less than an hour ago.

Yet more issues that will be solved with this new position.

Which is why I can hardly wait till Monday. Part of me wants to email my manager and tell them this weekend, but in fact their manager (who is a bully who threatened my teammate who left several months ago) is flying away on a trip on Monday, so if I time it properly, I can give notice without the bully being in the building. I’m not afraid of them, I just want this to be a clean break and stay positive and not get into kicking up dust and muck, just to get the hell out of there.

So, I’m trying to keep a level head, chill out, and rehearse my resignation. I’ve got the letter written up, and I’ve identified the key points I’ll bring up, when people challenge me about my decision. I expect that they will. And I really don’t want to get heavy with them. They don’t want that. I need to really manage my “state” this weekend, keep cool and calm and collected. Keep myself busy doing engaging things — juggling, dual n-back training — and also getting plenty of rest.

I’m both energized and exhausted, and I need to keep myself in good shape, while I can, so I can handle this transition smoothly.

Will they try to stop me? Perhaps. But there is really never going to be a good time for me to go, so they might as well cut their losses, figure out how to transition my work to someone else, and just let the next two weeks pass without any more upheaval and drama than necessary. If they push it, I will go to HR and raise a stink. And I certainly am NOT going to discuss my situation with the bully in charge without another person in the room. I will put that in writing, if I have to. I will go public with things, if I have to.

I just don’t want it to come to that.

So, I’m all jazzed up and juiced. I’ve got ample adrenaline coursing through my veins, and my senses are all on high alert. The ringing in my ears is deafening, and my stomach is in knots. That’s par for the course with a high-pressure situation — which might mean I’m making this into a bigger deal than I should. But I know that people are going to kind of freak out when I give my notice… Who else will do the work?

That’s not my concern, to be sure. I will do my best to transition the work from myself to someone else of their choosing… keep a level head and an even keel, and just keep plugging away. I don’t want to process it all with everyone I work with, I don’t want to get into all the drama with folks who are staying on, I don’t want to spend endless hours discussing my choice, etc., etc.

So, I made up a sign to hang on my cubicle to explain to people that I cannot talk during office hours — as well as when and how they can reach me, if they do want to process the situation.

I’ll do the best I can to do right by these folks — ironic, considering they haven’t exactly bent over backwards to make sure they did right by me. Whatever we all do, it’s on us. We reap what we sow, and I don’t want to sow anything I don’t eventually want to reap.

That all being said, my main goal for the next 48 hours is to remain calm, to keep my fight-flight from taking over, and focus on the here-and-now, not what may or may not come to be.

The weekend is waiting.

Onward.

Clearing the decks

All set and ready to sail

So, yesterday I got thrown a curve ball. Apparently some low-level managers (including my own) are having some conflict issues, and they’re “jumping on it” to “escalate” the situation and address this awful situation.

Basically, the underlying problem is that the people involved (including me) are intensely overworked, with limited resources, and a lot of folks are wearing thin. The overworked people in the other group love to vent, and one of the many things they were venting about was me.

But rather than stopping and asking what the real cause of all of this is, and addressing things at their root level, our managers have decided to “raise the issue” amongst themselves and kick up even more dust.

Stupid. And incredibly distracting. And all this is happening yesterday, while I’m working non-stop trying to get critical things done. I swear, I do NOT have time to hold someone’s hand while they learn the ropes. My temporary direct manager, who is frankly young enough to be my child, considers me to be a friend, but they’ve become increasingly problematic and high-maintenance. And frankly, the newfound power they have inherited because they are friends with the new uber-boss is seriously going to their head.

Sad. I think it’s time I unfriended them on Facebook. I just don’t trust them anymore. And I need to focus on the most critical aspects of my day, rather than populating my experience with distractions and empty entertainment.

To that end — clearing away all the distractions from my life in an extended spring cleaning, I have cleared off the majority of crap from my desk, including a big-ass plant that’s been growing like crazy for the past two years. I cleared a huge space yesterday, and it actually felt really good to do it. Today I will clear the other half of it, and only have the things in my workspace that actually have anything to do with work. That means taking away the art, taking away the pictures, the toys, everything that might distract me from what I am doing. I know people thought I was quitting yesterday, when I removed most things that had any sign of individuality, and it made people nervous. But I have so much to do, and I have so little time to do it in, I just have to make room for that, buckle down, and git ‘er done.

So, I shall.

The thing that burns me about my situation at work is that I can do better than I am. I know I can, and getting reprimanded by amateurs just infuriates me. It’s just too much. I am capable of so doing much better, and I’m surrounded by people far junior to myself, who have more power and influence than I — because the people running the show have less experience than I, as well, so they relate to the newbies… and they don’t know any better — so my whole experience is one of dealing with the incredibly poor decisions of others. And it’s a massive time and energy sink.

So, I’m clearing the decks of everything that is pointless and stupid and inferior to what I want in my life, and I’m focusing on bringing my own experience and activities into line with what I’m truly capable of. Moving things out of the way so people can sit down and work with me…. Removing objects that just take my attention away from my work…. Dispensing with the illusion that there is anything humanizing about my work environment, and stopping trying to improve the circumstances with little band-aids over a gaping wound of stupidity and ignorance….

I’m just tired of pretending that the emperor has any clothes on, and I just want to kick it and do some serious work, already.

Enough frittering. Enough dilly-dallying. Enough lollygagging around, dawdling, and mooning over this and that and whatever. It’s time to shift into all-wheel-drive and cover some terrain. Have laser focus on what I want and what I need to do, and screen out everything else that stands in the way.

That being said, gotta run and get ready for work.

The day is waiting. Onward…

Being brilliant everyday

I love YouTube. I found this the other day and really got a lot out of it. It’s also a good summary of some of the information that’s really turned my life around — neuroscience, breathing, fight-flight, relaxing, thinking, self-awareness, performance… all nicely summed up and good food for thought.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06YIWCR2Js%5D [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_fFattg8N0%5D

From entity learner to incremental learner

If you know what this is, you win a prize

I’ve been reading The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, and (no surprises) I’ve been learning a lot. Waitzkin was a top-ranked chess player as a kid and young adult (he was the subject of the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer”), then he moved on to the Tai Chi Chuan Push Hands martial art and became a national champion in that arena.

His revelation about his amazing success has been this — it’s not that he has innate talent either as a chess player or as a Tai Chi fighter, rather that he is exceptionally good at learning. And his approach to learning has enabled him to master not one but two highly demanding and competitive arenas. He’s even beaten Tai Chi opponents 50 pounds heavier than him — with his right hand broken.

Reading his book and learning about his approach – start slowly, master good form, then practice, practice, practice and use your losses as lessons – I can see a lot of similarities between his mastery of chess and Tai Chi and my own recovery from multiple TBIs. While in some areas (being able to put things together and come up with creative solutions) I have tested above average, on the whole I’d have to say I’m a regular person with more than my fair share of limitations. And defeats. And disappointments.

The thing is — and I’m realizing this now — all those limitations have been opportunities to learn and grow, and even if they don’t go away (I’ve had recurring headaches like I used to, for the past couple of weeks, some of them sickening and seriously numbing), the other areas I develop to compensate actually serve to put me out in front of where I might be, if everything were going well for me 100% of the time.

See, here’s the thing – we all have our “uneven” attributes. We don’t all come into this world with all our faculties 100% intact and 100% engaged. Life takes a lot of out of us, and we develop patterns and approaches that specialize in us developing certain aspects of ourselves and ignoring others, sometimes to the detriment of our overall happiness and ability to function and enjoy life. In many ways, a lot of us actually cripple ourselves in some ways, in the interest of strengthening ourselves in others. We use one side of our bodies predominantly, and the other side becomes weaker. We focus on work, to the detriment of our families. Or we focus on enjoying our lives to the detriment of our work. Workaholic or ski bum… rightie or leftie… and we end up with these uneven, asymmetrical lives that have considerable rewards on one hand, but on the other are dessicated and hollow.

And sometimes the only thing that snaps us out of that one-sided focus is when our dominant or masterful side is injured or damaged.

Then we are presented with several choices:

  1. We can bemoan our fate and struggle and fight to keep things exactly as they were, by doing things exactly as we always have done… and possibly end up defeated and depleted and depressed.
  2. We can “accept our limitations” and get used to having less of a life than we’d hoped for.
  3. We can accept that life has thrown us a curve, and that things have turned out different… we’ve turned out different… and then we can set about finding the new ways and new strengths we can develop in order to get where we’re going.
  4. We can hire someone to do everything for us.
  5. We can pretend everything is fine, fudge our way through life, and battle the demons of “impostor syndrome” and a constant fear of being found out, while seeking out more and more ways to present the person we want to look like, while launching offensives against anyone who might expose us.
  6. We can give up completely on the hope that things might ever get better and careen through life as “adventure seekers” without a care or consideration for anything of substance, while secretly believing a daredevil life is the best we can ever hope for.
  7. We can tell ourselves that we’re so damaged that the best we can hope for is mediocrity. And that’s that.

Choices, choices. I’m sure there are more, but right now let’s work with the above collection.

I think personally I’ve progressed from 1 to 2 to 3 — and 3 is where I am now and it’s where I intend to stay. The way I got to 3, is by going from being an entity learner to an incremental learner. And entity learner is someone who gets things quickly, who masters certain tasks and concepts quickly, without much effort, while struggling with other things. They’re the kind of person who needs to “get it” all at once, not one step at a time. And if they have to work at it, piece by piece, they feel stupid and slow and don’t stick it out.

It’s all or nothing with an entity learner.

An incremental learner, on the other hand, takes things one step at a time. They start slow and then as they master one element after another, they grow and build mastery. They don’t see a challenge as a thing to overcome in one fell swoop, rather as an opportunity to learn. And they never stop learning.

I think of the difference between entity learners and incremental learners like the difference between people who “learn computers” and people who learn to type. People who “learn computers” are often easily intimidated when things don’t turn out right. They click a button, and something different happens than they expected. They click a link, and the web page does something they didn’t anticipate. They can get intimidated and give up easily. I have lots of friends who do this — they seem to have this idea in their minds that computers should “just work” and when they don’t “cooperate” they throw up their hands and dismiss the whole experience as defeating.

On the other hand, learning to type is an exercise in dull repetition of proper form. I learned to type in high school back in the dark ages, when we still had electric typewriters (remember the old IBM Selectrics with the type ball?) and it was probably the most boring-ass class I’d ever had. The most fun I had in it was sitting behind a guy who I partied with, who had about 1,000 well-thought-out reasons why Jimmy Paige was the best guitarist of all time. I heard about 578 of those reasons in that class, when I wasn’t hammering out a-s-d-f a-s-d-f a-s-d-f a-s-d-f a-s-d-f a-s-d-f a-s-d-f hour after ever-loving hour. But you know what? That dull repetition paid off, and when it came time to learn to use computers and code and what-not, the speed and technique with which I’d learned to type made all the difference in my basic ability to function. And that’s translated to steady work over the years.

Clearly, that incremental learning has paid off big-time.

Those same lessons of incremental learning now apply to my TBI recovery. When your brain is injured, you literally need to become an incremental learner all over again. You can’t get stuck in the old beliefs about being able to do a lot of the things you used to do, easily, simply, without effort. TBI recovery is very much an incremental learning process, with each person needing to attend to different aspects of their own functionality to:

  1. Identify issues and weaknesses in everyday things that don’t work anymore
  2. Identify better/different ways of approaching those everyday things
  3. Find the “movements” or approaches that work (in slow motion)
  4. Practice those movements to train the brain and the body to perform these new movements with increasing ability
  5. Continuously reflect and examine the way things are going, to make corrections and fine new ways, if the ones you’re working with aren’t very productive

I truly believe that not being able to switch modes to incremental learner is what trips up so many TBI survivors. After all, there are many things we don’t even realize are messed up. So having decent feedback helps. It’s critical, in fact. I was fortunate enough to have checked my bank statements (for their own sort of feedback) at a time when my cognitive/behavioral issues (e.g., impulsiveness and cluelessness) were causing me to hemorrhage money. Those bank statements were clear feedback that something was amiss — Where’s all my money?

Likewise, working with my NP has been a regular source of feedback. My spouse has unfortunately not been very helpful, because they have set expectations of me (once high, now low) and when I do something unexpected, their feedback tends to be “entity-based” — either I nailed it, or I’m a loser. They have their own issues, and I can see that entity learner approach really holding them back in so many ways. But if someone isn’t 100% convinced that they have a right to 100% excellence, it’s tough to have constructive conversations about growth with them.

Well, never mind that. The point I’m trying to make is that when you’re an adult and you’ve got the hang of living life a certain way, then TBI comes along and mucks it all up, it can be easy to fall into entity learner paralysis. That’s what happened with me, and I also developed a healthy dose of learned helplessness. Because apparently I couldn’t do anything right, anymore.

But if you approach things as an incremental learner, which I have been working at, thanks to my NP and Give Back and all the TBI and human performance bloggers I follow, it totally turns things around, and rather than slips being catastrophes, they become lessons… investments in the future, provided I take the time to learn about them.

I’m still working on being open to those lessons. I’m still working on not getting too rigid with my expectations and outcomes. It’s a process which is not made easier by TBI or fatigue or any of the other sensory issues I encounter on a daily basis. But with incremental learning, that’s perfectly fine. Because with difficulty comes growth, and with practice comes mastery of one kind or another.

The main thing is to keep going, keep learning, and use each and every situation as fuel for the fire that burns with you and keeps you moving forward… backwards… side to side… and then forward again.

 

Secret to Success = Rest

What secret to peak performance can we learn from Michael Jordan?

Want to be like Mike?

Josh Waitzkin has become a grandmaster in both chess (the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer was about his childhood) and Tai Chi. He realized his gift wasn’t greatness in any discipline, his gift was an amazing ability to learn.

In his book The Art of Learning, he discusses one of the key elements that pro athletes like Jordan use to perform at their peak: spontaneous relaxation.

“…one of the most telling features of a dominant performer is the routine use of recovery periods.”

The pros are able to fully relax during the briefest periods of rest. This prevents them from burning out during hours of play.

Via The Art of Learning:

The physiologists at LGE had discovered that in virtually every discipline, one of the most telling features of a dominant performer is the routine use of recovery periods. Players who are able to relax in brief moments of inactivity are almost always the ones who end up coming through when the game is on the line… Remember Michael Jordan sitting on the bench, a towel on his shoulders, letting it all go for a two-minute break before coming back in the game? Jordan was completely serene on the bench even though the Bulls desperately needed him on the court. He had the fastest recovery time of any athlete I’ve ever seen.

How can you learn to relax like this?

Read the full post here: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/what-secret-to-peak-performance-can-we-learn

Just staying strong

Present, mindful, strong

So, I went back to work yesterday, with a renewed attitude — to stay strong, to stay focused, to keep on track, and to figure out some systems for achieving my goals and satisfying requirements.

I’m using this as an opportunity to learn and refine my approach. As long as I can explain my situation and why it is how it is, and back up my decisions with sound logic — which happened yesterday. I just need to keep channels of communication open with people, and keep working towards our shared goals.

Something really clicked for me, yesterday. Rather than moping around and being all tweaked over the situation, I “suited up” for work in less casual clothing and spent the day being very “on” — on-target, on-track, just ON. It seemed to work out well. My boss appeared to expect me to be all bent out of shape about our exchange, but I wasn’t getting sucked down into that. I’ve got work to do. Life’s too short. I’ve got deadlines to meet, you know?

So, it all turned out okay. I just turned it around, myself. Didn’t get sucked into a vortex of self-doubt and recrimination and blame and all that good stuff. Just stayed steady. Took my medicine and figured out some ways to make it happen.

It’s good, too. Because I figured out some ways that I can change some things I do for the better… and create an overall positive system for myself to keep my performance up and stay steady.

So, it’s not all bad. It’s just experience. Provided I can not get derailed by all kinds of drama crap, I’ll be fine.

Just stay steady. Just stay strong.

What an awful day

You'll have this sometimes, I guess

Oh

My

God

I just had the most friggin’ awful day. Started out pretty great, with me working from home in the a.m. and getting a lot of stuff done that I had been meaning to do… then going into the office around noon, catching up on more things… and spending two hours talking to my boss about how I’m just not achieving enough. I have all these projects, but they say they’re not getting done soon enough. I haven’t had enough check-marks in the “complete” column on the spreadsheet, apparently.

Holy crap. Kick my legs out from under me, why dontcha. I’ve known that I have not been getting as much done as I would like, and I have been spread pretty thin. But I’ve been doing the things that they told me to do, and I’ve been handling a lot of different things pretty well, according to others. Plus, the work I’m doing now is far more complex and involved than what I was doing, six months ago. Like 7-10 times as complex.

It’s not like they aren’t aware of all this. They’ve told me they realize it, themselves.

Then, out of nowhere comes this. Geez. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was expecting more of a positive approach, since I actually have been very strong in a lot of areas. They just say I’m slipping. Like I’m losing my shit. Like I’m really not as good as they thought I was and I said I was. Like I’m not really as good as everybody else in the satellite offices say I am.

I just don’t know. Feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I know my boss has some issues with me – they make passing comments about me being “strange”, every now and then. Whatever. And when I approach them to talk about things, 9 times out of 10, they cross their legs and arms and sit back and become guarded.

Why? Am I really that intimidating? And here I thought I was a nice person, a team player, working hard to achieve my goals and help the company achieve theirs.

Gotta regroup. I know I’m tired, and it really blind-sided me, getting this lecture at work. Plus, I’m coming up on a year on this job, which is when things have traditionally fallen apart with me. Not again. Please, not again.

I don’t know if I have another job search in me, frankly.

Oh, screw it. Of course I do. I always do what I have to do. But the bottom line is, I don’t have to do anything. There’s no reason for me to cut and run. Not now. Not over this stupid crap. I’m just over-reacting, and I need to just get my act together, respond rationally and calmly to this, and not let it get the best of me.

I just need to get out of my funk and get on with my evening. The weather has been absolutely beautiful, lately, and it’s good to get out.

Where this all is leading me, I haven’t the faintest idea. One thing is, my employer was acquired some time back by a large multinational corporation based overseas, and they’re going to be moving several regional offices to a larger metropolitan area in the fall. I’m really looking forward to it. Getting out of the little place we’re in now with a couple hundred people, and settling in with close to 1,000 other people who are going to be sharing space with us.

Should be interesting.

I just need to hold my own till then.

Till then…