Seven challenges I encountered over the past two weeks
And a bit on how I (tried to) overcome them
Over the years, one of the things that has grounded me the most when it comes to imposter syndrome is remembering that people who seem to have it all figured out still have their fair share of doubts, challenges, and fears. As such, I’m also a big proponent of being open about the things that I find hard.
The past two weeks have stretched me pretty thin, from lots of family commitments to trips and a busy time at work, and I haven’t had time to deeply reflect on any particular topics for the newsletter. Instead of a long-form post, here’s a list of challenges that have been on my mind over the past few days and how I’ve tried to overcome them:
Logging off at the end of the workday and being comfortable leaving certain things unanswered for tomorrow. Sometimes when my daytime routine is a bit broken up and I didn’t get to spend as much time on work during the day, I use the evening hours to get ahead on things that fell through the cracks or high urgency small scattered tasks that just need to be addressed. However, this primes me to err on the side of responsive even after hours, and I know that there are times when this is not necessary. I’ve been trying to draw better boundaries on the days where I think it’s better for me to end my work day at a clear cut time. Usually it helps to keep my laptop shut and avoid opening Slack on my phone, because I find that once the laptop is open, all bets are off.
Finding my voice in interviews, when I have to interrupt or cut off candidates to keep them on schedule. It’s never comfortable, no matter how often I have to do it. I do always lay this out at the start of an interview, when I give the candidate the agenda for our time together. I’ll usually say something to the effect of, “Just so you know, in order to keep us on schedule, I might jump in to interrupt you or cut you off. This will also ensure that we also have time for you to ask us any questions you have at the end of our interview.”
Enforcing a process that the team has agreed upon, when someone else (who has more experience than I do) goes rogue and disregards the process. I have gotten feedback in the past to be more flexible around processes and how we operate, and a large part of processing that feedback was figuring out the right time and place for enforcing process vs letting things be more freeform. I’ve encountered a few situations this week where I’ve had to be the police and remind others to stick to an agreed-upon process. I try to remind myself that this is important to do when the process helps us avoid bias or drive a more equitable decision.
Learning to be comfortable in new social environments. The most recent one was a SoulCycle class! In large part, I’ve spent some time exploring different exercise classes because it’s a good conversation topic that allows me to connect to others with whom I may have less in common. (Remember my post about learning how to get a manicure? Kind of a similar vibe.) That said, I still find exercise classes somewhat discomfiting and I find that I constantly remind myself that no one else is there to just stare at me, it’s okay if I don’t follow 100% of what the instructor is suggesting, and I probably don’t look as confused or as silly as I feel, and even if I do, again, no one is there staring at me.
Figuring out when to eat lunch when I have a ton of meetings back to back. This one touches on a topic that I might dive into deeper in a future blog post – where I constantly have to remind myself to give myself more breathing room and lower the bar that I set for myself. I have to remember that I can lean on others and ask them for help when I need it – whether it’s splitting the chores with my husband or asking for a few minutes back between meetings to eat my lunch.
Being properly present in all of my meetings and interactions with people, when I know there’s a million other things that I need to do. I struggle a lot with the feeling of wanting to get a head start on my to do list and getting distracted from being fully present. I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed by my to do list over the last few weeks and I haven’t found the best solution for overcoming this anxiety, other than reminding myself that splitting my attention likely leads to worse outcomes for everything I’m trying to do.
Pushing back with a customer at work, even though we’re behind schedule due to a delay on the customer’s part. This is one where I try to remind myself of my newsletter/blog title, and I make sure not to apologize for anything that isn’t my responsibility. I’m working on finding the best tone to be matter-of-fact, empathetic, but also still clear and definitive.
All in all, I’m curious if any of these resonate. And if they do, I’d love to hear what you do to tackle these sorts of challenges.
I’m all ears if there are specific topics you’re looking for me to cover in the future weeks, and thanks for reading as always!
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