Relational Reflections: Happy Hump Day!
Thoughts from Dr. Zan:
Have you ever been wished a happy hump day? Perhaps you are the one offering this particular greeting. Did the irony ever strike you that the happiness being wished with that phrase is actually based on the assumption that our weekdays aka work days are something to be tolerated at best. We presume that the work week is drudgery to be survived, and yet, when we were in pursuit of our careers, we were likely brimming with anticipation, enthusiasm, and joy. What happened?
Perhaps the more relevant question is what would happen if we treated each day, each encounter as a gift to be cherished? What would happen if we met the most mundane of tasks with a sense of honor that we are able to perform them with grace and ease, facilitating a brighter day for those around us? Could that shift in perspective help us to embrace our experiences (or at least be present to them) rather than grit our teeth and just get through it?
Last hump day Nadine and I had the honor of attending a networking event sponsored by Women Kick Glass (LOVE that name!) and Moet Hennessy. This inspirational evening provided a serious dose of inspiration and a powerful reminder that women (and people) who are kind and valued are not only successful but are also delighted to share their secrets for success with others at all stages of career life. The women we encountered are perfect examples of those who look at hump day as a leaping off point to elevate their experience to new heights. Every conversation felt genuinely productive but also highly connected. Productivity and connection--that is how we can choose to approach our careers and life’s mundane tasks--as opportunities to enhance our relationships and to kick a little glass! (And a huge shout out to JeanAnn Morgan for continually creating opportunities to “network with a purpose.”)
Reflections from Dr. Nadine:
As one who is currently struggling with exactly what Zan is describing, that is, facing a daily dose of tedium, sprinkled with frustration, and loaded with an overabundance of tasks, my true desire is to meet each day with grace and ease. I would love to anticipate walking into the office with a positive attitude, and to meet the “mundane” with the assurance that at the end of the day, I will have productively accomplished my work and that I’ll feel gratified by it. I really do want to match that desire to my reality.
Well, in my life, it’s probably not going to happen that way for a while. So Dr. Zan’s gentle suggestion of shifting perspective from the “gotta get it done” attitude to a more thoughtful approach to the daily grind, and focusing on a more noble understanding of our work’s purpose takes on a special importance for me. It’s the way to make meaning of the mundane, to see our obligations as more important than the actual tasks we must do. My way of coping is to look for what actually brings me joy, or what makes me smile, or what warms my heart amid the stuff I don’t really want to be doing. These may only be brief moments in my day, but mindfully focusing on those moments reminds me that life is bigger than the daily grind.
Usually those brief instances are related to working with the people around me. I enjoy tackling a task with others to productively accomplish an outcome; I am gratified when I can have mini-moments of trading personal stories with my colleagues. Being connected to others is what makes my days satisfying, and is what drew me to my career in the first place. So, to echo the theme of productivity and connection, if I can get enough of each into my daily round, I know that it’s possible to hold onto the anticipation, enthusiasm, and joy that I had at the beginning of my career. And if I can do it, so can you!