Managing March Madness

Last Thursday, I felt blasted by the fire hose of experiences and information that has become the new normal for me and for many I know. Every day, there seems to be shocking news to juggle and personal interactions to navigate, filled with fiery differences of opinions and values.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of my day—I trust you have your own well-planned days that go off the track with surprising information, additional commitments, and personal misunderstandings.

My Thursday was filled with joys and challenges. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day, just a full one. It’s not a day that I want to forget, as it was an important and meaningful day. I find myself having more and more of these kinds of days, and I think that the lessons I re-discovered on March 14, 2019 might be useful in the future. I’m going to keep them front and center in this bursting season of Spring and thought you might find them helpful as well.

Stay in the heat of the moment.

Change and transformation do not happen in the midst of the mundane. Crucible moments, and even the mild moments of change, are all about the heat, both the joy and the challenge. There were moments in my Thursday that I needed to hold the tangled emotions of a situation, as the feelings were what made the moment meaningful and significant. My role was to witness the emotion and be present with it. I listened and absorbed and tried not distract others from the moment.

Be open to multiple interpretations.

As humans, we are quick to interpret the meaning of the events around us. Our first interpretations are often the familiar ones that make us look good or feel a bit more comfortable. After listening and absorbing the heat of the moment, I gently offered additional interpretations of the situation that helped myself and others see new possibilities. I listened to the ways that others in the same moment were interpreting the meaning of the words and actions. Widening the range of interpretations widened the frame of action.

Use small moments to return to center.

I can’t stay in the heat of the moment or offer meaningful interpretations, unless I am very present in the moment. I need to be grounded and centered to be present. Over the course of the day, I found quick moments to breathe, let go, and re-center: walking in the sunshine, noticing each bite of lunch, laughing with a colleague. I used the transitions between meetings, tasks, and interactions as quick moments to return to center.

Remembering these lessons helped me navigate a challenging full day. They helped me show up as a reasonably effective version of my best self. I was able to take what have could have been an off-the-rails crazy day and make it a meaningful day with moments of learning, connection, and joy. I’m going to keep returning to these three strategies—they work for me and I suspect that in these days of uncertainty and intensity, they will continue to be useful.

What works for you? I’m always open to new ideas to incorporate in to my repertoire.

- Meredith