This week I spent my first full day on-site with a client. Leading up to it, I was excited. The day of, so much to think about! Planning drive time (1 hr each way), wondering what the front desk protocol would be like to check-in, and what it was going to feel like sitting in a conference room with other people for the first time in 15+ months. It was a great day, but I’m definitely not used to it yet. 

I had a Zoom meetup with a few coaches the following day, and we were talking about how it’s going to be such a big adjustment for us to reintroduce ourselves to working in an office. And will we choose to do that? Or will we opt out, and change our preferred mode?

We had been used to processing so many signals from others when we were doing mostly everything in person, signals that were spoken and unspoken that video conferencing can’t quite match. The clarity of certain tones, body language, expression – there’s a lot that we’re going to have to get used to again. 

I’m excited for it but also excited for what we challenge as “normal” in terms of how and where to work. We’ll see company culture play a big part in all of this. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about this too.

Here are a few things I found interesting in the last month:

  • I was introduced to Priya Parker, she wrote a book called The Art of Gathering. She had a 2-episode string with Brené Brown on the Dare to Lead podcast where they talked about How We Return and Why It Matters (1 hr), and The Meeting Makeover (1 hr). I listened to both after reading a New Yorker article on The Age of Reopening Anxiety (10 min read). Here Priya says “our social muscles have atrophied”, which is interesting to sit and think about especially when we’re considering things like “who are my people?”, and “how do I want to spend my time?”.

  • Greg McKeown, who wrote one of my favorite books, Essentialism, recently released a new book called “Effortless: Make It Easier To Do What Matters Most”. He refers to a LOT of great work, and the book is an example of Greg studying a broad spectrum of topics. One of my favorites is Greg talking about Clay Christenson’s “Jobs to be Done” theory of innovation, applied to the act of *holding a grudge against someone*. I had never heard it spun that way. “What job do we hire a grudge to do?”. It turns out there are a lot of things that grudges do for us, and those things show up for us personally and professionally. My favorite line from that chapter, adapted from a recruiting strategy he built for a firm: “Hire a grudge slowly, if at all, and fire it fast.”

  • Professionally, it can be super tough to not take things personally. Someone not loving our idea, being challenged or judged in a meeting, or feeling jabbed when we really just need to lighten up.   Frederik Imbo talks about How Not To Take Things Personally in this TED talk (17 min). He should know, he used to be a soccer referee. Stay with it to the end, the wrap-up is great.

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