Note: This is a next-day re-write, because the original post, while ambiguous and anonymous, was about something I consider sensitive.
After taiko last night, a group of us went out to eat. Afterward, I gave my classmate a ride home. I do this every time we go out to eat, partly because it makes sense given where we live, sometimes so my classmate who doesn’t drive at night can come out with us, and also because it’s a great way to get to know my classmate better.
I took a later train than the one I’d been planning to, knowing full well that the parking lot might have been full by the time we got there, so Aaron and I could carpool.
There were still a few spaces left when we arrived. Huzzah!
At my first o-daiko class in March, I remember standing with my right leg really far behind me, and my hip flexor hating me for it.
I watched a bunch of videos, studied other people’s stances, and realized I could try putting my right foot farther out to the side, but more forward.
This created an unintended consequence: My body ended up too close to the drum, and I had to lean back a lot to keep my farms far away enough to strike at an angle. My lower back hated me instead.
Last Sunday, one of my classmates (a different one from the one who commented on my wrists) noticed my exaggerated lean, and suggested I try placing my right foot farther back to create more distance between my body and the drum. It reminded me that foot placement wasn’t binary, and that I should continue to explore.
Today I placed my right foot somewhere between day one and last Sunday. I felt great! My arms ended up where they needed to be, my hip flexor whined but didn’t hate, and my lower back stopped screaming from the lean.
I am so grateful for my classmates, that they notice the little things, and care enough to give me feedback.
On my windy back roads drive home from mountain biking this afternoon, I passed by a couple ladies waving at my car. I stopped to see if they needed help.
“Sorry! We thought you were someone else!”
“All good, I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Aww, thank you so much!” Instant smiles.
It was interesting how many considerations I had to make in what amounted to a second, to decide that stopping to check on them outweighed potential risks.
Related to my ride today, Aaron caught a ride with me to the start location, and packed a cooler of drinks and snacks for me and my friends to enjoy after. It was a wonderful post-ride treat.
This 30 Days is great. Three weeks in and I’m noticing other people’s active contributions.
Soo… it took me 2 months to do this “weekly” exercise. Procrastinate much?
In this time, I’ve noticed categories of things I procrastinate on:
- Open ended tasks, in which there is no right answer. Making slides, writing reviews, having difficult conversations.
- Selling things. I have an inherent fear of misrepresenting something in the transaction, and don’t enjoy taking people’s money. (That sounds SO weird. What on earth is wrong with me?)
- Inconsequential things that could be better, but don’t bother me enough. Like dusting. If there’s a bit of dust on something, I can’t see why it matters whether I remove it or not, and I won’t do it until it reaches a point where I’m annoyed.
I was partly joking about procrastinating on this Adventure. I’ve actually been processing it on and off these last two months, and would not have collected the points above in a single week.
The idea that sticks with me the most in the book’s discussion is that if you procrastinate on something, it hangs over your head, and only gets worse with time. Just do it and get it off your back.
Having said that, I understand that an objective understanding of something doesn’t always translate into action. People are complicated.
Elephant Adventure 43: Your Tongue
I stopped by REI this morning for a few things: a return, an exchange, and pickup.
When I arrived at the customer service counter, there were two employees there, working on something. They didn’t seem particularly interested in customer service.
Finally, they wrapped up their various tasks. One of them assumed her position at the register and gave me the next-in-line look. (I was the only person in line.)
Up until this moment, I’d been assessing the situation, had resolved not to jump to any conclusions or take anything personally, and to give them the benefit of the doubt.
I greeted her with a smile. “Good morning!”
I explained all the things I was there for. She was objectively helpful, but I found myself wondering if customer service was the right job for her.
I went off to find my exchange item. When I returned, I kept at it, drawing her into non-transactional conversation with positivity and cheer.
When we finished, I thanked her by name. She had a grin on her face from ear to ear, and before I could wish her a good day, she wished me a great one.
This, I can truly call an active contribution.
I may not be able to change the world in one fell swoop, but I can help make it better, one interaction at a time.
I was last one out at the end of taiko make-up class tonight. I spotted a pair of abandoned socks under a chair. Though I wasn’t sure if they belonged to a classmate, I decided to grab them, knowing it would extra effort to find the owner in a class I don’t normally attend.
Caught up with one of my classmates in the parking lot. Turns out they were his socks. Reunited!
I had a magical 90 minutes free for lunch today. It was beautiful out, and I decided to walk to the local food truck park.
I thought about just taking off. I’m much more comfortable just doing my own thing. But I had teammates in the office, and I thought they might like to have a walk as well.
I invited them to come. They said yes, and recruited more people.
Six of us enjoyed a nice walk, some outdoor time, and a chance to get to know each other better.
Getting over my introversion has been really rewarding.
In my current role, I often find myself with nonstop meetings from the moment I arrive at the office through the end of the workday. It took me a while to adjust to this, context switching every 30-60 minutes and not having any tangible output (code) to show for it.
I’ve since settled in to this new normal. I realize that I contribute not in code, but in making bigger picture connections, mentoring others, and helping us build our team.
I had trouble coming up with my active contribution today, so I looked at my calendar and replayed the day in my head.
- Went to work early to help work out details for a colleague’s project.
- Volunteered and showed one of my team members how to do something black box mysterious to them.
- Helped another team member understand their infrastructure, and how to gather that information.
- Pitched in with production support to let one of our SREs focus on his project.
- Mentored a colleague from a different part of the company.
This was all optional. I could have postponed the meeting, not volunteered, not answered in detail, not pitched in, not taken the time to be a mentor.
I could have not done all those things, but we’re stronger as a whole because I did.
At taiko class on Tuesdays we unstack a bunch of chairs for our stuff at the beginning of class. At the end of class, I always help restack them.
Leave no trace.