- What I’m Reading: The Elevated Communicator by Maryanne O’Brien (Understanding your communication style and leveling up) and Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn (Understanding why the Bridgerton Family took over Netflix)
- What I’m Watching: Hell’s Kitchen on the Pluto Hell’s Kitchen Channel
- What I’m Listening: Fire by Ryan Montbleau (Stop Pushing has quickly become a fan favorite.)
Over the past year, our local governments embraced the challenges of a pandemic, civil unrest, racism, and much more. We heard the call and responded by becoming the voice of the people we serve. Every experience helps us grow as individuals and organizations. The past year has provided more experiences than were imaginable, even in my wildest dreams, and it is my personal mission to make sure that we don’t lose all that we’ve learned. Here are some suggestions on things we need to embrace and remember as we move forward:
- Step out of your comfort zone and then step a little further. This past year I have been surprised numerous times about how far I have pushed myself or witnessed others stretching out of their comfort zone. One of my key leaders in pandemic response serves in non-COVID times as Senior Probation Officer. She is an amazing PO and teaches in our Community Justice Center. I redeployed her to assist in contact tracing operations and culture development. She’s never supervised, yet she stretched herself to not only become a critical member of our Public Health Team but a key resource for our staff as they developed a new culture at our department. She hired staff, trained them, and then found ways to infuse these new temporary employees into a system that is key to our pandemic response.
- Never stop learning. I learn something new every single day. I learn from my colleagues, friends, and family. Every person that enters you life, whether it be for a moment or life time, teaches me something. Everyone has differing perspectives, experiences, and life lessons, take time to listen, observe, and learn. Many things are decisive right now, yet I find when I really listen I can learn something new.
- Respect others. Every person you encounter has different struggles, challenges, and solutions they are experiencing. Meet them with respect.
- You can ask for help. It’s in our instincts as humans to band together for mutual aid and protection. Yet, saying “can you help me” can sometimes be extremely challenging. Asking for help is NOT a weakness, it is a strength. Know your limitations and when you need it ask for help.
- Embrace Criticism. Criticism can be hard to hear, yet it is the only way we can learn and grow. Not all criticism is created equal, yet when you are hearing ways to improve take note and think about how you can make changes to processes, systems or other areas to develop further.
- Be humble and be proud. Be proud of what you accomplish and yet acknowledge that rarely do we find success on our own. When you recognize those who have contributed to successful outcomes it will lead to more success. You can credit your team and still promote your contribution to the team.
- Follow your heart. We are guided by our own set of values, allow those values to guide your choices. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Listen to the inner voice that reminds you how to behave and trust your gut.
- Take care of you. The flight attendant reminds us that to be most effective in helping others, we have to put on our own oxygen mask first. Don’t forget this as we move forward. There are times when work becomes your all and you still need to find times to take care of you. When we don’t rest and recharge we make mistakes, we lose our creativity, and we are not taking care of each other.
- Trust. I would not have survived the past year without trusting my colleagues, family, community and others. They have taken care of me, provided for me, and been a part of every action that has led our community to being one of the highest vaccinated places with the lowest disease prevalence. The trust has allowed us to have hard discussions about racism in our community. Trust is the foundation that binds us together.
There are so many other things that have been reinforced this past year. I love working to find solutions and overcome challenges. These nine key areas are crucial to my next steps forward as we will never go back to before 2020 as we can only move beyond.