Adjusting to the new

I finished my first full week at my new job! Honestly, I’ll be happy when the new job is old habit and the routine is “normal” to me. Everyone says change is hard and I won’t discount that. But, something tells me that spending 10 1/2 years at a job makes this change a little harder than someone who has considerably less time in. Or stays at the same company. 

I thought I’d probably spend the first couple of weeks too busy to fully realize the life change. And maybe enjoying the one job thing so much that I wasn’t thinking about the old. {That’s my style. Deny & ignore.} I have a lot of work to do in the new job so I didn’t expect the first few days to be so hard. Mentally hard. I thought I’d be blissfully ignorant of my major life change. Monday came around and it was so quiet. Not that my team was loud, but I was missing the sound of voices. I used to have a lot of meetings too, which made it hard to get anything done but it filled the quiet air. I hear people but it’s the public or people unlocking their office doors. It’s different when you have no connection to what people are saying. It’s not comforting noise like in a workplace. Basically, I’m going to know every pop song lyric for the rest of time. And I might become that girl in her office singing…OR TALKING TO HERSELF! 

It’s so intriguing to me how a job can mess with your core. How it can make you crave personal contact so much. How it made me view all areas of my life with a gloomy perspective. Then again, I’m a pretty social person who was used to being so busy I barely had time to think. {Which only intensified once I had two job responsibilities.} I’m not used to a wide open schedule. I have a few deadlines next week and I was feeling that familiar anxiety as I contemplated bringing the work home. Until I looked at my calendar for Monday and realized I have one meeting at the end of the day. That means I get to spend the work days getting things done! {Maybe this change won’t be so hard…}

Something clicked on Wednesday and I found my groove again. It was glorious! My mood was sunshiny and bright and I was happy in all areas of my life. I am struggling with the fact that one area can touch so many others and impact my life. I didn’t realize that being able to do things that I was used to would bring my confidence back. Like sending out a message to my softball team about a tournament or coordinating a girls weekend to Kansas City. Things that Kyley does and Kyley can still do. It may be from a different office and email address, but I’m still me. This seems like basic stuff, but my brain has been SO full this summer that those things were always last priority and usually last minute. I enjoy being the organizer and I was finally able to get back to my pre-chaotic planner self! 

We joke at our house that Bryan is a total Type A personality and needs to feel control in all situations. The truth is I do too. I just go about it differently. Mine doesn’t look the same as his so it’s not as obvious. I have certain areas I don’t need to control so it looks like I’m a free spirit. I’m not. {Or I am if you compare me to an engineer! ūüėČ} 

I’ve struggled with my transition because I don’t know EXACTLY what it looks like. It was a cloudy image of something I couldn’t touch. I drove to the right office every day, and it’s starting to feel more like my place, but it’s still not my normal. I know it’ll come, but I want to fast-forward through all those feelings and get there right now! Because it’s unsettling to be in a new situation. And I like to be in control of my mind. 

A sense of peace has come over me this weekend. I’m not spending my Sunday feeling anxious because I’ve already done that first full week. I’ve already had my first board meeting and a lot of other firsts. Now it’s just getting into my groove. Getting used to scheduling meetings via phone or email instead of an Outlook calendar. Not being able to chat with someone via messenger because I’m not part of a company. And parking in really small public parking spaces. 

Five or six weeks ago I wasn’t sure what any of this was going to look like. I was terrified and felt like I was losing control of my life quickly. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I have a better idea now. Time heals, even when you don’t think it actually will. This has definitely been an exercise is patience and faith. I know I could and should have done a million things differently, but I’ve never done things the easy way. This is my journey and I wouldn’t change any of the struggles and pains. If it weren’t for half of my struggles, I wouldn’t have realized how amazing my friends really are. When you’re in a crisis situation, you see how much your friends hold you up when you need them. 

Here’s to week two! 

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Adjusting to the new

Taking an unexpected leap

I never planned out my future, it just kind of happened. But as I progressed my career and began managing a department, I saw the future unfold. It wasn’t one I expected, but I was happy with it and began creating my next career goals.

Ten years later, I’m doing something I never expected. I’m leaving it. I’m leaving the best boss I’ve had and the greatest team who is doing such amazing things. I’m leaving a ton of open goals for myself and the department. But for what? To help my community. An amazing opportunity presented itself and I’m sure it was God’s will.

I always read about how people are given these opportunities and they don’t want to but God keeps putting it in front of them. Honestly, I was envious of that. I was sure I’d never be one of those people. At the same time, I questioned if my random thoughts of not working were it. Was I supposed to push myself and leave my career and stay home? Yet, when I thought about doing that I never thought I’d be good at it. I’m not good when I’m left with no real goals. I’m not good at boy activities. It just didn’t feel right.¬†So I kept doing what I was doing. One foot in front of the other.

Now, I really get it. Change is so scary and leaving what I expected to be forever is terrifying. From the unknown future to letting everyone down as I leave. It’s hard.¬†But in my heart I know this is what I’m supposed to do right now. I’m being pulled in this direction and now I understand how people try to push it aside but they just can’t. I truly believe that my professional and personal experiences have led me to this point. I have experienced them so I can do this.¬†It may only be temporary or it may lead to another path I didn’t expect to go down. Either way, I’m making this leap with a lot of faith that I am doing God’s work.

I’m going to miss all my work friends, my co-workers, my team, and my boss. It’s hard to imagine that I won’t be with them every day. As I form new relationships and become more integrated with the community, I’m adjusting to my new norm. I’m excited about the newness, the project, and challenges ahead of me. And, I know that all of my experiences have put me in this position. I am supposed to be walking down this new path. As scary as that may be and as sad as it makes me, it’s what I need to do. To put my skills to use in the way that God wants me to do.

I needed this test of faith. It’s been hard for us the past few years. We’ve had definite challenges and in a sense we’ve gone into survival mode. We’ve had parenting struggles, we haven’t put our marriage first, or even ourselves. I carry the stress of my job around with me. Always wanting more and feeling too much. I “handle” it because that’s what I think I need to do. Bryan has always questioned if I’m really happy and I always tell him that I am. I just assumed this was part of life and juggling so many things. I always pull up my¬†boot straps and deal with it. No free passes.

I know this change is going to be big for our family. It comes with its own set of challenges and I might be gone nights or weekends sometimes, but that comes with flexibility. Flexibility to be there at other times of the day when I normally wouldn’t. Pool days, breakfast dates before school or daycare, or picking them up from school and daycare to go on adventures before its time to make supper. This is huge as I get ready to send one off to kindergarten and look to preschool soon.

One of the “perks” of this new position is the requirement to be involved. My desire to help more and be involved more is part of what I get paid to do. When Maximus starts school, I can be involved for my desire to help cultivate a great learning environment for him but also as a way to better do my job.

It’s scary to not be in control or know how life is going to unfold. It’s terrifying to put an end to the constant and the safe. It’s gut wrenching to feel like you let people down. But, it’s enriching, soul warming, and pretty amazing to see the possibilities of what you can do in this leap of faith move. Not just for myself, or my community, but also for the company I’m leaving. The company that I am so fiercely loyal to. The company that I owe this opportunity to. I hope I can make such an impact that all the community-related discussions we’ve had are now taken care of. So they can focus on their jobs and move into the next chapter of success.

God truly is amazing, even when you don’t think you’re doing a good job honoring him. When you think you’re being selfish and living a life all about you and your surroundings. He still loves you and He still walks you down your chosen path. Be open to His ways and be willing to take that leap no matter how scary it is. Because He will take care of you.

Taking an unexpected leap

Getting back into the swing of life

The night before the first work day in the new year is typically full of anxiety and angst. I stayed up well past my bedtime as did the kids. Quinten’s naptime was pushed backed 30-60 minutes daily. Lunches pushed back an hour. Consequently, our wake ups were L-A-ZY. I only got up before 8 am twice in 17 days. Whoa. I was on vacation for 17 days. That includes weekends {I don’t work weekends}, but that’s a lot of days. Whoa. No wonder the days just kind of blended together. 

We didn’t have a lot of commitments outside of the holidays. It was a glorious way to spend a break. It was just enough productivity and lazy for me. Plus, I drank a lot of lattes. ūüôā {I know the rest of the adult world has been drinking coffee forever, hang with me on this new obsession.} I kind of wish I had worked out more and had less migraines, but no regrets. 

If I had to pinpoint what made this year easier to go back I’d say it was how our Sunday looked. I spent the morning organizing all.the.toys in the house. I did this before Christmas and purged a bunch, but the organization was in need of more help. I’m always fighting a battle of keeping some toys out of the living room. After I did some closet magic, I was able to better utilize spaces in each of their rooms. 

  
We’ve had a constant back-and-forth about using closets for clothes. Each boy has just enough dresser space to have everything in a dresser but that is basically only if I’m the only one to ever use the drawers. {STOP UNFOLDING ALL THE CLOTHES!} That’s not realistic so it was time to rearrange. Long-sleeves and sweatshirts now reside in closets. And board games are off of Maximus’ bookshelf. Meaning, Quinten can’t pull them out and lose all the pieces or break the boards. 

  Quinten’s closet isn’t as useful. Boxes of clothes that are too small and a box of next-in-line clothes are always in there. Baby swing and bouncer that was recently returned to us is taking up valuable space because our basement is in a remodel state. I still made some changes that helped though and it’s better than it was. 

A hot and sweaty hour on the volleyball court reenergized me and I was ready to tackle the night. Bryan took the boys out in the snow while I made dinner. {After a week of snow, it was time they finally made it out there! Whoops.} One-pot chicken showed up on our Facebook timelines after we ate and I’ll tell you it’s pretty delicious! And super easy. 

  
After supper we rocked out to some Polar Express music while we surprised the boys with hot chocolates. I grocery shopped alone {AMEN!} this weekend so no one knew we had any. And of course Bryan blew their minds by playing music from the movie. It was AWESOME! But most of all, it was great to have some happy family moments. After two weeks of constant togetherness, we all needed some fun. 

Meal prepping for the week helped me feel even better about my healthy choices and general feeling of life. It feels good to start the new work week and month on the right foot. My house won’t always be picked up and organized and my fridge won’t always be full of prepared heathy foods, but I’m going to try to hold on to this feeling as a motivator. 

Getting back into the swing of life

Making it

It’s pretty easy to crop out the mess or edit the words to spin the story into a fairytale, especially on social media. When you don’t have time for¬†people to come over, the¬†chances are low that¬†anyone will know what it’s really like inside your house, or even your life. My life is so busy right now that I’d guess very few people actually know what’s going on. Almost every day I’m battling a new “fire” at work and I usually haven’t fully fixed¬†the last one yet. It’s emotionally and physically draining. One day a few¬†weeks ago, I sat outside in the quiet and just watched the sky. The fighting and crying inside was shut out and I wasn’t responsible for¬†anything¬†for those blissful 10 minutes. After putting in 30 something hours in three days, I was¬†done and the week was only half over. The days are long and the years are short. I get that. When you feel like you’re in an awful version of Groundhog’s Day, it’s not very reassuring. It’s super hard without an end in sight.

It’s hard to say the same things to your children day-after-day when you don’t feel like they get it. Constantly teaching them not to fight, to share things, to not yell, and to use words when they get mad. It’s exhausting. I’m sure it’s exhausting to be inside a 2-year-old body also, but it doesn’t look like he’s exhausted. It looks like he has endless energy. It looks like he’s a runner when we’re in public places, has endless lung capacity, only has one volume {LOUD!}, and does everything we don’t want him to do. I look at my newly turned 5-year-old and see that it does go fast, but then I wonder how the years will go the second time around. Because this time we’re dealing with all kinds of things that we didn’t have to “handle” the first time. And for the sake of sleep, please stop waking up so early! Not only does he need¬†more¬†sleep, but so do the rest of us.

If you ask me how it’s going and my response is anything but “good,” know that I’m surviving by taking it one day at a time. They may not be glorious days, but I’m making it through the best way I can. Some days that means trying to yell¬†over¬†them so they will listen and other days that means running away to the deck for some quiet. Oh yeah, and some days it means coffee.

Making it

Setting yourself up to succeed at work and home

Some days it’s really hard to leave work behind at the end of the day. I’ve put together some of my tricks to walking away without feeling guilty about it. Because let’s be honest, some days you leave work and feel guilty about not getting something specific done or just more done in general. You leave wondering what you even accomplished that day. And some days you’re blessed with the gift of productivity and it’s really easy to leave the office. So here are the things that I’m trying to do to make it easier to leave at the end of the day.

WHAT I DO DURING THE DAY

  • Plan your day. As often as my schedule allows, I start the morning by looking at the things I have to get done and map out my day to make it a reality.
  • Be realistic about what you can get done in a day. I’ve failed a lot. It’s usually when I map out my day minute-by-minute. At one time I thought the definition of productive was having every minute assigned. I added in break times to run to the bathroom or get a snack. However, I quickly learned that a phone call, email, or drop-in can get you off track real fast. And then I felt like I had failed in my tasks for the day. Allow those unknowns to “disrupt” your day.
  • Take a break. Sometimes you need to refocus your brain on something non-work related to get back on track. Go talk to a friend. Walk around your office. Step outside for a few minutes.
  • Leave the office for lunch. On my really stressful days, I leave for lunch. When it’s nice out, I eat my lunch outside and soak up some vitamin D.
  • Give yourself a cutoff time. If you’re like me, the end of the workday is a guide and can easily be ignored. Follow your cutoff rules and you’ll start your night feeling successful about doing one thing. You may feel guilty about not getting something done, but it’s better about not getting it done and not following your cutoff time.

WHAT I DO AT NIGHT

  • Be realistic about what you can or can’t do that evening. I learned that bringing work home when I don’t have time to do it, only makes me feel more guilty and ruins my start to the next day.
  • Set limits to working at night or on the weekend. Sometimes you can’t help it, but don’t get into the routine of working every night. It’s hard to break. It also changes your attitude during the workday. Instead of “get it done now” you think, “I can always do it tonight.”
  • Be present at home. Play with your family or get your home life things done. It makes you feel better and helps you take a breath of something outside of work. In the end, making it easier to get back into work the next day.
  • Be active. I’ve found that a walk with my family can make me forget about all my stress or worries from the day.
  • Eat a healthy meal. The act of cooking or eating something healthy helps me reset my mind. {Because sometimes my husband makes the meals.}
  • Know yourself. Some nights, after the kids go to bed, I need to just¬†be¬†on the couch cruising social media. It’s a waste of a “productive” night, but I don’t let my brain get worked up about it. Sometimes I need the simple act of nothing to recharge.
  • Get more sleep. After a particularly stressful day or week, I go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
  • Get your work done! If you have to work at night, be quick and efficient. I’ve had a number of night working that has kept me up until midnight and then make me unmotivated the next day. Get in and out, no procrastinating!
Relaxing mother-son time

It’s hard to get the right work-life balance. Set yourself up for success so you can leave work with a guilt-free conscious.

Setting yourself up to succeed at work and home

Why community involvement matters

I was recently asked to participate in an internal video for my company. It was the opposite side of the camera for me. I’m used to being part of the script and video development. It was a rather painful experience; however, a good learning situation for me to better coach in the future. One of the questions I was asked was related to community involvement.

Community involvement is important to me. I serve on the board of directors for Iowa River Hospice. I’m able to bring my talents and skills to them and bring back a new perspective to my job. Being involved in the community helps make a better community to live and work in.

I’m not sure how eloquently I communicated that or what my face and body language portrayed, but I do believe community involvement is important. I’ve been on the board of directors for Iowa River Hospice for four years now and just ending a term as Vice President. I recently realized that I have grown a lot in the past four years. I’ve grown in my understanding of this organization, the ins and outs of a non-profit, and how a board is run. I was beyond nervous when I accepted the position. I didn’t know who nominated me or why. Looking back, I’ve learned that it’s good to stretch into something. Organizations and people benefit from the growing and learning that a person goes through when they go into something without having all the answers. It can be scary and nerve-wracking to¬†not have confidence in yourself. But, you’ll wake up one day and feel confident and comfortable with what you’re doing. I’ve found this to be true in the workplace and in my personal life.

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Decorations for 2015 Night of Stars Benefit

 

Three years ago, a friend asked me to join her on the committee for a local¬†benefit. Proceeds go to our local American Cancer Society organization and Iowa River Hospice. It was the perfect way for me to help outside of the board meetings and marketing brainstorming. Last year the committee was in need of new co-chairs, so Bryan and I decided to take it on this year. Some days it was a lot of late night work, with us both working away on our computers. We knew there would be a lot of work the final week before the event, but I can say it was worth it. We had a committee, half of which was new, who were more than willing to help with any task. It’s not always easy bouncing back-and-forth between work, home, and other activities.¬†Everyone on our team has a lot of other commitments, but it felt like this was top priority for everyone. It’s awesome to be part of such a positive group, with so many enthusiastic¬†willing people. Our community is awesome, too. We had so many wonderful auction donations, a lot of organizations who gave underwriting money (money that pays for our expenses of the event), and a sold out crowd! A week after the event, we’re still getting donations! I did a quick look at 23 years of the event and this year is up with one other year as having the most income!¬†It’s so awesome to be part of such a meaningful event. This money goes a long way for both organizations and I’m so proud to be part of it. The time we spent doesn’t even compare to the work both organizations do. The time, effort, and compassion they put into their patients is simply amazing. It’s the least we could do to create an¬†evening that provides the¬†opportunity for people to open up their wallets and give to two wonderful organizations.

This is one of the small ways I can help give back to my community and make it a better place to live and work.

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2015 Night of Stars

 

 

Why community involvement matters

A needed break from the chaos

I’ve recently realized that it’s hard to get back into life when life is so chaotic. I was traveling 11 days during January. In writing, it doesn’t feel as¬†heavy¬†as life felt while traveling. That’s probably because my first trip was seven days. That’s a long time to be away from your family, on a work trip, right after a three-week holiday break. A seven-day vacation is a long time to be away from your family, but it doesn’t involve endless work. I switched time zones and had to be “on” starting at 7 am {6 my time}. I did a solid six hours and then took a one to two hour break to workout and just¬†sit on my hotel bed. Then back at it for another eight {plus} hours. LONG DAYS. It seems a little first world -ish to complain, but work travel isn’t a break from life. It’s more work than the typical day because you don’t get to turn work off and you get less sleep than at home. Not to mention that the emails don’t stop while you’re traveling.

Sometimes it overwhelms me to go on long trips because I have to prepare for the trip itself for work and home, then go on the trip, come back and wrap up the trip, and then catch back up from the trip at work and home. It’s exhausting¬†to do all the laundry and cleaning before a trip and come home and have to do it again. I forget that home life continues while I’m gone. I’ve found it hard to jump right back in where I left off. And let’s be honest, I don’t always leave the house and family all nice and organized. Sometimes we’re too busy for any prep and I just leave.

I’m happy to not have anything on the calendar until March. I’m looking forward to getting back into a healthy balance¬†of work and life. Excited to get back into my morning workout routine and even more excited to get back on my clean eating meal plan. We started off the weekend by taking the boys to a children’s museum and it was the perfect way to get back into family life! After a couple of weeks of no fun, we all needed a good activity that could entertain and wear everyone out. I might even find some personal time to write now that I’ll be home for a while…

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Flying planes and making music.

 

 

A needed break from the chaos