gratitude challenge

A year of gratitude – Week 1 – A presentation or conference

The first post in the Year of Gratitude challenge is about a presentation or conference you’ve been to.

As a scientist, I’ve been to hundreds of work-related presentations and conferences over my 14 year career. I can count on one hand those that have left me inspired or wanting to know more. My field of science can be a little dry, I suppose, and I am more of a results person rather than the ‘how do we get there’ or the ‘I will now spend 45 minutes explaining something you already know’ or the ‘I have gone off topic and I can’t stop!’

Having said that, my workplace is responsible for providing me with a presentation that changed my life.

It was, of course, not a science-related presentation.

Six years ago, my workplace was going through a significant restructure and as a result, there were so many unhappy people in the branch. Management asked for volunteers to create a small team that would look at some of the issues that were contributing to the overall unhappiness, and come up with strategies to address them. I put my hand up because hey, I’ve got your answer and I don’t need no team! Maybe not firing people would resolve some of the issues!

But seriously though, there was an overall workplace culture issue that did have to be addressed. Namely, doing things the same old way and being resistant to new ideas. Some of my teammates, who I respected and cared for, were struggling with change.

Also, some of them were old timers and had been through a number of restructures in the past and they were just sick of it.

A few weeks earlier, head office ran a bunch of hour-long sessions on dealing with stress and how to improve resilience. I attended because 1) it was during work hours and 2) it was free and yes, yes, ok 3) I was majorly stressed at work at the time. The sessions ended up being a big bitchfest by disgruntled employees, but there was just enough material there that the facilitator slipped in that personally helped me deal with some of the things I was going through.

The key message was that we all have stress in our lives – at work, at home, and in our personal lives. But it’s how we react to it, how we respond, that can either make us or break us.

At our culture team meeting, I suggested that we get the group who ran these sessions to run a full-length course for our people. I am happy to say that management agreed to run with this, and I am so grateful for the lessons I learned. Because I attended the course with an open mind and heart, I learned so much about myself. I had a whole day to self-reflect on how I view the world – not just how I cope with stress at work, but also how I deal with life overall.

It definitely helped me become a more resilient person. Which is handy, because in the years to come, life threw a lot of challenging things my way.

I will be eternally grateful to Blooming Minds for helping me and my workmates become stronger, kinder and more resilient people.


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