The fall of 2014 was the most action-packed, rewarding, and successful three months of my career. Bar none. More speeches to enthusiastic audiences; more team sessions with appreciative leaders, more interactions with readers and ChangeYourTeam community members. I am loving my work.
So why, by the end of December, was I exhausted, frazzled, head down, not having the fun I should have been having? Why, at the very moment when everything was coming together, did I feel like I was falling apart?
It took two weeks of vacation to answer that, but now it’s obvious. As I was running to keep up with the demand for speeches and team sessions, my teammates were running to keep up with the demands on them. We were all running hard, but running our own races, in isolation.
That meant I became disconnected from the support network that encourages me, cares for me, and energizes me. And for me, having an amazing experience just isn’t so amazing unless I have someone to share it with.
I had a wonderful and restorative vacation with my family, so I returned to work on Monday well rested. But that only solved 50% of the problem. I needed to reconnect. I’ve had a blast this week with the fabulous people I work with. In three days I’ve spent more time perched on the corner of desks chatting, sitting around eating and laughing, and standing by the photocopier listening than I did in the whole month of December. The result is that now I feel recharged AND reconnected.
Resolve to stay connected
I’m resolving to stay connected even through the crazy times in 2015. I’m not sure where you stand on the whole New Year’s resolution issue. (I once resolved NOT to go to the gym to see if my track record of breaking resolutions could possibly work in my favor!) So if you want to call it something other than a resolution, I’m good with that. Regardless of what you call it, make a commitment to yourself that you won’t make the mistake of disconnecting from your teammates this year.
Here’s my list of the little things I will do to keep the connection strong throughout the year.
…reach out in the very moments when I feel inclined to withdraw.
…let my teammates help me because it feels good both to help and to be helped.
…choose to rest my brain periodically with completely unproductive conversations that actually improve my productivity.
…use quick content-free emails, gratuitous selfies from afar, and random acts of kindness to show my teammates that I’m thinking of them even when I’m not in the office.
…have fun and be silly as often as possible to show people it’s possible to take your work incredibly seriously while not taking yourself seriously at all.
…make more time to eat with my coworkers because there is something simple and powerful about breaking bread with someone.
…share my stress warning signs with teammates and ask for their help in providing a tsunami early warning system.
That’s my list. What would be on yours? Take a minute to share your ideas for how to maintain strong connections with your teammates this year.