Self-Fulfilling Prophecy September

self-fulfilling

It’s the first day of October! I have officially made it through September, a little bruised and definitely tired, but it’s over. My favorite month is here and oddly enough, it was like my motivation returned to me as soon as the realization hit me. At some point in the last hour, as I was going through our morning routine: kibble for the animals, coffee for me; I wondered how much I played into my awful September.

For a long time, September was an easy month. Possibly even exciting. It brings the transition to fall, new school supplies, a fresh start, cooler weather, and a little more structure. All things I enjoy. In my role as a trainer, September was always slower – parent programming slowed because of the start to school, and teachers are focused on their classrooms, not professional development. As the manager of the program, September means, the end of the fiscal year. There’s a budget to balance, usually money to spend, planning for next fiscal year, usual programming to manage, processes to put into place, and just an overall feeling of stress as we wind down one year and ramp up for the next.

My first September as a manager hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t expecting the shift from an easy thirty days, to a crazy thirty days. Maybe it was just my inexperience, I thought, I’ll get the hang of it. My second September was miserable. We were going through a program evolution with our funder and I didn’t know which way was up, none of us did. A collective sigh of relief came on October 1st, 2015. I figured it couldn’t get any worse, September 2016 will be a breeze.

As this September approached, I lost my positive attitude and knew I had a fight coming my way – both literally and figuratively. My hesitation grew, my stress took over, and inevitably started affecting me physically. By the middle of the first week, I was knee deep in hatred for what was to be the next 25 days. From then on, every little thing that happened was magnified and contributed to September. Stub your toe? Damn, September! Feeling under the weather? It’s because it’s September. Bad hair day? COME ON, SEPTEMBER!

At what point was I the one that made September awful? Probably around September 1st. I never gave it a chance. I stayed in my unmotivated bubble and slugged along until this morning. I slept in a little later, woke up to our 48th hour of rain, and a text conversation with my traveling husband. In the middle of our conversation I realized it was October first and I screamed with a giant smile on my face. It was over. It’s officially my favorite month of the year! Maybe September wasn’t so bad after all…

Nope, it was awful.

But we’re moving on. We’re moving on to a month of cooler weather, apples, cider, fall beer, warm food, sweaters, boots, colorful leaves, open windows, pumpkins, blankets, hockey, breast cancer awareness, new tv shows, and good hair days.

It’s October and that is awesome!

Greektown Adventures & The End of September

how-to-designA couple of weeks ago, Justin and I agreed that we would incorporate more time out of the house into our routine. Not working and being home everyday was starting to get to him. Since then we’ve incorporated one night out for dinner each week, walks around the neighborhood, and Sunday afternoon dates. It’s not a world tour, but it’s something.

While most days I would prefer to sit at home, on my couch, enjoying the fall breeze through the windows, I’ve enjoyed our little adventures out into the world. Last weekend, we had lunch and lounged in leather recliners at our local movie theater, watching Snowden. While the movie wasn’t all that great, we enjoyed our afternoon out among the other earthlings.

Yesterday, we decided to get adventurous and we ventured the 30 minutes to downtown Detroit to visit the newly opened Wahlburgers that opened up in Greektown last month. I wasn’t sure what I had expected, but the weather was gorgeous, we had free parking, and the wait to get in took less than 15 minutes. We sat at the bar upstairs. The place was bustling with people, there were TVs going, and pictures of the Wahlburger family on every wall. One of my favorite seasonal beers, Perrin Blackberry IPA, was on tap, so I jumped at that as we pursued the menu. I opted for “The Our Burger” – a traditional cheese burger, government cheese to be exact, with lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade pickles, and Wahl-Sauce. It was marked “Paul’s Favorite” and as the driving force behind Wahlburgers, I decided it was only right to start there. With a burger and a side of sweet potato tots on the way, I was pumped. [For the record: Justin ordered “The Bacon BBQ Burger” and some Yukon Gold Fries.]

burger

To say the burgers were good is an incredible understatement. It was easily the best burger I’ve ever had – one of the only culinary experiences I’ve had were each component in the dish melds together to make one well rounded taste. I didn’t taste individual components, just one well balanced burger that melted in my mouth. I was impressed.

After our little Greektown adventure, we headed back toward home to check off some of our weekly errands: dog food, cat litter, toilet paper, shampoo, and of course a new toy for the puppy who was [hopefully] waiting patiently at home. Our second Saturday afternoon adventure was a success and a nice way to end one week and begin the next.

September is my least favorite month of the year. It’s an incredibly busy month for me at work, and this year, in particular, would mean either the start to the transplant process or three more months of treatment for Justin. It’s a month of transition, and let’s face it, transition isn’t easy. There is one week left of September and I am more than excited to move into October, a new season, a new program year, the holiday season, and maybe feeling like myself again. My lack of motivation to write in September is hopefully winding down. Four posts in three weeks is how I want to use this space, so I anticipate that with the end of September that I might feel that pick up again. Five days and counting.

Balanced Chaos

Yesterday, while having my weekly planning lunch with a colleague, we were both sharing our ridiculous work schedules for the week. We couldn’t believe how we went from zero to sixty so quickly. But we looked at each other, smiled and shared, individually, how we both thrive in chaos. We sat down, ordered our lunch and tried to make some progress amongst the Monday chaos.

In an effort to move our work forward and to promote collaboration, we have connected our work in the organization. It has been something that I have been trying to do for the last six years, and it wasn’t until we were able to spend some time together and really understand our vision for our individual work that we were able to make the puzzle pieces fit. Monday is a crazy day, I am usually spending my day running from one meeting to the next, but I look forward to my 90 minute lunch meeting with my team mate. For me, the break out of the office, working on something inspiring with someone like-minded is worth the added chaos. It keeps me focused, and most importantly, it keeps me focused on the big picture.

Yesterday, as we were running through the front door to the building past our boss who was waiting for us to start a meeting, I couldn’t help but laugh and feel grateful for so many things. Grateful for a colleague that is so supportive, and finds strength in our work together. Grateful for a boss that just laughs as we walk in the door three minutes late to her meeting. Grateful I was wearing flats, because running in heels is dangerous and quite silly.

The rest of my afternoon was less than inspiring, it was actually rather frustrating as I waslife-is-like-riding-a-bicycle-to-keep-your-balance-you-must-keep-moving-forward pushed through the square peg that office bureaucracy can create. I tried to keep the spirit of my chaotic Monday alive, focused on moving forward, and quite frankly, focused on all of the things that are on the docket this week. I suppose balance is alive and well, as I will have my morning set aside today to organize the Monday wreckage, to go through my notes, my to-do lists, my e-mails, and my deadlines. I’m looking forward to the calm that will be my morning, sitting with some coffee, the radio on, and inevitably crossing off things from my list as I approach my afternoon. I may thrive in chaos, but I depend on unscheduled time. Tipping the scales in either direction will destroy the balance.

That’s what it’s about right? Balance is key. It’s how we move through every day, by walking the line between everything. Internally, it can feel rather manic to feel the scales tip in either direction. The highs are hard to maintain and the lows are hard to break out of, but continuing with balance takes a little bit of both.

September usual drops me into a more negative space. My day-to-day work gets ridiculous in September, it’s the end of our fiscal year and finishing out a non-profit program while gearing up for a new one is exhausting. Usually, the cooler weather starts to creep in, but we have no shortage of summer weather that keeps lingering. September is a month of transition, and most of the time I’d just rather jump into the deep end so I have less time to analyze, scrutinize, and dwell on what’s coming, and what’s being left behind.

This September, I’m running full speed at a new program year, running full speed toward my big ideas, collaboration, projects, and new opportunities. Personally, I am holding on to each and everyday until we move into the next phase of Justin’s treatment process. I am split between my desire to push forward and to remain in the safety of the known. It’s a dance I am not sure I know the steps to, and so I am here, kicking my feet, flailing my arms, and bobbing my head to the music hoping to catch the beat eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll work on the balance. I’ll focus on the big picture and gratitude. And worry less about…well…everything.

And Suddenly, It’s September

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What a month! August seems to have lasted so much longer than just thirty-one days. It feels as though my week spend up north with my family was so long ago, so much longer than four weeks. I’m ready for September, ready for the cooler weather, the start of fall, and to push through the next phase in our lives. Justin’s bone marrow transplant is looming close in the distance and we’re ready to hit it head on.

As I sit here reflecting on the last four weeks, I feel pretty proud of what was accomplished for The Corner Office in the month of August. With a week spent on vacation, and a slowdown of momentum in the last week, I wrote 23 posts – my most active month, ever!

There were 255 people that stopped by throughout the month, reading 584 times, and 138 instances that someone read enough to click the little star indicating they liked a post. The Corner Office reached 19 countries in August! People from Canada, Malaysia, The UK, Ghana, Singapore, Italy, South Africa, Pakistan, Germany, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam all read something from TCO in August!

The most read post for the month was The New Normal: Five Years Later, where I relived the story of Justin’s original diagnosis, for the first time I was able to put words to the emotions of that day. Happy Birthday, Dad!, Just for Fun: 25 Things, and A Tuesday Pep Talk all came in close behind.

When trying to decide which post was my favorite from the month, I couldn’t pick one! There were some that I was proud of, but also some that may not have showcased my best writing, while really hitting home for me in terms of the message coming across. I participated in the 3 quote challenge with: Saturday Share: Quotes in TV, Saturday Share: Lyrics, and Saturday Share: Unfocused. In an attempt to use my work as an inspiration, I continued the Leadership Lessons category with: 5 Team Building Activities You Can Implement Today!

I may not always be consistent in the space, or as intelligent and insightful as I should be, but I am grateful for this space. I have this tiny corner of the internet to use as my own and I am just so thankful that other people chose to read as well. Here’s to whatever September has to bring!