Our next FQ post comes from Amma Marfo. During the 11/15/12 #SAChat on Self-Care During Peak Times she posed the question, “What keeps you from congruence between action and advice as it pertains to self-care?”
Vulnerability and Responsibility
As I write this, I am about to embark on the first full vacation day of Thanksgiving break. I have plans to see friends at their office, go for lunch with a few others, and help with Turkey Trot registration for my old office. Ordinarily speaking, my time away from work would mean that I was away from work. Email would remain untouched, pending tasks on the back burner, and thoughts of campus filed away until my return to the office next Monday. My commitment to balance from the start of my career has allowed me to do that with relative ease.
However, I know that the work email will be opened tomorrow and some messages sent. Why, you ask? Well, it’s a matter of vulnerability. Some of my willingness admittedly comes from being new, and understanding that I don’t know all that I should just yet. But moreover, that newness, combined with human nature, places another factor in play- making mistakes. And to me, that is the factor that will supersede my efforts to create balance and distance from the office.
After this past week’s chat on Self-Care During Peak Times, I posed a final question:
“What keeps you from congruence between action and advice as it pertains to self-care?”
My answer is humility. As an example, a student of mine told me that she needed clarification on directions for a project, and I realized after leaving the office on Friday that I had not sent them. She will be receiving them promptly tomorrow morning. Similarly, my former graduate assistant asked for a copy of an assessment project we worked on together. After locating it, she will also receive an email tomorrow.
One of my favorite authors on management and leadership, Patrick Lencioni, speaks in his book The Five Temptations of a CEO of valuing trust over invulnerability as an essential piece of good management. If I ever make a mistake in dealing with a student, be it in my third month on the job, third year, or third decade, I will stand up and admit it, apologize, and do what it takes to rectify the situation. Will that occasionally bring me outside of my standard work hours? Sure. But is that compromise worth it for me? Absolutely. When students trust me, see me as vulnerable, and realize that even in my less perfect moments I still work hard for them, our relationship will deepen and they will be even more open to learn from me.
So while I’ll have a slightly more busy morning than originally expected, I’m more than okay making that exception to ensure success for those around me, and to uphold my desired image as reliable, attentive, and- most importantly- vulnerable.
What keeps you from congruence between action and advice as it pertains to self-care? How do you feel about those reasons?
Amma Marfo is the Assistant Director of the Office of Student Activities and Multicultural Programs at Emmanuel College. Follow her on Twitter.