by Lisa Feder
I have been feeling a little bit “antsy” this week. I am working on a team that is to deliver a promotional plan for a new product for a major retailer. One of my challenges ... I work out of my home office in Austin, while my other teammates are in a 300-person office. Each of us has a role on the team, but the roles overlap a bit. My role, that of the multicultural specialist, overlays almost everyone else’s and my role is to educate and integrate a new way of approaching the market.
Given my physical separation from the rest of the group, I often begin to worry even before a project begins. “Will they remember to include me in the meetings?” If included, “Will they remember that I am on the other end of the phone line?” When I make a comment in a meeting, it is often met with a pause, a moment of silence—in my mind, this could be that they are amazed by my stunning insight, or floored by my disappointing stupidity. In that silence, I usually assume it is the latter. I mean, I am supposed to be the subject matter expert, and to meet that means I need to know everything, everything. As you can imagine, the meaning of the pause is somewhere in-between the two extreme responses I just mentioned. I’ve made a good point, and someone has something to add or challenge, etc. And it’s that first comment, or first presentation that always creates the most stress for me. Once the meeting gets going, and conversation flows, little by little I relax into myself again.
Our yoga practice teaches us that we are “enough”. Since teaching a chakra series, I've shared how each of the chakras reinforces our being “enough”. We can even look at our chakras as some basic “rights”. The first chakra is our right to be here, the second is our right to express ourselves, the third is our right to act, and so on. When I remember that, especially at the beginning of the day, it truly allows me to accept my contributions free from the judgments of others. Even if others see things differently, challenge me, ignore me, or whatever, I know that I am enough. And that is “enough” to keep me going.
How can you practice self-acceptance in this way in the workplace? Think about the forces that might be acting upon you during the day. Your Ego, wanting to be smart and right, the opinions and agendas of others, who also want to be smart and right. Your boss, who always finds more to be done, contributing to that feeling of not being enough. And yet, you are enough. You bring what you bring in the way that you bring it. This does not mean you ever stop striving to be your best, that is built in to what you bring. Let go of those internal and external doubts and know that you are enough today at work, whatever your work is.
Lisa Feder is a Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer and Corporate Wellness Consultant. Read more