November 27, 2013

Pimp My Ride

Dhalia has her own SMART thanks Matt, Rachel, Sam and Ida. She's giving me the I Love You eyes.

November 26, 2013

Personal Practice Week 7 of 10: Social Anxiety

This week I realized that I get social anxiety in anticipation of being in a large group of people who want to know about my personal and professional life. In other words, family.
There were many social events packed into this past weekend and I recognized that I was starting to get anxiety about being "on" for all of them. Anxiety is the advance-concern of what could happen as opposed to being in the moment and experiencing what is really happening.

Recognizing that I was developing anxiety, I used some NLP techniques to identify the mental and physical reaction I was having to my concerns. As a result I was able to release the anxiety and prepare myself for components of the experience instead of feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of it all. It came down to me thinking that I have to be "on" for every interaction. In reality, I could be receptive and not reactive.

My motivation was that I wanted to get past this feeling that I get before socializing with people who I think are expecting me to engage in details about my life that are difficult to summarize in a 10-minute social interaction. I end up shutting down and running away into a quiet corner. This is an old behavior I want to change. 

I think that part of the anxiety is that in these social interactions I have a tremendous amount of empathy for people and I become too sensitive to all the emotions in the scene. So, this time I tried to relax and not worry about what everyone was thinking and feeling. 

Social Skill
Ultimately, I did a better job of releasing the anxiety than I have in the past. However, I also did take a numerous naps each day to unwind and perhaps hide. I feel very conflicted that I missed the final party of the weekend because I preferred to stay with just one person and not join in the social scene. I think it hurt people's feelings and that gets me into the anxiety-empathy loop. Instead I want to have compassion for myself and that I need lots of alone time.

November 18, 2013

Personal Practice Week 6 of 10

This week I attended the San Francisco Make a Wish Foundation's Batkid wish come true event. 

Although I attended this event with my Public Relations and Promotions "hat on" I was still moved by the beauty of the gesture. 

Actually, my regulation was too high in that I felt like crying but would not let myself cry.

I was motivated to see this as a spectacle for pure PR purposes but actually it was motivating to come together as a community.

There was a very drunk guy in the crowd making fun of the entire event. But then he said to his friends, "my brother died from Lukemia" and then I understood that he was working through emotions and not just being a heckler. 

Social Skill
Actually, I demonstrated no social skill in attending this event. I was alone and silent. I suppose in a huge crowd I just wanted to be safe and quiet.

November 15, 2013

Competition and Avoidance

In my Culinary Management class the students and I were exploring strategies for addressing conflict. There are five strategies according to our textbook. We call them the three c's an two a's to make them easier to remember: collaboration, compromise, competition, accommodation, and avoidance. Each has its advantages and disadvantages - except collaboration, which is a win-win.

I've taught this same topic about a dozen times and a realization settled in this quarter. Competition and avoidance, two of the weakest strategies, when combined are passive aggressiveness. You make a challenging statement or action and then you runaway so that there is no opportunity for discussion. It is like a yapping dog that runs behind he bushes when you get close.

November 11, 2013

Personal Practice Week 5 of 10

This week I attended my friend and colleague Barry Ebner's Open Studio preview party in Bayview Hunter's Point.

As soon as I walked into the main studio building at this former naval shipyard I felt like I was being welcomed home. I have been here for numerous open studios over the years. The sites, sounds and smells of the space remind me of how much I love the visual arts.

Because I attended the preview exhibition the space was quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of the main days. Because of the mellow vibe I was able to stay focused on the few artists who were having previews or were kind enough to let us visit while they were preparing for the next day's rush. 

Being there motivated me to keep visiting visual artists, taking workshops and viewing the pieces of art I have all over my house. Although I work in the arts, it is mostly with performing artists and arts managers. Being at the Open Studio I remembered how much I love visual arts.

While speaking to an artist who was preparing her studio she asked me what I do for a living. I let her know about my work as an arts management consultant and she asked me to give a workshop at the studios. Speaking with her reminded me that I know the language of the arts and have empathy for artists because I studied to be one myself. 

Social Skill
This language of the arts is a vocabulary that includes both the business aspects but also the artistic mediums and methods. This allowed me to immediately connect with the artists on many levels and the conversations were inspiring.

November 6, 2013

Millennial Real-Time Lessons Learned

I was asked to be a guest contributor to my cousin Julie's new blog focused on women sharing their stories about surviving Silicon Valley. I wrote about how Millennials are teaching me as I teach them.

November 5, 2013

Intensity With Intention

I was talking to Brian about how chefs seem to be so intense and focused when in their whites. He said that being a well-trained chef is a practice of intensity. This got me thinking about focus and intention.

It came up again when I was chatting with a colleague about pre-class jitters and that they always seem to be there, regardless of your level of experience. In fact, good teachers should always have that intensity or they lose their focus Then a few hours later these pre-performance jitters occurred for my students when I had them practice job interviewing in front of the class.

Focus and intention mean game-on. I think that the challenge is to keep the intensity positively focused and not let yourself get into the fight or flight mode. It is so easy to step over that line and then intensity turns into aggression from fear.

What I would like to look into is how to keep the body and mind nimble, even when intense. I think that breathing awareness could be one approach Previsualization of success is another. This is the idea of setting an intention and recognizing the indicators of successfuly and effectively moving towards, course correcting and reaching the goal. Otherwise, it is difficult to ride the intensity and you can get lost in the journey.

November 4, 2013

Personal Practice Week 4 of 10

This week, how did you practice the following Emotional Intelligence competencies in relation to teaching, yoga, relationships, and consumption of resources?

This week I noticed a pain in my shoulder. It seemed to develop from carrying my bike on my shoulder and sleeping on my side. For the past four months I have had extreme muscle constriction in my right back shoulder blade and right side of my neck and this new pain seemed to be an extension. By Saturday it had become frozen shoulder.

Five years ago I developed frozen shoulder on my right side. Facing this again is a daunting prospect and I feel frustrated, sad and drained. However, at least this time I know what it is and am able to approach the situation with compassion and intelligence. 

As a "budding" yoga instructor I see this unfortunate injury as an opportunity. I've heard that sufferers are usually women between the ages of 40-60. I would like to discover how to deal with frozen shoulder for myself and then share that knowledge with others who have the injury.

In this situation I have empathy for myself. I am going to move slower, more deliberately and intelligently. The key is to relax, lengthen and strengthen. The rest of my body has to remain strong and flexible - as must my mind.

Social Skill
It is important to me that I move on with my life and not get stuck talking about this situation non-stop as though it is my total focus. Yes, there are moments of pain but I have to be present and not lost in the injury.