Survive and Thrive during challenging times

Automatic Summary

Surviving and Thriving During Challenging Times

I'm excited to share my thoughts on a topic that I hadn't structured any thinking around until I had to — surviving and thriving during challenging times. This is new territory for me. And like many, I wondered if I was even qualified to speak about it. However, after some reflection, I realized that we've all faced challenging times throughout the global pandemic. And in the face of these challenges, we've also found opportunities for growth, resilience, and change.

Understanding the Power of Navigating Micro Moments

First, let's talk about the power of navigating micro moments. Remembering that it's not one big thing to overcome, but many small moments of difficulty that pass as intensity fades. In facing a new challenge or obstacle, remind yourself of this concept. When applied to training for something as tough as a triathlon, or overcoming a professional hurdle, it's always useful to remember that every moment has an end sight, and you will overcome it eventually.

Visualizing Your Journey

Secondly, visualizing the end goal can help us navigate through challenging times. Whether it's in product management or personal life, having a clear start and definite finish prevents things from lingering forever without resolution. However, remember that the end doesn't signify everything going perfectly. Rather, it includes visualizing the difficult moments you'll encounter along the way and planning how you'll work through them.

Growth, Openness, Vulnerability, Humility

Lastly, humility, openness, vulnerability, and growth take on a whole new meaning during challenging times. It's essential to exhibit these traits especially when others are looking up to you during challenging times. It's okay to admit you're wrestling with challenges and it's even more okay to ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for help, trying to do it all yourself is not a sign of strength. It is a surefire way to not getting there fast enough or even worse, much dreaded burnout.

Wrapping Up

Remember, during challenging times, it's most important to surround yourself with a strong team and people that encourage you to grow. Be kind, remain trusting and primarily, be gentle with yourself. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Here's hoping that these insights won't just help you work through difficult times but also help you find your own method to thriving and surviving during such times.

Video Transcription

Memorandum, the VP of product UX and design uh and research at daily pay. And I've spent most of my career in this space. Now, I really love what I do.So normally I get asked to share thoughts on product management, user experience, managing teams and things of that nature. Uh But matter of fact, I'm here to discuss a topic that I hadn't structured any thinking around until I had to and not because I wanted to. But because I, I really had to um surviving and thriving during challenging times, no one sets out thinking I'm gonna make this a challenging time, but it happens and it can seem insurmountable. This is a new topic for me to speak about and of course, typical to many women. I had that moment of wait. Am I even qualified to speak about this topic? But once I reflected a little, I found more than a few moments that I could speak about. You might be thinking challenging times. Hm. She's gonna talk about the pandemic, isn't she? Well, yes and no, challenging times often come on an individual basis or to a small group, but collectively, we've experienced something in the pandemic that changed us all. It was a forced reset for many of us. One we didn't ask for, but one that made us pause and rethink our approach because it was so widespread. It gave us something else that we rarely have collective empathy truth is I'm grateful for it now.

That's not probably a popular opinion, but it taught me a lot. I didn't ask for it, but it gave me a perspective I needed and it tested my resilience and it's not like many of us had a choice. I'm willing to bet good money that not a single person here said, ah, let's make it a worldwide pandemic that will forever change the way we think about working leading teams and managing our health and our families. We've experienced, uh, we've experienced this but challenging times don't need to be at the scale of a widespread pandemic to feel difficult. So, I believe we have a poll. Uh, please correct me if I'm, I'm wrong, but you can just answer, you know what? We don't need a fancy poll. Let's just answer in the chat here. Simple, yes or no. How many of you would say that you're dealing with a challenging time right now? Perhaps you're, uh, taking care of a sick, uh, loved one or feeling a little burnout at work or maybe having trouble balancing parenting with the demands of work. I'll take a look here at the chat in case anyone's uh on there. Ok. Well, I'm not seeing that, uh go through.

So, uh, so we'll, we'll chalk that up to a little technical difficulty, but I'm, I'm willing to assume that there's a fair, a fair amount of, you're

right. Dar, there's always just a tiny bit of a lag. So they are totally coming through. Now. You got lots of yeses. Um, some saying, collective empathy. Yes. Yes. Yes. So you're on the right track. Perfect.

OK. Good, good, fantastic. So uh I have a playbook that applies to all uh across all types of challenges and it doesn't need to be a pandemic level challenge. Although now that we have now we have some experience with that under our belt, don't we? Um So first, the first thing uh is the power of navigating micro moments. I received some great advice many, many years ago from a friend as I was taking on a personal quest of mine. It has stuck with me through the years and I keep coming back to it over and over again. Uh Just recently, it has helped me uh through yet another challenge that I've albeit willingly taken on, which is training for a triathlon. The lesson my friend gave me was to always remember something when you're facing that challenge. It's not one big thing to overcome. It's many micro moments of difficulty. And remember this as intense as it feels in that moment, each micro moment always passes every time I face a new challenge or obstacle and training, I have to remind myself of this in that moment, no matter how long it is. And it's usually pretty, relatively short. It will feel like there's no end in sight, but there is.

And because you've gotten through micro moments before, do not lose the opportunity to know that you will uh find a way through, you will look back at this moment and have it give you the confidence that you will overcome. The next one. I distinctly remember years ago in my car on my way home from work, uh It was a, it was a tough day. I was worn down, doubting that I would be able to overcome a challenge I was having at work. It was a doozy and I just wasn't seeing the path to success. That was a micro moment I had to despite it going against everything I was feeling in that moment, remind myself that I had succeeded before. So why not? Now, that is precisely the moment when you need to remind yourself, it was hard then to you're just remembering the success, not the bumpy journey that got you. There, there is real power in learning to identify and then navigate these micro moments. Second, visualizing the finish line gives us the path but also the mile markers, visualizing the end to something and what might that might look like is essential in working through challenging times. In product management. My guidance is always that you need a clear start and a discreet finish or things will linger forever without getting out. That's demoralizing to you, your teams and the company same thing applies here.

And if you're thinking the end will never come, imagine what your teams are thinking, you have to paint that picture that vision of what the outcome could be with that. You know, that every step that you take is progress to get there. Imagine a virtual progress bar uh For those of us who like building product and like user experiences. When you are leading others through challenges, there are lots of ways of going about this. But you could, for example, as Elaine mentioned, uh actually in, in her um uh talk just a few minutes ago, write the press release for what the future holds or use any number of frameworks to communicate this. If you can't see it clearly yourself, that's OK. Start writing something down. Usually the rest starts to come to you when you do that. For me, this plays a massive role in how I personally handle challenges. For example, now, now that I'm preparing for a triathlon, I use visualization almost every time I train and visualizing the finish line doesn't need to be the most successful and positive version of the truth. My vision of success doesn't include everything going great. Actually, it it might surprise you to know that I purposely think of difficult moments I will encounter and imagine how I'm, I am going to work through them when they come. Because one thing I absolutely know is that they will come.

Third growth, openness, vulnerability and humility take on a whole new meaning. During challenging times. I had someone who worked for me some time back who constantly doubted herself unnecessarily because she was extraordinary. Still is, by the way, we, we still stay in touch.

Uh I actually hope she's watching today so she knows that I'm, I'm saying that publicly. Uh one day I took her to an event where I was speaking and I have to admit, uh I was quite nervous. Uh to this day, I still get nervous. Uh She looked at me in shock and said, wait, you get nervous but you seem so confident. Listen, we're all out there nervous and figuring it out. No one has their stuff fully together and that's ok during challenging times, especially when you're reflecting about it. After it passes, people seem to think that only strength and stoicism will be valued. I challenge that there's never a wrong time for humility, but it's especially important during challenging times because you're going to need to show that you're human. When the pandemic began, I kicked into high gear, typical type a uh you know, problem solver. But I kicked into high gear thinking that's what my team needed to see, but that was wrong. They needed to know that it was hard for me too, that I needed to give myself a break once in a while and that I was gonna remain committed to growing and helping them through it when you don't know the path it's ok to get help from those who may help you carve that out in my training.

I had to have the humility to get help. So I got a coach and I'm grateful I did because really, I do not know what I'm doing. I need someone to tell me um how to, how to, how to prepare for something like that in my career. When facing uncharted territory, I turn to my leadership coach. She's an expert in what she does. And I'm not afraid to admit that I need to ask for help when I'm not clear, get help, trying to do it all yourself is not a sign of strength. It is a surefire way to not getting there fast enough and potentially burn out, find and work with the experts. If you can, they're there to help you. I think about my son and what I want to teach him, it's not that success comes easily and naturally while I grind in pain behind the scenes, it's that I worked hard. I tried and that I was open to learning and even when I failed, I tried again, no matter how large or small the challenge you are. Uh the challenge you are in seems that is not the time to suck it up or goodness help us man up. It's the time to embrace growth, openness, vulnerability and humility. That is what will make you stronger on the other side. And that is what others will remember about you. Uh Thank you for taking the time to come listen to me today.

Uh Some of you may have uh attended the session earlier with some incredibly talented women that I get to work with at daily pay every day. Talk about being humbled. That's also way, way up there. At a recent uh teen happy hour, I looked around and I was truly taken aback to see how many really talented women we've brought to product engineering and design at daily pay. They make me wanna show up every single day. So I leave you with this thought. We're only as strong as those we surround ourselves with trust in each other. Be kind to each other and mostly be kind to yourselves. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to you today to share a little bit about an area that I haven't uh uh spoken about in depth. Um But always great to reflect on uh and to share anything I've learned along the way.

Thank you so much d for sharing your story and kind of, you know, reflecting as you go at the same time and we've just shared in the chat that if anyone has questions for you, we do have time to do that. So we do have a few more minutes. So that's perfect. But um because we have this time together still d here, I'm curious like when you do this exercise of, you know, coming to speak here and you said, you know, you're someone who still does get nervous and you're sharing a personal story. Is there anything that you would share that you did to kind of prepare in advance for that or like be in a, in a space to be able to share your story in that way?

Yeah. You know. Absolutely. Um Many, many years ago um II, I realized something about myself, right? And, and you're always going to be nervous by the way, that's just a very natural human uh human response. But there was a moment in life where I stopped trying to be what I thought others wanted to me to be and expected me to be and just showed up in the most authentic way that I could, meaning I brought my whole self to my job, to my family, to my life. And once I started doing that, it enabled me to, to become a stronger storyteller. And what is, what is speaking to others, if not storytelling. It's one of the things that I look for when I'm hiring um for product you action design because it is that storytelling that allows you to, to, to connect in a meaningful way. And that's really where you start to see, um, you know, start to see the, the benefits, right? So this event and I'm sure there's a lot of folks on watching right now. Uh, I, I probably should be more nervous than I am but knowing that I'm just bringing myself to the table is what helps me kind of overcome that and prepare.


kind of relaxes you into it, doesn't it? Because, you know, you're being your authentic self. So what, you know, what could go wrong if you're being you right in that same sense and, and if it does like you're being true to yourself and we can like hang our hat on that. Right. Yeah. What about um what about finding the like root of the story that's worth sharing? Um Is there anything that comes to mind for you there? Like, you know, sometimes we think, OK, I'm being me and I'm telling my story, but what part of my story are people going to find interesting and resonate with any tips there?

D um Yeah. No, that's, that's a good question and, and relevant here because this is, this is a topic that I honestly when, when we talked about me coming here to, to chat with you all, I thought, well, what am I going to say about this? Um Right. So, so, you know, it's the same is true. Like when you're interviewing, uh I always look for example. So I sit here and I don't, I don't naturally come up with like, oh, let, let me just, like, spit out the speech. Right. I think about, um, well, you know, what might, what are the kinds of things that might cause challenges, you know, and I write those down and then I think about, well, reflecting back. Have I, have I been through that? Have I witnessed that? Have I seen others go through that? Um, sometimes and, and my team can attest to this, I'm sure they'll probably writing in a, in a chat. I crowdsource, I reached out to some folks in the team and say, hey, tell me, tell me about some of those experiences that you've had here. So there is a little bit of leg work and research that goes into that. Um It's not just self reflection, right? It's as I mentioned, you know, when I need help, I, I go to a coach and get the guidance. I need same thing applies here. Like do your research and go go, you know, find out, um, you know, good examples that will help prompt more thinking.

Yeah, I think that's great advice. Um I think so often when we do these things too, especially when we are telling our own stories, we think, well, it has to just be me because it's my story. But the reality is like you can tell our own story and still use examples from other people's experience that we draw in or just like hear what resonates from our peers when we're asking those questions. So very good advice to thank you for that.


Now, it's funny, we have many, many wonderful comments in the chat for you, but no glaring questions at this point in time. But I encourage you to go in there and pop in and see because we have many people really resonating with what you're saying, especially about kind of bringing our whole self to the table rather than compartmentalizing something and saying that like what you're sharing is really refreshing um for them to hear probably because it's resonating because maybe they felt the same way to some degree.

So um thank you again, D for being with us today at the Women Tech Global Conference.