EDGE – Let It Burn

To kick off 2021 and EDGE’s Q1 theme of CHANGE, the January session took a deep dive into Glennon Doyle’s bestselling memoir Untamed with a focus on the chapter “Let It Burn”.  Difficult and thought-provoking discussion questions were posed to the group that sparked insightful and open dialogue around the concept of the world’s memos and how Doyle encourages her readers to let those memos burn in pursuit of constantly developing your own truth.  Doyle writes, “Destruction is essential to construction.  If we want to build the new, we must be willing to let the old burn.”

Digging deeper into the chapter, the topic of social justice and the memos that are created around its perception kept the group’s focus for the majority of the session.  Doyle writes, “I let burn my cherished, comfortable idea of America as a place of liberty and justice for all.  I let a truer, wider perspective be born in its place, one that included the American experience of people who don’t look like me.”  Discussing our own experiences since the June’s re-sparking of the BLM Movement brought a variety of viewpoints and perspective in accepting a new way to view privilege and justice not only in America, but all over the world.

The Only Constant Is Change

You may be familiar with the saying, “you can’t step in the same river twice.” Originally said by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who is known for his doctrine that change is central to how the universe works. The exact quote actually goes:

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” (source: https://iep.utm.edu/heraclit/)

Whether this statement resonates with you or not, change is an unavoidable part of human existence. And even so, we often find ourselves resisting it. Perhaps most often in the face of fear, the longing for nostalgia, or simply in seeking comfort, we cling to the familiar.

Here at Match Retail, we’ve been thinking about (and experiencing) a lot of change lately. A new agency identity, a new government administration, pandemic uncertainty, and rapidly evolving social justice conversations – to name a few. Which is why EDGE, our diversity leadership initiative, has chosen our Q1 theme as change.

We started the year with a book discussion on a chapter from Glennon Doyle’s bestselling memoir, Untamed. In the chapter, titled “Let It Burn,” Doyle inspires readers to let burn the memos that the world has issued in pursuit of our own truth. One of these memos brought us to the topic of social justice and kept us there. Doyle writes,

“I let burn my cherished, comfortable idea of America as a place of liberty and justice for all. I let a truer, wider perspective be born in its black, one that includes the American experience of people who don’t look like me.” (76)

The theme of change will propel us through February’s recognition of Black History Month and Women’s Month in March. Individually and as a collective, Match Retail is eager to continue to address these topics and the change that is needed to create a world that we want to live in.

Heraclitus’ theory describes “Becoming” as a constant state of flux in our universe, meaning we must always be willing to let go of the past in order to embrace the future. And with that, we will leave you with a final quote from Doyle that will hopefully inspire you to burn your memos and greet the flux of our world with open arms, “We are only alive only to the degree to which we are willing to be annihilated. Our next life will always cost us this one.” (74)

See you in our next life,

The EDGE Team

Take charge and manage your mental fitness

Last month our teams attended a Mental Fitness virtual training with Howatt HR Consulting to help gain a deeper understanding of what mental fitness is, what impacts our mental fitness and insights for managing our mental health both in the workplace and at home.

Howatt HR Consulting is a human resource firm focused on psychological health and safety in the workplace. Their vision is to see thriving organizations where health and productivity are connected and an intentional part of the day-to-day culture.

In this training session we learned important and valuable ways that employers can support employees’ mental health. This can be particularly beneficial during difficult times like the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. One way we learned to do this is to provide employees an opportunity to develop a mental fitness plan, a proactive approach to reducing the risk of mental health issues and addictive disorders. This plan is a great way to help to support employees in developing and strengthening their mental health.

With our people at the forefront of our organization, the Mental Fitness training made it clear to understand and appreciate the value in training our minds. The more we train and prepare our mental health for strain, the better our minds will be able to manage demands put upon it, and more quickly we can recover when we do experience difficult times. The environment plays a big role, which is why employers who are committed to developing psychologically safe workplaces and leaders are in a much better position to support employees’ mental health.

So how do we create this plan and better yet, stick to it? Well, it has been said that we have two brains, the conscious brain, and the unconscious brain, but we cannot control how they communicate with each other. If our mind is wandering, our conscious brain can benefit from calming. If we are restless and feel tense and anxious, our unconscious brain can benefit from calming. We cannot just tell it to calm down; we need to engage it in activities that create calm. When we can calm that part of the brain, we feel it in our body.

It is important to stick to your plan but often time like any fitness routine or plan it can be easy to “fall off the wagon” when other things tend to take priority over even ourselves. Stick to your mental fitness plan by regularly tracking and monitoring progress. Journaling is a powerful way to record what you are doing so you can go back and review your progress. When you are feeling down, an objective record can remind you that there are good and bad days. Making time for yourself and your mental health will allow for a clear mind and open heart both in the workplace and at home.

EDGE – Gratitude in the Workplace

EDGE, “Empowering Diversity Growth & Equality in Leadership.” Edge is a group focused on engaging staff in conversations around leadership, inclusive work practices and diverse perspectives. By meeting every month and consciously focusing attention on broader issues in the industry and the world, EDGE helps identify gaps in perspective and leadership to identify shortcomings and solves for them.

For the month of December, EDGE built off of October’s theme of “Leading with Empathy” and focused specifically on “Gratitude in the Workplace”. Since it was the holiday season, a time where expressing gratitude comes more naturally, we felt it was a good theme to discuss for the end of 2020.

We explored the importance of gratitude in the workplace, highlighting benefits such as the cultivation of a better working environment, the building of trust, a higher degree of job satisfaction, and an overall boost of good feelings.

We noted, however, that many managers actually avoid giving praise. The possible reasons for this reluctance may include that for many managers, giving feedback is hard, so they tend to avoid it altogether. Some may view it as a sign of weakness; some may consider positive feedback more optional than mandatory; and sometimes the moment simply passes.

We poised the question to the group, “Can’t I just say thanks?”. Many agreed that, while saying “thank you” is a great start, if you’re looking to make a meaningful impact, consider a personalized approach that is viewed as valuable to the recipient. We discussed a few ways that we can extend gratitude with our peers but then noted that not everyone is the same.

We dove deeper into the concept of gratitude by reviewing the contents of the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organization by Encouraging People” by Gary Chapman & Paul White (2018). The book applies the “love language” concept to the workplace, recognizing that at work, people express and receive appreciation in different ways. As a result, if individuals try to express gratitude in ways that aren’t meaningful to their coworkers, the coworkers may not feel valued at all.

As part of this session, we focused on four of the Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Tangible GiftsQuality TimeWords of Affirmation, and Acts of Service.  While some people may thrive by receiving praise in front of others, it may make others uncomfortable. Similarly, some people, whose language of appreciation is Acts of Service, would prefer the approach of “Don’t tell me you care; show me”. Upon diving into each of these Languages of Appreciation, we encouraged participants to take a minute and answer two questions:

1. How do you usually express appreciation in the workplace?

2. What is your language of appreciation?

To no surprise, participants had a wide variety of answers. Armed with this new perspective of gratitude, we concluded the session by discussing a few points on immediate, actionable items that each employee can do to actively share gratitude. These included things like starting at the top (hearing “thank you” from your boss goes a long way), thanking the unsung heroes, providing many opportunities for gratitude, and, in the wake of crisis (or a pandemic), taking the time for Thanksgiving.

Match Retail Launches to Employees

December 2, 2020 we kicked off our new beginnings as Match Retail internally with our staff. With much anticipated excitement, passion and support shared collectively in our vision for the future. We undoubted have the best of the best people in our agency and know this launch has brought us all to a collective place to drive growth and success with our clients.