Describing the last couple of years as “challenging” is perhaps the biggest understatement anyone could make. We have all been coping with significant changes in our personal and professional lives due to navigating the pandemic. In addition, changes to how we do our jobs have required significant adjustments to our routines. My interactions and conversations with my Stenograph colleagues, the certified independent training agents, members of Ascend Training by Stenograph, and other customers in the industry demonstrate that nearly everyone has experienced that feeling of being overwhelmed.
That said: a lot of good has come from our experiences over the last two years. Unfortunately, we tend to forget or overlook how much we’ve achieved and continue to achieve because the unasked-for changes we’ve experienced have kept us focused on moment-to-moment, day-to-day struggles. But I’ve recently experienced two events that reminded me of the importance of taking a step back and getting some perspective, recognizing what we accomplish, and the importance of others in our ability to do what we do.
At the end of June, I attended Stenograph’s company-wide Ubuntu Summit. Although I’ll admit, I was more than a bit cynical about the value of spending two full days on a company culture exercise focusing on the concept of “I am because we are,” – I was certain that my time would be better spent on my never-ending to-do list! – I was proved wrong. In that session, I reconnected with the people I’ve worked with for many years and established relationships with fellow employees I’d never met in person before and have only worked with remotely. As I listened to their contributions at this summit, I realized how dedicated and passionate they are about the quality of their work; I saw that their standards are as high as mine. It was important and beneficial for me to have the opportunity to stop and see that. When people work remotely for an extended time, no matter how many meetings they have, they can feel isolated and detached; they can’t see or feel how much everyone is a part of the team. But I can do what I do because they facilitate my ability. Plus, we established goals for improvements we recognize that we need at the company and we’re continuing to work on them together.
Two weeks ago, I attended the NCRA convention in Orlando, and one of my duties was to represent Stenograph at the Awards Luncheon. As I listened to the list of names of reporters who qualified and won the National Speed and National Realtime Contests, I realized how many of them were my trainees and how many of the names I’m familiar with because I recognize them from our Certified Independent Training Agents’ quarterly training activity reports. I listened to the enthusiastic, heartfelt applause of the reporters at the luncheon recognizing their colleague’s achievements and realized that we contributed to their ability to succeed. Stenograph products and the training they received to use those products made a difference. They were able to do what they did because we had an impact on their ability. Plus, I continue to move forward, discovering new and better ways to help everyone in this industry work faster, more efficiently, and with greater productivity.
Reporters spend their days taking and producing a top-quality record of proceedings. I spend most of my time helping reporters. When we get caught up in our day-to-day struggles, we frequently lose sight of two important facts: first, that the time we spend accomplishes a lot in which we can take pride, and second, that we benefit from the help and hard work of many others to achieve what we do. This is the concept of Ubuntu – I am because we are.
So, when you’re overwhelmed and the problems and number of tasks on your to-do list feel insurmountable: take a moment to stop and reflect. Reconnect with the people in your life; acknowledge and appreciate them. Be open to accepting help as well as being the person who gives help. Know that what you do matters to the success of others, and what others do matters to your ability to succeed.
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend reading the terrific Stenograph blog posts “Strengthening Our Foundation” by Customer Care Manager, Megan McCrory, and “What is Ubuntu” by Jenny DuPrey, Marketing Manager. The concept of Ubuntu applies to everyone in the reporting industry.