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Fostering Positivity


LaTanya: You can tell that a person is smiling even over the phone or even over a podcast. And are you smiling? What are your muscles, your facial muscles, communicating right now? Are they tight? Are you holding on? Are you breathing? So that's another thing.
If you're working at the computer and you're holding your breath. So just inhale, exhale, and really think about what are your muscles communicating right now?


I’m Dan Baum and you’re listening to Redefine U. Join us as we continue to explore what happens when we’re challenged to change our thoughts, beliefs or even who we think we are.

Election Day is over, but the drama continues. Our country remains deeply divided. New COVID-19 case numbers are setting records, and millions are unemployed. How do we maintain positivity – or even our sanity – in the midst of so much suffering, fear and change?

Today we’ll talk with John Engelhart, from AACC’s Human Resources department, and LaTanya Eggleston, assistant professor of Communication at AACC, to hear their strategies for finding serenity and joy in trying times.

Dan: I want to welcome John Engelhart with the office of human resources at AACC. Hi, John. It's good to speak with you.

John: Hello, Dan. It's great to be here.

Dan: How long have you been at the college, and what is your role there?

John: I have been at the college now for going on eight months, and my role at the college, in the office of human resources, is I'm a compensation HRIS analyst. So doing a lot of work as far as compensation, working with our human resource information systems, and just anywhere else that I can chip in and just be part of the team and just help the overall human resources effort.

Dan: So if I'm following correctly, you had about two months under your belt or so before COVID hit.

John: Yep. That's right.

Dan: That must be an interesting way to start a new job.

John: It was very interesting. So just a bit of background... I was with the federal government for 20 years, and making a huge change to come and just start a brand new career and thinking to myself, "Man, you're already nervous and worried about starting a new career, and then you come to the college and it's like, oh, things are going great the first six weeks and then, boom, COVID hits. And you're just like, 'Man, now I have to figure out how to learn this job and do it well remotely, all of a sudden.'" So it was definitely a shock, but you're rolling with the punches.

Dan: Well, I normally ask how people are holding up during the pandemic, but that's really what I want to talk with you about, both your personal experience and what you see as an HR professional. So AACC staff are working remotely. Let's start there. Describe your current working situation and your home life.

John: So my current working situation and home life would include two children, my son, Brooks, is five and in kindergarten right now. My daughter, Zoe, is nine and she's in fourth grade. My wife works from home and they're doing a hybrid kind of working situation, and then myself... So it's a bit chaotic, but it's also good. We're making things work. We're finding solutions to make things work. I'm juggling a lot of things. I feel like I'm just doing a lot of juggling. But everything's working out so far, and we're just finding solutions to make things work every day, new ways to make it work.

Dan: And did I understand that you're also pursuing school yourself?

John: I am. Yes, I am. I'm halfway through completing my master's degree.

Dan: So you’ve got a lot going on.

John: Yes, sir.

Dan: And what is the setup you have at home? If you've got two working professionals and two students, how do you carve out space for everybody?

John: The three B's are the way that we're tackling this as far as our space and everything. And those three B's are balance, boundaries, and beer. Those are the three B's that are making this work. And I'll do my best to explain.

So balance, things have changed, the reporting structure of how things are getting done in a house, all of a sudden, laundry and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunch report to me. You have to being able to balance the work/life at home and just making sure to carve out that time for yourself, as well as your work.

Boundaries, making sure the setup, making sure we understand that this is Daddy's workspace, this is your school space for you, and that there are boundaries when Daddy's working. Just because I'm home doesn't mean that I'm here to retrieve Oreos and other snacks every hour. Daddy's working, you're in school. So setting up those boundaries and making sure that we enforce those boundaries during the day.

And then, finally, beer. I mean, being able to decompress at 5PM is important. Whatever your way of decompressing, whether it's beer or watching sports, thank God we have sports back now, any way you can decompress right now is important to just to be able to keep your sanity. So the three B's are the way we're maintaining.

A lot of people come to me and say, "What's another way that you're getting through this?" And I say, "You have to have things to look forward to in the future." And for me, having basketball to look forward to in the future is something like... That's getting me through. And it's interesting. The other day we had a situation come up. My daughter, who's nine, she saw a commercial for Disney World on TV. And she looks, and she's like, "Oh, Daddy, I want to go to Disney World so bad." And she's like, "We haven't been, and I want to go." And I'm thinking to myself, "Well, how can I give her this to look forward to to get through all the stuff that they've had to give up right now?"

So I told her, I said, "Zoe, I'll tell you what, when Daddy finishes his master's degree, we will go to Disney World." So she's like, "All right, that's great." And she's excited. So the other day, when the Ravens game came on, I was working on a paper. I closed my laptop, turned up the volume and started watching the Ravens game. And she came up to me. She goes, "What are you doing, Daddy?" She shut off the TV. She said, "Oh, no, you don't. You are working on that paper, because you're graduating and I'm going to Disney World."

Dan: That is genius. I love that.

John: Yeah, that check's going to come due here in a few years.

Dan: She has caught on to the balance part for sure.

John: Absolutely.

Dan: What about your home office setup? Did you have everything ready to go when we made the shifts? You're like, "Well, I got my own space. I'm ready to roll."

John: Before I came to the college, I did a lot of remote work for the federal government. I did a lot of travel, but I also did... I worked from home a lot, and I actually had a nice home office set up. So when I took the job with the college the beginning of this year, I said to myself, "I'm not going to need all this office equipment. I have a really nice office there on campus." So I actually sold a lot of my office stuff and turned what was my office into the kids' playroom.

Dan: Oh, my gosh.

John: So when COVID hit, and all of a sudden I'm working from home, I didn't have any office chair. So the only thing I had was a rocking chair. And I remember specifically one of the first Zoom sessions we had, and all I had was a rocking chair. And I think it was you who actually messaged me and said, "Hey, how you doing, old man, in your rocking chair? Are you knitting too?" And I said, "I'm sorry, it's the only thing I had was just this rocking chair."

Dan: I remember that.

John: Yeah. So needless to say, I have a nice setup now, a nice office chair, a nice desk. So we're good to go for the foreseeable future.

Dan: Well, obviously you're juggling a lot. But whether you're wearing your dad hat or HR hat... Do you see positives from the experience as well?

John: I do. When I think about what's going on right now, a lot of time people will tell me, "You have to look for the 2% truth in the hard times," or as I like to refer to them as the silver linings. You can make a list of all the things that really stink about right now, the things we can't do, and all that.

But I was telling my wife about this. I said, "You know what? Ten, 15 years from now, when my children are in college and they're out of the house, I don't want to look back at this time and say, 'You know what? I didn't get everything out of that I could have with that time with our kids,'" because when could this ever happen again? All of us at home together, working, going to school together and just having this time together, for me, being thankful that we actually have this time right now, is actually a blessing in disguise.

I mean, it really is a silver lining in all this. So for me, I'm going to hold on to that. I'm going to hold onto that and make sure that I just get everything out of it that I can, so that 15 years from now, when they're out on their own, I won't have any regrets.

John Englehart started a new career six weeks before the pandemic shut everything down. Despite the change, challenges and working from a rocking chair, John found a silver lining.

John refers to his strategy as the three Bs: balance, boundaries and beer. He also recommends having something to look forward to in the future. What are others ways we can stay positive and on course?

We’ll come back to John, but first let’s turn another colleague who exudes positivity. LaTanya Eggleston, is a life coach and assistant professor of Communications at AACC. How is she handling the pandemic? What does she do to remain so exuberant?

Dan: Okay. I want to welcome professor LaTanya Eggleston, who teaches communications at AACC. Hi, LaTanya. So good to talk to you.

LaTanya: Hello, Dan. It's great to talk with you as well.

Dan: How are you doing during this pandemic?

LaTanya: It has been an interesting journey, and I'm enjoying what I say, learn by doing. Learning by doing. So with the family support, with just having, I would say, just the joy of continuing to be able to do what I do, even though it's in a different medium, and it truly has been different, but learning with the pivoting of how we share what we do, has really kept me going and this household going.

Dan: So how long have you been at the college, and what do you typically teach?

LaTanya: Oh, sure. So I actually started full-time at the college in 2008, and teaching one of the things that I believe. So my background is communication from broadcasting, to radio, to public speaking. So I was so happy to get an opportunity to work with the college.

I guess this is now, who, 12 years. Yay.

Dan: Congratulations.

LaTanya: Thank you.

Dan: I'm assuming all of your classes are online now and if so, how has that shift been?

LaTanya: They are, they are. And the beauty is, I have taught online before, however, never 100% online. So when that happened in the spring, we had some conversation about it prior to spring break in all five classes. We talked about what this would look like and flexibility. I reminded them about their core values and it was like, "What do you want to flex? What other new core values might show up?"

So that communication about anticipating the unknown and embracing what we do know, truly helped with that shift going online.

Dan: Well, communications is near and dear to my heart as well and covers a lot of territory. You've taught a lot of different types of communications. We're communicating in a variety of ways during this pandemic. So what do you see? How similar or different do you feel it is BC, before COVID?

LaTanya: I believe that one of the first type of communication skills that I teach is intra communication. So intra communication skills, how do you communicate with yourself? And what I believe before, people might've been more involved and engaged with just getting their message out or communicating how they communicate with others. But what I believe now, people have now really been thinking about their own mindset more and thinking more about, how am I communicating with myself and is it the growth mindset, or am I stuck, unstuck? And then how does that impact how I interact with other people? So understanding that our thoughts truly translate into our behavior and how we respond and communicate with other people.

So I personally believe that, and I've seen and witnessed that, students have been more introspective and embracing and exploring, what is that like, what is my mindset truly, and how will that impact what's next in terms of my goals, in terms of just what I need to do differently within my home, within my community, and in my academics?

So before and after, I would say before, maybe the communication was more about, "Hey, here's what I want people to do, and this is what I feel like needs to be done." And now it's like they're pausing more and exploring intra communication. How are you communicating with yourself about what's happening in your circumstance?

Dan: I really liked that. It helps us think about how we want to then intentionally communicate with others and how we want to show up.

LaTanya: Yes.

Dan: I really like that perspective. You mentioned that you're learning by doing, so what are students or what are all of us learning and gaining most from this shift to more online communications?

LaTanya: Technology, technology. Love, love, love. And then not just that, I would also say, from a business perspective, thinking about how do you communicate with your clients? Well, that translates even as a professor. How do I can communicate with the students and potential students? How do we continue to recruit? How do we maintain? So how do we utilize technology to truly just support the desired outcome? And these are the goals, and people have set goals for themselves. So when I say learn by doing, as a professor, I had never done a YouTube channel. So I started playing with that. I was like, "Okay, how do I put these lessons out there? Or just a message to what I brought to the classroom face to face?" I wanted to continue to keep that momentum going and I believe, I truly believe, success occurs when you bring that enthusiasm, not just to the classroom, but just to your life.

And in spite of what's going on around us, in spite of if it's life, if it's society, I really truly wanted to promote thinking about things that we can control versus the things that we cannot. And so, again, it goes back to the mindset, it goes back to in communication, we talk about visualization. I teach a course that people fear the most and it's public speaking. And what I've noticed is people also fear technology. So there's another fear out there. So I'm working with both. It's like, "Okay, I don't want to be on screen." I'm like, "Newsflash your professor hasn't done this either." And I'm embracing that. So I'm learning by doing, and I think a lot of fear comes from because they don't know what they don't know.

And so as we're doing this together and working through it and not expecting ... In our textbook, it talks about this. Don't expect perfection. So when we talk about learning by doing, if it's public speaking, or even with technology, being flexible with that, and again, one of my core values is flexibility, and realizing again, there are things we can control and things that we cannot. So embrace that. Acknowledge it and know that what we picture, what we think, how we work around what it is that we "fear", if it's technology or public speaking, just understanding that there are a lot of people that are in the same experience and journey with us.

Dan: So since we're typically not in the same room communicating, what advice do you have to keep the conversation positive and conveying what you want to convey and not some of the negative that you may be feeling, some of that fear and other things that you might be in the background?

LaTanya: Oh, Dan, I love, love, love your questions. Two things. Number one, music. And for people who listened to music and think about the type of music you're listening to, and the rhythm, the beat, we talk about that. What are you listening to? What music supports and nurtures your positive energy?

And before a presentation or before a Zoom call, if you're playing that music to get yourself in the rhythm, just like a public speech is, it has a rhythm. You can definitely use that to channel how you will communicate verbally and non-verbally. So whether people are able to see you or not, music is one thing. And if it's not music, I tell people, think about what brings you joy. So it could be other things that ... Tap into, what are your morning rituals? Some people say they get up on one side of the bed or the other. So again, what is your mindset when you wake up? And it could be your I am statements. So I also go back to self-talk. What are you communicating to yourself? And your I am statement must support what it is you truly believe about who you are. Not just now, but where you want to be. So sometimes we get caught up in the now. Oh my gosh, now I'm watching the news, and I'm seeing all of this negative, but I know I am a role model.

And that's one of the things I tell some of my students who are parents. And I said, they sound like they're a little frustrated. Oh my gosh, all this is happening, but I remind them of their I ams. I see resilience. I see responsibility, even though you feel like you might not be organized. I still see time management. And I see role models. So I remind them, this is what I see, so let me hear you say, I am resilient. I am a role model to my children. So if this household is full, I'm a role model to the people who, even though I'm in this class and trying to do a class, they are aware I'm doing something different for my life now and again for the future where I'm going. So I think that's so critical and important to support people who seem frustrated with whatever that news is communicating, whatever politics, whatever. Let's focus on your household and where you see yourself and your legacy going because you are being resilient now.

Dan: I love what you're saying.

What I really zeroed in on was, when you talk about music and joy, what supports your positive energy. A lot of times when we hear that, it's about how to rejuvenate and refresh and find balance, but you're using it in a way to convey that energy when you communicate to other people. I love that. I also heard in there a word, joy. So I think that's something that's near and dear to your heart is finding some gratitude and joy in these times. Tell me a little bit about that.

LaTanya: Thank you. Two things come to mind. Because I am a coach, I have something called Coaching Connection with Nature and Coaching Connection with Cooking. So those are my two things.

Dan: I like both of those.

LaTanya: And what's lovely about both of those, whether there's a household of two, one, or 20, they can engage everyone. I feel like nature and cooking. I think about in communication, we talk about the basic needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs. So they're basic needs. We all have to eat. It doesn't matter what. We all have that in common, at the end of the day. So we need that. And so those will be the top two that come to my mind, even with my immediate family being out of the state, having that technology to be able to say, "Look at what's growing in the garden." So getting out and planting and having nature to support what I want to do in the kitchen.

And so that is, I would say, the most bringing me joy.

Dan: So how might others reframe to find similar gratitude and joy? What advice do you have for them?

LaTanya: Sure. I love brainstorming. And I would recommend just coming up with a list, writing down things that brought you joy or even connecting to your core values. So when I think about my core values, of course, it's family. So what can we do with family to have fun? And it could very well going back into bringing out the board games or thinking about creative ways to play in the kitchen. So I would say coming up with the list, everybody just put two or three items on a card of what used to be fun back in the day, to now, how can we create that now? Or again, continue to focus on what is the main thing for us.

I had a mentor that used to tell us, we were a group, a cohort, keep the main thing the main thing. And when I think about it ... Yes. You like that, Dan.

Dan: I like simple phrases that just kind of touch to the heart of, yeah, there you go.

LaTanya: Yes. Keep the main thing the main thing. And so when we start putting things and listing, here's what's important, here's what's exciting, it's just amazing what can come out in the household, in the backyard or even in the neighborhood, or a little drive or a walk. So I just feel like, however you get there, once you brainstorm what's important, what would you like to experience.

Just identify what was important to you, because that doesn't change. What was important to you? What has changed is probably how we play with what's important to us. So that's it. And once we identify and remind ourselves, this was important to me. Now let's brainstorm and think about what's available to us now. If I'm not physically able to go to the zoo, guess what? The zoo has that cam where we can check out the zoo, we can see the panda. So there's a couple of other things that we could do.

Dan: Of course, learning leads to redefining. That's what we're all about. So whether we're working from home or learning new ways of communicating, how might we be redefining ourselves or have the opportunity to redefine ourselves collectively at this point?

LaTanya: I love that question. When you think about redefining. I believe that happens every day for people. Right? I feel like when you wake up and you think about what is possible today, or when you go to bed thinking about what am I grateful for and what is my new goal. I just believe even before now, Dan, people want to make an impact. They want to be a role model.

I remember years ago when teaching online didn't happen. So when you think about if you have your own business, if you're working from home, or you are a homemaker, and you just have to think creatively about, again, I love this phrase, what is possible. And that's a part of the redefining, and redefining our ourselves.

So if I had a call to action, I would certainly ask people to think about, what are you able to do to redefine you and/or embrace change? And I feel like what happens is, you're not changing your core values. It is just changing how you embrace those core values.

Dan: Yeah. I like that. A lot of people use the term now, new normal, and that can refer to so many different things. When you think of that term going forward someday post-COVID, what do you hope to see will become the new normal?

LaTanya:                I believe the new normal is being open to the fact that change is inevitable, that life can bring so many different challenges or experiences. When I say life, it can be from our society, the government. There's so many things that might impact how we do business. And so welcome that. Understand that sometimes I feel people get so accustomed to, this is the way we've always done it. And we talk about that in our persuasive chapter about appeal to tradition. So are you appealing? That could be a fallacy. Appealing to tradition, or even appealing to novelty.

So what I would like to say, when I think about this new normal, I want to play with the new and the tradition and see what works and be okay with if tradition needs to be adjusted, or if what's new has to be revisited. And so I believe that will make a difference in the success. So when I go back to the lessons and the pursuits of excellence, when we're thinking about being successful or maybe being impactful in our family's lives, in our community and being an example in a role model, that new norm means I realize there's tradition, I realized there's new things that are happening, and I want to play with both.

LaTanya gave us so much to think about. She reminded us why positivity is so important. Our mindset affects our behavior, relationships and even success. LaTanya also shared ways to promote joy – through music, activities that nurture what’s important to us, and embracing change.

Let’s get back to John. John was already in the midst of change when the pandemic hit. He told us how he stays upbeat, but how did he get there? What are the values and routines that keep him going when the world isn’t so rosy?

Dan: Was there a time that was not positive for you? And then how did you shift out of that?

John: I think the lowest point, where it was most difficult to be positive during all of this, was probably around April, and probably around April or May. And you see the jobs numbers coming out, and you hear about so many people losing their jobs. Friends that I have were being laid off or furloughed, and you hear all of this, and you cannot help, yourself, be affected by that negativity and just be concerned yourself. So that was the lowest point for me. So what I did is I said to myself, "You know what? I can either sit here and feel anxious, nervous, or scared about the future or how it might affect my own career with the college or whatever...

What I did is I said, "How can I turn around and help others who are probably feeling the same way that I'm feeling, feeling nervous, being a new employee?" So what I did is I turned that around and I actually, with the approval of our team in the HR department, we actually started a new hire check-in. And what we did is we got together and, twice now, since the pandemic started, we've gotten together with new staff members, and we've just had a Zoom session for about an hour, where we all got together and we all just talked about what we're going through. And from an HR perspective, we gave them some tips on how to balance work and life and some tips about being a new employee and what to expect and how to learn about the college and the mission of the college and things that are going on.

So I think for me, that was an opportunity to take what could have been very negative for me and turn it around and make it something positive for other people. And we've been able to have that new hire check-in twice, and each time I feel like it's gone well. And it's actually created a sense of community where I'm sure some of them may have been feeling the same way. And I think it's helped. So I think that as we find more ways to turn whatever it might be negative to us and turn it into a positive, I think that's great.

Dan: That's fantastic. Love it. And that must have been good for you too, because you're a new employee as well.

John: Yeah, it was good, but also being the brainchild of it to do it, maybe in a way it was just going through it, and then also leading that, was good too, because I was able to think about what's bothering me. And then I was able to put it into the new hire check-in things to talk about. And I could tell that it was almost reaffirming, because that's exactly what they were experiencing too. So it was great. It's really given me a boost of confidence.

Dan: Well, I love that too, because so much of what you hear and how to help get out of whatever low point you might be in is to turn around and serve other people, that you just hear that repeatedly in various traditions. And it really is true. There's always someone who is in a greater need than you are, no matter what your situation is.

John: Yeah. I think that those are one of the things in life... One of the most rewarding things in life is to be able to serve others and not expect anything back, but just to serve, just simply because we're human beings that want to help others. And I think that's a great part of turning a negative into a positive, is just wanting to help other people.

Dan: Clearly you're reframing and redefining the situation. What advice do you offer others to try to do the same?

John: There's so many things that we can't control. We can't control the future. I cannot control what the future of the college of COVID, when this is going to be over, when we'll finally be in stage four and I can take my kids to an Orioles game. I can't control any of that. And I'm not going to stress myself out or burn all my brain cells out trying to figure out when that's going to happen.

But what I can control is how I show up to work every day, how I treat other people, how productive I am, and just coming to work every single day and understanding that it's a privilege to work for the college and come to work with an attitude that every day's an opportunity to help somebody else and do something great.

So those are the things I can control. I ask God, "Bring me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." So knowing what I can't control, I just can't worry about it. But knowing what I can control, and the things I mentioned, to me, that's critical.

Dan: That's so important right now. There's so much that we cannot control, and it's hard not to get overwhelmed by all of that.

John: Absolutely.

Dan: I also find what you're saying too, is I've been trying to concentrate each morning in the same way of intentionality of, how am I going to show up? Because if you just listen to everything that's going on, you can feel so out of control. Do you have any particular rituals or habits that you've established at home that allows you to concentrate in such a way that you say, "Okay, this is how I'm going to show up today"?

John: I think it goes back to the idea of balance for me. And I mentioned that every day is an opportunity to do something great for someone else. So I always refer back to coming to work for the college. My commute, when I worked in DC for the federal government, my commute was an hour-and-a-half each way. So when I took this job, I thought to myself, "Oh, man, great. My commute's going to be 10 minutes." Well, suddenly my commute is a hundred feet from my bed to my desk, which affords me some time to really be intentional about how I start my day.

So what I do... And my wife thinks I'm crazy. But what I do is I still set my alarm clock early. I set it for 6 a.m., and I walk every morning. I get outside, I get some fresh air, and I walk. And it's just some time for me to either pray or just reflect on the day that's coming. And it's almost a way to decompress before the day starts. And that's just something that I do. It's just a habit that I've kept. I've kept that ever since the first day that we went on spring break and it's helped to keep me sane. And I don't know how... Hopefully that would work for others, but it's worked for me so far.

Dan: That's great. I found when I had a long commute, that sometimes that allowed me to transition from the office to home, because I could reflect. And when I have a really short commute, and even more so at home, there's less time for that. So if you don't build in some of those rituals, you don't get that chance for that other B you had, which was boundaries.

John: Yeah. I totally agree. And it's so critical. Normally on the ride home, that would be our way of decompressing or just refocusing to get ready to shift from being the worker to being Dad, to being a dad and a husband, which is the most important role in my life.

And I remember something interesting that happened to me. The federal agency I worked for was the postal service. And I remember I was about 30, and I was working as a postal supervisor, Being a postal supervisor is one of the hardest jobs in the world. And it's prepared me for what I've had to do.

But I would come home. And eventually one day I came home, and I was so disgruntled, and my wife looked at me and she said, "Oh, my God, it's finally happened." I said, "What? What happened?" She goes, "You've turned into Norman from Seinfeld." I said, "What?" She goes, "Yeah, you've turned into Norman. You've finally become disgruntled." And I realize what I was doing wrong was that I was bringing home with me everything that was stressing me out, and I was bringing it home and I was sharing it with my family.

So it actually prompted me to want to change career and improve my career at that time. So now, without that commute to come home, like you mentioned, Dan, to just reframe or just refocus on coming home, now, I actually schedule in a half an hour. When I logoff on my computer, I schedule a half an hour between logging off and just... It's just a half hour of me time just to decompress. And then I go with my family. And that half hour is Dad, his decompress time before I go and I can give my all to them, because I don't have that commute time anymore.

Dan: So you've got a lot of these different tips and rituals. And so what do you most want to hang onto from this time when you think going into the future?

John: I honestly, I really want to hang on to everything that's happened to me during this time. And I think what's happened to us collectively as a group, going through this, both as college employees and as a country, or just as humans in nature going through this together, what I hope to take with me is what I have learned going through this. I want it to help me be a better HR professional, a better father, a better husband, and an overall better human being.

For example, what I mentioned as an HR professional, all the ways that we've learned to be innovative right now. For college in general, I mean, look at how innovative we've been at the college to kind of just adapt to this change. And I'm just in awe of all the great things the college has done. And I just hope that the college and myself, as well, takes this innovative spirit and keeps it going when we get back on campus.

And so that's one thing I'm going to take with me. I'm going to continue to try and be innovative in the ways that I help employees at the college. And as a husband and a father, I'm going to take the lessons that I've learned to be thankful for the silver linings. I'm going to take that moving forward. When things get back to normal, I don't want to forget how I learned about these silver linings. I want to still continue to be thankful.

And I think I'm going to take the three beers with me too, the three B's. I'm going to still have... I think the beer is still going to be important. I think that's still going to be important, but before, I think we're still going to need that decompress time. So I'm definitely going to take all those things with me moving forward, and hopefully it makes me an overall better person.

Dan: All good advice. I just love this idea of better human. If we all had that attitude, that we're all striving to be better humans, things would just be naturally better.

John: Amen, brother. I agree. Absolutely. And in the end, one of the things that drew me to HR work was the fact that we're human beings looking to just have great careers and help others. For me, personally, that's why I became an HR professional. I wanted to help other people. And working in the federal government, unfortunately, people become numbers. They become nothing more than a number. And I wanted to change that. And that's why I got into human resources, because I wanted to help other human beings not only become better professionals, but maybe in a way, maybe help them become better humans. And that's what I love about the work I do. Every single day you have an opportunity to help other people, other human beings. And it's great. I love it.

Dan: That's great. I can tell. Well, John, thanks for sharing your perspective. There's just so much negative in the world right now. It's just great to hear your positive point of view.

John: Yeah. Thank you for having me, Dan. And I think that's what's going to carry us all through is being positive. I think that's what it's going to take, being intentional and being positive. And I just thank you for the time to talk to you. It's been great to talk to you and just hear your perspective on things as well.

Dan: Well, thanks for all that you're doing for AACC employees and for our community.

John: Thank you, Dan.

Dan: Take care and be well.


John and LaTanya both talked about the things we can’t control versus what we can. As individuals, we can’t control an election, a pandemic, or other people’s behavior. We can, however, control our actions and our own mindset. We have power over the way we show up to work, to our families and even within our own thoughts. 

What do we do when we hit a roadblock? Do we get stuck, give up or do we find a different mode of transportation?

Like so many good things, positivity doesn’t just happen. We have to choose it and nurture it with flexibility, an openness to learning, by helping others and expressing gratitude. We shouldn’t expect perfection. It’s the journey that makes us better humans.


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