I recently replied to a group email in a way that confused everyone. It wasn’t my usual work day and due to overseas time zones, I thought I would respond promptly to this enquiry. Turns out that multi-tasking by trying to get the kids out the door and responding to a work email is a recipe for disaster. No one in the group email seemed to mind but I kicked myself for days for making that mistake. But if my child or teammate makes a mistake, I would say to them it is “ok to make mistakes, we’re all human and are not perfect, try to learn from it”. Easier said than done when it’s my own mistake. Most people say they are significantly more compassionate, understanding, and kinder to other people than they are to themselves. Especially when they make a mistake or fail in some way. Self criticism is often seen as heroic, maybe even noble. Many people think it is the shortest path to self-improvement. But is it?
Being compassionate to others involves being open and empathetic to their suffering and wanting to ease their distress. It also involves offering patience, kindness and non-judgmental understanding to others. It is recognising that we are not perfect and we make mistakes. Self-compassion is the same, just turned inward.
Lack of self-compassion has been linked with poorer health and a weaker immune system. The main blocker to self-compassion is the belief we need to hard on ourselves. We might be concerned that if we are kind to ourselves, we won’t get anything done. We can often get stuck in a self-critical cycle, resulting in anxiety, anger or depression. We can counteract this emotional suffering with self-compassion.
Self-compassion is linked to reducing anxiety and depression. People who practice self-compassion are more socially connected to others, calmer, and feel more fulfilled. They have better coping mechanisms to deal with failure and are less likely to fear failure. Self-compassion is positively associated with the ability to learn, grow, and achieve mastery.
Think about the last time you made a mistake or failed at something. Maybe a setback that happened a long time ago. What was your inner voice saying? There are many ways of building self-compassion. By practicing ways to be easier on ourselves, we can begin to cultivate an attitude of kindness, warmth, concern, understanding, and strength within us, and then use this attitude to respond to our own struggles, rather than reverting to our usual self-critical habits. Like for example, being kinder to ourselves after the holiday season. And with that, happy holidays and a happy new year!
In our workshop for Leading Engineering Teams in early December, we were so pleased to have nine people who were originally from seven different countries, representing six companies, and joined in from four different time zones. We also had more women than men for the first time in one of our own workshops. Thank you so much to those who joined us and we wish you all the best of luck for future learning, challenges, and growth 🖤
Our next Leading Engineering Teams workshop is on the 21st–24th February 2022. Early bird tickets are now available to secure your spot!
We attended the Agile Aus 2021 conference earlier in the month at Sofitel Melbourne after countless lockdowns since May 2020. There was a great selection of speakers covering topics that included leadership, purpose, climate change, digital rights, human values, business agility, digital transformation, and more. It was great to see how the concept of agile has evolved over the past 20 years. There was heaps of learning and it was particularly wonderful to meet people with their smiles on!
Disco Labs have hired four junior engineers which started the JEA about a month ago. The new engineers are hired at market rates and get to participate in a structured six-month learning program. Elle has been working with the new engineers one day a week remotely.
In the last Ruby AU meet-up for the year, earlier this month, Elle gave a talk on
fetch in Ruby. You can find the recording at https://youtu.be/ynJqPdQBx_k
Building an anti-racist organisation — Textio looks at organisational changes at their company, like where they work, how they take breaks, how they pay, and how much mental health is important.
A twitter thread on rethinking live coding interviews, for any company wanting to hire women, from underrepresented groups and those with performance anxiety.
Do you know how each person on your team likes to work? — taking the time to learn your team’s language will create a stronger working relationships, reduce misunderstandings, and increase team performance.
Speed up by slowing down by Simon Gerber. About achieving a sustainable pace in software development.
Reflections on burnout by Vaidehi Joshi. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight — it happens brick by brick, one decision after another.
I co-founded Buildkite, a CI/CD company, and am currently co-CEO and Head of Marketing. I’ve always loved developer communities and conferences (that’s how I met Lachlan and Elle), so the chance to build tools for developers and get to foster those communities, fills me with joy!
Unlearning ways of working as our company grows (we’re now 40+ people), and creating that sense of shared clarity and plan you naturally have at smaller sizes.
Being proud of my work is super important to me… and I really love small details of thoughtful design (sometimes to a fault 😅 — ask me about my preferences for capitalising buttons).
I helped direct and launch a new developer conference (https://unblockconf.dev/21) and a new product (https://buildkite.com/test-analytics). But also after countless lockdowns and failed bread attempts, I’m pretty happy with my recent sourdough baking results too, which you can see on my “make yourself a self-care sandwich” Twitter thread I’ve kept going since my early attempts:
Putting my dough into the oven, turning on at 300 degrees to quickly just warm it up a little, and then forgetting to turn it off after 30 seconds.
Usually it would be bouldering, riding my bike around Melbourne, and friends. But COVID lockdowns have made those things difficult.
Find a mentor much more experienced than you, that believes in you, and use their encouragement and energy to shake things up and nudge you to grow.
More tax on the rich and on companies, and distributing that to industries that aren’t economic growth drivers but important for the soul (humanities, arts, education, childcare).
Be brave, make it through lockdown in one piece, spend more time with family.
Since we’re on the topic of self-care sandwiches, here’s one of our favourite combos: kimchi cheese toastie!
2 tbsp butter
2 slices of bread
2 slices of cheese of your choice
Some slices of tomato, lightly salted
1/2 cup kimchi, drained and roughly chopped
Spread the butter on the inside of the bread slices. Place a cheese slice on top of one piece of bread. Top with tomato and then kimchi. Add the second cheese slice. Close sandwich, and spread soy mayo on the outside of the sandwich.
Heat the sandwich in either a sandwich press on in a heavy pan, until golden brown, and cheese is thoroughly melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with some more salt and serve immediately.
Thank you for showing an interest in our newsletter and we hope that you enjoyed the read. Wishing you and your families an end of year break filled with food, love, and laughter ⭐️
Until next time, keep learning!
Everyone at Blackmill