EP 73: How to Handle Stress During Transitions with Melissa Marsh

How to Handle Stress During Transitions

For almost everyone, the last two years have been a long roller-coaster of emotions and stress. During this time, it has become more important than ever to take care of ourselves to ensure we’re navigating these transitions and changes with a clear and healthy mindset. So, how do we approach this within our businesses? Here to help us answer this question is Melissa Marsh, HR Consultant for LP Insurance Services.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • The power of self-care and meditation. (4:25)
  • How to navigate change and transitions. (5:30)
  • The importance of setting boundaries. (11:30)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Take care of yourself. (19:26)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Have an open and learning mindset. (18:53)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“Meditation is a lifeline.” - Melissa Marsh Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to talent optimization we have been chatting over the last month about HR self care and many different ways that we support ourselves and our organization.

Traci Scherck: And today, I have a guest on the podcast that is chatting with us a little bit about transitions and how we handle stress so Melissa marsh is with us from Reno so but Melissa is an HR consultant for LP insurance services so so welcome to the show.

Melissa Marsh: Thank you so much Tracy happy to be here.

Traci Scherck: yeah you know, and I always find like the origin stories of how we met and and you know how individuals kind of ended up here to be something fun and we actually met through predictive index.

Traci Scherck: You know, through implementing talent optimization for our clients and really just kind of connected on that strategic HR level, and this belief that HR can be fun.

Melissa Marsh: Absolutely absolutely and you are such a wealth of information when it comes to PI and talent optimization so I look to you as.

Melissa Marsh: Just a guru in that area.

Traci Scherck: Oh well, thank you, thank you, thank you so one of the things we were chatting about ahead of time is you know, the last two years have been the last two years, so tell me a little bit about kind of how you’ve navigated that and how you’ve really kind of bridged this.

Traci Scherck: Last couple year period into really fulfilling work for yourself and ensuring your clients have the best service.

Melissa Marsh: Oh Tracy the last two years have been the massive roller coaster of all time right.

Melissa Marsh: Being 20 years in 20 plus years into HR and then having to deal with a pandemic was not what I saw coming, and I think you spend that much time in a career.

Melissa Marsh: You might encounter burnout anyway, but then you add that stress of a pandemic and it’s almost inevitable, so what i’ll say is when it all started I.

Melissa Marsh: Had this just big push and focus on making sure that my clients and really any small businesses in our Community had some support because, of course, no one knew.

Melissa Marsh: First of all, what to expect but also really what to do and how even to monitor all the regulations that came out that businesses are responsible for following so I started off gung Ho.

Melissa Marsh: And dedicated to making sure that clients were being well served, and that even the Community if I had any any way to reach out and do it, we did some campaigns about call us will give you free advice dealing with cvid 19.

Melissa Marsh: And it turned out that I was fortunate enough to.

Melissa Marsh: Have all a central business clients, which I completely planned and put in my business plan writing because I.

Melissa Marsh: figure there might be a pandemic sometime in my career No, that is not actually what happened, but I was fortunate, because my business sustained itself during a really volatile time, however, I was incredibly busy, and it was very, very stressful I made me realize that.

Melissa Marsh: The way I approach compliance issues in HR and approach being able to advise my small business clients is by knowing things that have happened in the past and.

Melissa Marsh: Looking at case law, sometimes or try it, you know going and looking at agencies and what they’re recommending that we do and what they’ve.

Melissa Marsh: You know, in the case of the eeoc what they might be pointing out the employers do incorrectly, but we had none of that we have no roadmap and i’ll tell you what my type a personality did not enjoy not know me and so that was an additional stress and I think you know you talk about.

Melissa Marsh: How self care and how we navigate through that kind of a situation and I will I will tell you, if I had not started meditating.

Melissa Marsh: Shortly before that time period I don’t know how I would have gotten through the pandemic so that was an incredibly important tool and so as exercise and eating right, but I will tell you that those have gone off track very easily during the pandemic, but then the meditation was.

Melissa Marsh: A lifeline.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely absolutely and so and there’s lots of different types here but.

Traci Scherck: The one that we use and we actually have it for all of our places headspace and headspace is just amazing and they’ve got you know headspace for work and whatnot that it just the quick things that will pop up just to say hey.

Traci Scherck: How do we refocus what’s here, because otherwise you’re pulled in 700 different directions.

Traci Scherck: And I know for you right now in your new role, not only are you an HR director, but you’re a consultant in your new role with LP insurance, that is a complete shift after you know transitioning your business and to the insurance firm.

Melissa Marsh: it’s absolutely true.

Melissa Marsh: transition is, it is a word that I think describes it but also does it give change enough credit, because as human beings, we all know, change is difficult.

Melissa Marsh: And it, for me it goes back to not knowing what the landscape is and navigating through all that and I have to remind myself be patient take it all in learn things, step by step, and you know it’s hard when you’ve been in a career for this long to.

Melissa Marsh: have to go back into that learning mode sometimes when it’s not convenient or it impacts your ability to get things done or whatever the particular day brings.

Melissa Marsh: And so, patients deep breathing meditation all those things, help in that transition and it’s a big one for me because i’ve been consulting for over 11 years.

Melissa Marsh: and doing everything on my own and to go back into an in house role, plus maintain the consulting that I have because we merged, that is, that is a big undertaking.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely absolutely you know, and you mentioned something, you know that really gets into culture, and when we talk about you know.

Traci Scherck: Self care for HR self care for anyone really it’s about putting ourselves in, you know the right organization in the right culture, so that we can essentially turn off what our strengths are and what our natural behaviors are.

Traci Scherck: That align with those values for the most part, yes there’s times, where we’re going to be a disrupter and that’s necessary right.

Traci Scherck: So, like when we look at that culture, I mean there is a culture of change, and I think change is one of those things that when we can accept.

Traci Scherck: Change is going to happen and it’s here all the time and we’re in a culture of learning that I know I can’t stop learning it completely shifts the mindset into.

Traci Scherck: hey that’s one of those great way is is when we’re in a fixed mindset versus a learning mindset it completely changes, how we interact and the impact of whatever that changes on our mental state.

Melissa Marsh: Agreed, and it is a good reminder to make the choice to be in the learning mindset, because a fixed mindset and you know it as HR professionals, I think we see.

Melissa Marsh: That regularly enough in the workplace to end and the ramifications of it because I don’t know about you Tracy but the times i’m interacting with someone who’s in a fixed mindset, who is very attached to whatever process might need to be changed or who is.

Melissa Marsh: Leading things to stay the same, because it’s.

Melissa Marsh: Well, who knows there’s probably a lot of reasons but.

Melissa Marsh: comfort level is definitely one of them it holds.

Melissa Marsh: A person back.

Melissa Marsh: Right and while change is tough and difficult to navigate sometimes it ends up that we’re better off for it when we.

Melissa Marsh: Open our minds and have the learning mindset and jump in.

Traci Scherck: And if we take it even a step back from there, one of the things I love to look at is what is this even a problem that we need to create change our own.

Traci Scherck: And like hey, this is a similar problem and then, if we determine, it is a problem is it a problem that we want to solve or need to solve or Can someone else solve that problem and then why do we want to solve the problem.

Traci Scherck: is so often, you know if we’re not willing to learn we’re also not curious and when we’re not curious we’re not willing to look at how are all the ways that we can make this thing happen right, and I think that.

Traci Scherck: covid was one of those things, and right now we have.

Traci Scherck: You know retention is one of those things right now, and even though you know recruitment and retention is an age old thing.

Traci Scherck: It has a different flavor in this space and time of where we are at in May of 2022 right.

Traci Scherck: And how can we look at this problem and isn’t even a retention problem, or is it even a recruitment problem inside your organization.

Traci Scherck: and say here’s how I can solve that problem, because it gives us control it gives us some empowerment and we have a choice in it.

Traci Scherck: And I think that’s one of those best things for HR and any leaders to look at it and say what can I control what can tie and not holding on to the stuff or taking it from others of the things we have no control over why take that on because you’re immediately going to go into burnout.

Melissa Marsh: that’s right and it takes true effort to assess the difference between what can I control and what can’t control and really being honest with yourself about what that is because I again i’m sure you’ve seen in hr.

Melissa Marsh: Larger HR departments and even consulting and smaller organizations, where.

Melissa Marsh: You see people thinking making control things that they can’t control so it’s we’ve got to take a step back and really, really assess that and that’s that can be a hard thing to do.

Melissa Marsh: And, especially if you’re busy, which is what always ends up happening in HR there’s there’s, I would like to know one HR person who’s ever checked off their entire to do list.

Melissa Marsh: Ever right, and so we have so much that we have have to focus on that to step back and analyze do I have control over this or not, I think, is crucial.

Melissa Marsh: And not so easily forgotten.

Traci Scherck: yeah and some of it is Do I really have to focus on these things right, because sometimes it’s a conversation.

Traci Scherck: With an individual to say hey Is this really the most important thing you want to for me to solve for you right now.

Traci Scherck: And now we’re getting into a boundaries conversation right it’s like Where are those boundaries, and I know before call today you jokingly said, you know we got to fill up every hour of the day, we’re going to fill up every single second.

Traci Scherck: And i’m like that you have room to breathe in like do you have room to be creative to come up with three.

Traci Scherck: creative solutions to these problems that we’ve actually determined our problems with every single second is filled up the answer is no right.

Melissa Marsh: Yes, no.

Melissa Marsh: And I and boundaries is a.

Melissa Marsh: Beautiful word, and I think a word that helps all of us career wise and HR is a department that often boundaries are overlooked.

Traci Scherck: yeah firstly variety of reasons, right.

Melissa Marsh: it’s not it’s not an income generating department, so I think we all look at HR as oh we’ve got to provide service we’ve got to provide service and and sometimes we forget the providing service isn’t going to be effective if we don’t implement boundaries.

Melissa Marsh: So we have we are the most people in HR yes people and we can’t always do that because, when you say no, this is one of my favorite phrases you’re saying yes to something else.

Traci Scherck: yeah when you say yes you’re saying no to something else, and if that is always your kids in your family and everything else that’s going to create bigger issues, the story.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, as you said earlier.

Traci Scherck: You know and it’s funny so I want to talk about boundaries, for you know, a minute further here and I had a client say to me not too long she’s gonna listen to this and just laugh.

Traci Scherck: she’s like Tracy you realize, you have no boundaries right.

Traci Scherck: And i’m like What do you mean she she’s like every time I call you Tracy you will drop everything to help me a walk through every single thing I need.

Traci Scherck: She goes, but the issue is is, I know what that’s doing is other things aren’t getting done or you’re working late she’s like you have no boundaries.

Traci Scherck: And she’s like you know you can tell me know every now and then.

Traci Scherck: And so it’s been kind of looking at that, and again saying hey like what is the level of priority of this thing is this something that really needs to be done right now.

Traci Scherck: or can we just say hey my list you know my dance card is full for this week, you know if it’s not this level of a priority, we can move that to another, you know to next week or the week after.

Traci Scherck: And you know that’s something that you know we’ve really been having a conversation about as our team as well is really looking at that and saying.

Traci Scherck: what’s What are those highest priorities that we have right now and putting definition to it, I had one of our consultants say to me yesterday.

Traci Scherck: Tracy I really think we need to define these things, because you believe it’s one definition I believe that’s another and we’ve got you know other folks that believe it’s another and that definition is a way of setting a boundary.

Melissa Marsh: It absolutely is and and I know in my small consulting business that i’ve had for the last 11 years, one of my biggest lessons.

Melissa Marsh: Aside from saying no is saying yes to something else that I learned in running that business on my own was the simple inquiry of from a client what’s your timeline.

Melissa Marsh: what’s your expectation and i’ll remember starting to do that with a particular client that was was a big client and they took up a lot of time.

Melissa Marsh: And I started asking that when things were coming my way and almost every single time their timeframe was much longer than I would have treated it.

Melissa Marsh: And it’s okay to ask somebody that, first and foremost, and then it’s okay if they give you a week to take that week because you’re doing the other things, instead, and so.

Melissa Marsh: Communication is so so important, and I think really it’s in some ways it’s everything, because if we’re not asking those questions.

Melissa Marsh: and establishing boundaries through our communication, then we’re going to just run ourselves ragged.

Traci Scherck: yeah for sure for sure for sure so we’ve actually chatted about you know, a couple kind of key items from definition to boundaries to you know meditation.

Traci Scherck: of how we set these up in so you just hit on something really important and that’s communication.

Traci Scherck: And without communication none of these things will be successful So how have you found not only the communication with your clients with your team with your family and now a larger organization.

Traci Scherck: have been successful, to ensure that you have that boundary but can still be incredibly successful what you’re doing.

Melissa Marsh: Well, I you know there’s there’s a lot to unpack there for sure.

Traci Scherck: That was a loaded question sorry yes.

Traci Scherck: Yes, before.

Melissa Marsh: But really it’s making sure that communication is open, so you know you start with your family and it’s setting the expectations of and i’m going through a situation right now, where my schedule has changed.

Melissa Marsh: In some ways.

Melissa Marsh: That impacts my availability to to my to my family at certain times of the day.

Melissa Marsh: And so it’s just letting them know that and and, in particular, talking with my husband about how we’re going to make sure kids are getting more than you need to be and that sort of thing so so that’s a good example, but.

Melissa Marsh: Further at work, having conversations with clients and letting my team here those conversations is leading by example and you know those conversations are setting expectations, going back to the example I gave before hey client, I know you want this.

Melissa Marsh: update to this policy, done when do you need this and.

Melissa Marsh: Because in my mind i’m thinking, they need it tomorrow, and the answer ends up being next week is fine and and modeling that.

Melissa Marsh: consistently for the team, I think, is really important, and then and then communicating with the team that I have that expectation of them.

Melissa Marsh: You should be asking about expectations, and that is a huge value that I always wanted centralize the HR and a man is we set and maintain expectations and read not expecting our clients to do that on for us it’s it’s our responsibility to to set those expectations.

Traci Scherck: awesome you know, and you said something about kiddos a second ago and it is May, which means, if you have little that are like an elementary school it’s like every other day there’s a school sing or there’s something and middle of the day, right.

Traci Scherck: So some of this is also you know that hey there’s a sing today or there’s the 4k graduation or there’s you know the fifth grade graduation or there’s that grandparents day like.

Traci Scherck: This is the season for all those things and providing enough flexibility and transparency to say, those are really important go to those we know the times when I come out a different time and that’s cool too right like.

Traci Scherck: doesn’t really have to be done now, and ensuring that that we have the boundaries and the prioritization that go both ways, but it’s really clear as to what that is like.

Traci Scherck: You need to pick up the kiddo at 215 great just manage your schedule and ensure we all know, what’s happening so we’re not like where did you go.

Melissa Marsh: Exactly and all of that comes back to communication.

Melissa Marsh: yeah it’s me communicating that that’s what I expect it’s my employee communicating that this is what they’re doing when they’re doing it so that we’re all on the same page.

Traci Scherck: yeah yeah for sure for sure so as we start to wrap this up i’m super curious what’s the takeaway from our conversation today that you have for our executives listening in.

Melissa Marsh: Just have that open learning mindset, no matter how far along, you are in your career and take time for yourself manage your stress in whatever way that you find effective, because without managing that stress you’re gonna be miserable at work.

Melissa Marsh: And we spend way too much time at work to be in trouble.

Traci Scherck: or sure you’re not gonna be effective either.

Melissa Marsh: that’s right.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely what’s your takeaway for HR professionals listening in today.

Melissa Marsh: I you know almost the same same thing take care of yourself.

Melissa Marsh: don’t necessarily expect your organization to do it because you’re the one finding the resources anyway, so what works for you share those resources, but also take care of yourself take the time don’t say yes, always remember that saying yes to saying no to something else.

Traci Scherck: yeah and it is always a choice you always have a choice in what you do and what you say, yes, so when you say no to there may be consequences, but you always have that choice.

Melissa Marsh: yep and keep learning because.

Melissa Marsh: Really HR is ever evolving and we are right smack in the middle of massive evolution in our workplaces so keep learning keep being willing to change and update and upgrade and improve because you’re doing it for a whole host of people.

Melissa Marsh: If you have a mere HR role.

Traci Scherck: And just make sure that that learning is fun.

Melissa Marsh: that’s right Tracy knows how to make learning fun.

Traci Scherck: Yes, we did the Macarena in the middle of it to our HR presentation last week.

Melissa Marsh: Oh, my gosh I wish I was not in Nevada that I was in Wisconsin so I could have been at that dance fest that would have been a good time.

Traci Scherck: So if you are ever curious about you know natural behavioral drives and how those aligned to the Macarena or any song really let me know and we can we can figure that.

Melissa Marsh: I would love to.

Melissa Marsh: Sign me up.

Traci Scherck: Perfect well we’ll do that so with That being said, if you are, you know interested in and in the Reno area and learning more about LP insurance and.

Traci Scherck: You know what what Melissa and her team are doing their with integrating HR not only into the organization, but with clients.

Traci Scherck: As an add on it’s a super amazing concept, I have her information in the show notes and thanks so much for joining us for our chat this week and next week, we are.

Traci Scherck: Talking about how we, you know design the teams inside of our organization, so we will do a deep dive of that next week and then we’ll have some guests on to talk about what that looks like so.

Traci Scherck: See you soon thanks.