Everybody’s got that one friend that’s always coming down with something. An unexplainable headache, chronic stomach issues, a twitchy eye that is obviously a clear indicator of impending death. Well, in my friend group that’s me. You might even say that one of my defining characteristics is my lack of wellbeing. So many doctors, so many paper gowns, so little consensus about my ailments.

But just this year the cause became clear… It’s stress. For real? WebMD (and my actual doctors) were right all along?!

I had written my health issues off as something that wouldn’t be solved in my…


How to Question Norms and Take Bold Action

Illustration by Lauren Lee.
Illustration by Lauren Lee.
Illustration by Lauren Lee.

Fear is one of the most alluring emotions. It’s attention-seeking, convincing, and it knows your deepest inner workings. Fear is like the popular girl in high school that you just can’t say no to. She can get you to make poor decisions, lie, and question everything you believed to be true. But unlike your school-aged bully, fear’s greatest power is its ability to persuade you that avoidance or inaction is the path to painlessness.

When fear really sinks its teeth in, you stop noticing its presence. You move from recognizing the fear, assessing the cause, and thoughtfully responding to a…


How this Crisis is Reshaping My Expectations & View of the World

We are all dealing with isolation differently. I’ve seen joy, gratitude, depression, fear, restlessness; occasionally all from the same person. However, I’ve heard almost everyone share some variation of the phrase, “let’s not run back to our old way of doing things until we know what‘s worth running back to.” At first, I didn’t get it. When I’m not traveling, I work remotely. So life hadn’t changed that much for me. …


A Real Deal Connection Exercise for the Emotionally Mature

By Barbara Patchen & Dee Stone

Late last year I was inspired to write about leadership from the perspective of a millennial. In my line of work, I get a lot of questions about how to integrate generations successfully in the workplace. So I started a journal entry one night that I assumed would stay trapped in my phone until Apple makes it impossible to use an 8 Plus. But I kept coming back to the entry wondering if my experience was relatable, and dare I say it, perhaps valuable to someone else. However, every time I re-read it I…


Key take aways from my presentation at the 2019 annual SIOP conference

Ya’ll, we’ve been talking about it for as long as I can remember. HR needs a make over. We’ve gotten creative with metrics, we’ve recognized the importance of “human capital,” we’ve invested in training, we’ve gotten leaders engaged in messaging and values… we’ve made a lot of progress! But we still aren’t the favorite child at the functional leadership round table. In fact, we sometimes still feel like the stepchild that was invited there because it’s the right thing to do. Why? Business can’t exist without people. In…


3 causes of relationship ruts that squander growth and personal freedom

Illustration by Jane B. Clausen

When was the last time you felt like someone close to you didn’t fully see you? I’m not talking about literally seeing your face or even noticing a physical change. I am referencing those moments when the voice in your head or the feeling in your gut creates an invisible barrier between you and your colleague, friend, or significant other. Maybe you felt like you couldn’t explain how you were feeling or you didn’t want to make an ass of yourself trying. Or maybe you just felt like he…


There is exactly one wall between our studio and the Nashville Uber office. Monday thru Friday we peer out our window for some of the most impeccable people-watching the city has to offer. All day long Uber drivers stop by the office. One might be surprised to learn that some of Nashville’s premier ride sharing drivers are occasionally really bad at it. …


My parents hated their jobs. I don’t ever remember having a positive conversation with either of them about a day at work. Comments like “It’s work!” or “It puts food on the table” have left an imprint on me. If the average person spends around 86,000 hours of their life at work, how many people are out there are thinking, “Work sucks, but you have to work to live!”?

It’s a question that I have confronted throughout much of my life. This is a story about some of the characters that have shaped my perceptions, values, and continued curiosity about…

Barbara Patchen

Org Psych, Culture, & Design. Devoted to asking difficult questions and creating a more exceptional life.

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