Having hot flashes at work ... Not a subject often discussed in a work blog, I know. But really. How do you deal with it? On both sides of the table. Talk about why you absolutely have to get (partly) undressed during a professional conversation? And as the counterpart: do you offer a handkerchief (or towel), a friendly remark - or not?
For someone like me who has spent 20 years in diplomacy, I am hard wired to keep the private out of a conversation. Personal (children, pets, nationality) is mostly okay - private a no-go. Having turned business coach and therapist, this rule still rules. The personal will muddy the waters. My personal life and particularly anything that will remind my counterpart that I am someone with hormones (now in rapid fluctuation) - is not welcome.
Yesterday I had a coaching session with a client who I have worked with for a while. We met online. I asked for her permission to remove clothing while we talked as a particularly powerful hot flash flooded me and I was about to be capsized. She behaved graciously - and said she felt closer to me for my humanity.
This makes me think harder about what it means to be professional, in a world where diversity is touted and sharing is celebrated.
My generation is slow on the uptake but millennials are rewriting the rules for all of us while we dwell. Millennials believe that sharing, also in a professional setting, can be a way of being brave and strong and will instill confidence in us - and not see it as a sign of being weak and vulnerable-in-a-bad-way. I am still trying to get my head around it.
What do you think? About the hot flashes. And being private ...