BL&T No. 002: Embracing Today, Improving Tomorrow

Company Culture

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.


“...there’s a fine balance between consciously deciding not to do something…and unconsciously following a story that someone else wrote for you.

If you’re *lucky* in life, you get an epiphany, a pivotal moment where you realize the story you believe isn’t actually true ...

But most of us don’t get that moment. ...

But it is possible to change our stories. How? By asking a simple question. Just two words: what if?”

Ramit Sethi from "Ramit’s 2018 manifesto: Rewriting your story"


Before COVID-19, when someone new joined the Barrel team, it was a lot easier to make them feel welcome. We would do things like introducing them to each team member at their desk on their first day.

Last week, a new design intern joined our team. She is the second design intern hire since announcing that our team was no longer required to come to the office. Although the first intern is still working with us, we learned that it took her some time to feel comfortable and get to know everyone.

It’s easy to write off Zoom or any similar tool as “just not the same as being in person." That's true - it’s not but why not rethink what's worked before?

Last week, we tried a remote version of the ice breaker activity we used to do during our design meeting to welcome new team members (using Figma). It was perfect. It felt great to hear the team laughing and joking around like our in-person meetings earlier this year. Some even remarked that it was better.

By the end of the week, our new intern shared how she was feeling:

“This is my first internship so I started the week feeling nervous but now I’m having so much fun. I'm very excited to be here.”

Lesson? Every day is full of choices. We can choose to dwell in the past and reminisce about "the way things were" or we can embrace our situation and get to work on a better tomorrow.

Thought Starter

What will I have done this week that will make me smile as I fall asleep on Friday night?

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