Scaling & pivoting my work
Shifting initiatives, the importance of sleep, Zoom fatigue, and you matter
|Steven Wakabayashi||Apr 5||1|
Lately, my work within mindfulness has been growing rapidly, especially with everything that has been going on with the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Combined with my work in design and consulting, I am finding myself to be stretched thinner than ever before.
One word that comes up consistently from time and time again has been scaleability. How do I scale my efforts to help more people with the two hands I have, within the limited number of hours each day?
In mindfulness, my main approach was bottom-up – creating support groups for the AAPI and queer Asian community. Twice a month, I facilitate two to three-hour sessions diving into complex discussions on race, equity, and mindfulness. While healing for the community, the number of people impacted can only be as many as the time I can hold space each day. Every session has sold out, with countless people waitlisted and unable to receive space.
To scale my work is to move toward a top-down approach – creating content that can be listened/watched/consumed by an infinite number of people. And after a lot of fruitful discussions, it is to make a pivot with Mindful Sights. Mindful Sights will be moving towards creating a mobile app dedicated to mindfulness, meditation, and expanding the consciousness of the AAPI community.
Currently, all of the meditation and mindfulness applications center on white perspectives, and there is a deep hunger for more AAPI instruction. Too often, I see strong AAPI instructors without a platform and following and would love to create a dedicated space that uplifts their work.
The practices of mindfulness and meditation will now have an opportunity to return to their Eastern roots, decolonizing wellness through AAPI voices.
I am deeply inspired by the work of Julio who started Liberate, a meditation app for the Black community. While it may be AAPI to start, there is a lot of potential to pivot in many different directions depending on which community this work resonates with.
This feels much more aligned with my own design & tech capabilities.
In the space of design & consulting, scalability has been to embrace imperfection. I have been leaning into letting go of the nitpicking voices in my head and making room for more compassion and empathy.
Sometimes, I forget that rest is just as important as doing the work itself.
More to come. Excited about new shifts.
Have a beautiful start to your week!
What I’m up to
Clubhouse (for all): Sunday, April 11 w/ Dalia Kinsey “Living Queer & Melanated” (add me @wakuu and I’ll ping you in)
For queer Asians: Sunday, April 18 - Yellow Glitter Sparkes, Gaysian support group (open)
For Asians: Sunday, April 25 - AAPI Healing Space (open)
Speaking @ University of Washington: April 10 - Designing for Equity
Speaking @ Design Thinking Virtual Experience: April 14 - Design thinking for building equitable teams
Why sleep matters
An insightful Reddit thread on the importance of sleep. In short: circadian rhythm (aligning our wakefulness with natural sunlight) and sleep debt (loss of sleep impacting energy).
What causes Zoom fatigue?
Loved this article on Zoom fatigue and how we can be more mindful of it:
Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense… Both the amount of eye contact we engage in on video chats, as well as the size of faces on screens is unnatural…
In a normal meeting, people will variously be looking at the speaker, taking notes or looking elsewhere. But on Zoom calls, everyone is looking at everyone, all the time. A listener is treated nonverbally like a speaker, so even if you don’t speak once in a meeting, you are still looking at faces staring at you. The amount of eye contact is dramatically increased. “Social anxiety of public speaking is one of the biggest phobias that exists in our population,” Bailenson said. “When you’re standing up there and everybody’s staring at you, that’s a stressful experience.”
Another source of stress is that, depending on your monitor size and whether you’re using an external monitor, faces on videoconferencing calls can appear too large for comfort. “In general, for most setups, if it’s a one-on-one conversation when you’re with coworkers or even strangers on video, you’re seeing their face at a size which simulates a personal space that you normally experience when you’re with somebody intimately,” Bailenson said.
When someone’s face is that close to ours in real life, our brains interpret it as an intense situation that is either going to lead to mating or to conflict. “What’s happening, in effect, when you’re using Zoom for many, many hours is you’re in this hyper-aroused state,” Bailenson said.
Solution: Until the platforms change their interface, Bailenson recommends taking Zoom out of the full-screen option and reducing the size of the Zoom window relative to the monitor to minimize face size, and to use an external keyboard to allow an increase in the personal space bubble between oneself and the grid.
As always, thanks for reading!
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Have a beautiful day!