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Posted by Sashee Chandran

 

“Transformational change is the culmination of small-steps-change over time- Anon

Happy New Year to our incredible communiTEA! When I think about 2015, I can’t help but be incredibly grateful. Tea Drops has had another amazing year fulfilling our mission of spreading the love of tea near and far -- launching our line of teas in over 160 retailers across the country, meeting so many of you, and becoming USDA certified organic. We have so many exciting opportunities we are pursuing in 2016 and can't wait to continue this journey with you. 

I’ve given a lot of thought to resolutions for 2016 and reflection on what I learned in 2015. When I think about resolutions, I think that drastic goals, while ambitious can often be discouraging. We get fixated on the outcome of a resolution for a short-period of time while minimizing the work required to achieve the resolution. Making major changes in your life starts with fun-sized good habits. As I work to nurture Tea Drops and steer this growing company, it has become increasingly obvious how super small habits (that are often unnoticeable to most) foster or inhibit our growth as a team. I wanted to share the most effective small habits that brought the best out of the Tea Drops, both individually and together as a team.

  1. Committing to a morning ritual: A successful day starts with a successful morning. I am certainly not the first to say this, but I can definitely confirm its truth. If I don’t wake up at the time I commit to myself (6:30am) and press snooze instead, I notice that the flow of my day goes awry. This is because I end up skipping on my work out or my personal time to catch up on emails/reading before my team gets in (due to lack of time). If I don’t practice certain morning “rituals” like getting my short workout out of the way, or setting aside 10 minutes towards reflection and intention for the day, the rest of the day often feels less focused.
  2. Being on-time: I’ve noticed how my ability to adhere to my time commitments whether it be for a meeting with someone else, or even task blocks I’ve assigned for myself is a clear indicator or whether I’m in control of my day or not. If you’re running late somewhere, then by default you are “out of control.” Ever felt that internal annoyance/strain within you when you are late? The easiest way to avoid those unnecessary feelings is of strain is to be on time (or early!)
  3. Checking-In: People are generally more action-oriented than reflective, and in the case of our small team, we are constantly moving a mile a minute. One of my greatest lessons from 2015 is taking more opportunities to check-in with both myself and my teammates. Checking-in means taking time to assess what you are working on and how you are feeling about it. I think this seems like an obvious concept to many, but in practice it’s quite difficult. When you have a million competing priorities in your day, it often feels like a huge sacrifice to just stop and reflect for 20 minutes. However, I notice the cost of not checking-in with yourself or colleagues regularly is too high. In particular, it causes what I believe is the biggest offender in life which is assumption. Making assumptions distort reality and often cause miscommunication. And I don’t just mean assumptions about other people; I think it’s easy to be so caught up in the “action” of your day that you assume what you are working on is a priority and/or serving you, your team, or your loved ones -- when it may not be.
  4. Exercising (start with 15 minutes): Everyone likely has “exercise more” on their list of resolutions, and I can’t disagree. However, most will have exercise on their list as a means to lose weight, but for me it's for a completely different reason. I think similar to dogs, human beings can carry around a lot of nervous energy, even unconsciously. Compound that with the additional stress of the day, we have to have an outlet to release that tension. Most anxious dogs are best healed by being able to go outside, fetch, and get exercise. I believe that similarly we NEED exercise everyday as an outlet to clear our minds and physically shake out any tension. It helps refuel us for the day. I have come across many Youtube workout videos that are 15 minutes or less, and don’t require props/weights. In fact here is one 7 minute workout that is better than nothing when you are short on time.
  5. Saying NO more often: While I am a firm believer saying yes to as many of the great opportunities that come my way, it is unrealistic to say “yes” to everything if I am committed to certain goals and/or priorities for Tea Drops. Society often places a lot of shame in saying “No” -- I’ve certainly felt that guilt, but I also know that I can’t achieve my goals or make time for my loved ones without “no” being part of my vocabulary. As a company, we are constantly invited to many trade show, tea tasting events, or other events to serve/market our teas. Many events are amazing opportunities. We initially always said yes to every opportunity, but I learned fast that constantly overextending ourselves was not sustainable. We were quickly fatigued with constant travel and booth set-up, that we had very little energy left for the actual show (standing 8+ hours, talking ,etc). The fact is, there will always be amazing opportunities, but there is only so much energy and time that we have as a team. We have stepped back this past year and have taken a very selective approach in the shows that we partake in. We've said "no" to a lot of great opportunities in order for us to conserve our energy and make the select events we do the most amazing/experiential for our customers. 

Whatever your habits or goals are this upcoming year, I wish you great success in making 2016 the most fulfilling and inspiring year yet! I hope that together, we will achieve great things this year. 

Tea Drop on,

Sashee and the Tea Drops team! 

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