Take Time to R.E.S.E.T.

Written by Will Mills, Senior Advisor for Diversity, Culture and Belonging

Woman relaxing in nature.I started my career at Ohio State as a temporary employee almost 12 years ago. No medical benefits, no paid time off and limited access to university systems. On some days, I honestly felt like some of the people around me didn’t know (or care to know) my name. For the first few weeks, I worked, collected a paycheck and that was it.

Even though I had attended OSU as a student and my love for Buckeye Nation was as strong as ever, working on campus didn’t feel great. The buildings looked familiar, and I felt an explainable sense of familiarity seeing orange barrels for new construction around campus (haha!). Yet, I didn’t feel connected.

Growing up, my grandfather would always tell me, “In any situation, when you point your finger at someone else, you’ve got three other fingers pointing back at you.” With that, I knew I needed to act, and I wanted that action to start with me looking inward first.

It took time for me to process my feelings, to be honest. In that moment of pause, I was able to figure out how I wanted to represent myself moving forward. I ultimately decided that I wanted to know my coworkers and be a valuable contributor to the team. Understanding how I wanted to show up gave me clarity to develop next steps.

So, I took action and created R.E.S.E.T., a self-practice that I still use from time to time to help refocus my personal, social and work life activities.

R – Reframe Your Perspective

  • I began to rally around the fundamental question of R.E.S.E.T., “How can I adjust my thinking so that I find a way to grow from the discomfort I’m feeling right now?” This question sparked a complete paradigm shift to how I approached the next days. It gave me hope and helped me realize my passion for ensuring others have a voice in the workplace.

E – Evaluate Assumptions and Beliefs

  • Full transparency, it’s easy for me to sometimes overthink a situation or get overly concerned with what other people might be thinking. Part of R.E.S.E.T. is to reevaluate how my thoughts and assumptions are influencing my actions so that I’m not misguided by inaccurate assumptions. Looking back, I incorrectly assumed that I didn’t have enough authority or influence to change my situation because of my role on the team. That simply wasn’t true, but I needed to test that assumption (more than once) before it became clear.

S – Stop Making Excuses to Support Mediocrity

  • I remember thinking, I’m earning a paycheck. I should just be happy I’m getting paid. STOP. That excuse needed to stop. I wanted better. The people that invested in me over the years deserved better, and the students of Ohio State deserved better.

E – Engage Your Support System

  • For this step I called upon lyrics from one of my favorite songs: "We all need somebody to lean on.” We all fall on hard times occasionally and it’s okay to ask for help. I needed to set time aside to intentionally connect with the coworkers that did care about me. They helped introduce me to other team members and learning opportunities I probably would not have found on my own.

T – Try Something New That is Just for You

  • Self-care is not selfish. I’ve learned that it’s tough to care for others when I don’t take time to care for myself. I took advantage of new learning opportunities on campus and challenged myself to lean into my own curiosity. My confidence grew and I was able to further connect with those around me.

I still firmly believe that being part of the Buckeye family is about more than just earning a degree, certificate or paycheck. The Ohio State University is about people making meaningful connections while learning new things together. As we enjoy these summer months, I encourage you to R.E.S.E.T. in an area in your life. Take note of the impact you see and don’t forget to let me know how it goes. Go Bucks!