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Smooth Operator, Maressa Garner is the first feature for the Meet Delighted By Hummus: Team Series.
Today we are delighted to have Maressa share more about who she is through her deep, honest, and beautiful thoughts on work, play, and how Delighted By helps her tie them both together.
Greetings, delighted ones! Maressa here, Delight By’s Director of Operations/Smooth Operator. I’ve just come up on my one year anniversary with Delighted By, and am more grateful than ever to be a part of this special organization.
One of the things that inspires me most about being here is the company culture. We are a remote team spanning the US. Our incredible founder Makenzie Marzluff is the furthest west in Maui, Hawaii and Stephanie, our amazing Quality and Production Manager is the furthest east in Massachusetts (by the sea).
Our team meetings have us looking like the Brady Bunch; nine smiling faces coming together from Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and California. Let me be clear: I’ve only met half of these women (!) in person and yet, I share a kinship with them that is deep and entirely unique.
I attribute this to one of our company’s core values: total transparency in the workplace. My coworkers are my employees, they are my friends, they are my family. We don’t clock in at 9am, put on our ‘work’ mask, get through the daily grind and clock out at 5pm. We dive deep. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely “grind” (Delighted By wouldn’t be on shelves near you if we didn’t), but the way in which we do so is totally unique to the business (and human) experience.
We are open with our personal experiences as they arise. We share what we’re delighted by, what we’re frustrated by, what we want out of life and what’s been eating at us that week (or that year, or perhaps our whole lives). We catch each other in moments of weakness and are open and honest with the personal work we are here to do as well as the work we do on Delighted By’s behalf. In this, Delighted By is a living, breathing experiment of what it looks like to bring vulnerability into the workplace.
Are we achieving it 100% of the time? Not yet, no. But, we are all here because on some level, we’re attracted to the actual “work-life” balance that Delighted By offers, vulnerability included. We acknowledge that it is exhausting, conflicting and utterly disorienting to try and save face. We acknowledge that only by being vulnerable can we truly take off the mask and allow others to empathize and truly see who we are as a human beings.
This leads me to the second aspect of work here at Delighted By and a concept that inspires me generally: a return to childlike wonder. Because we’re “allowed” to be all the ways in the workplace, that means that sometimes, we invite our inner child to play. This is something that I think is hugely important, in both work and life. Allowing for childlike wonder in my own life has resulted in increased adventure, fun and general elation in the smallest of things.
While I’ve always been one to engage in ‘magical thinking,’ the Riga moral of ‘adulting’ frequently pushes the message that you ought to specialize yourself (especially in career), rationalize your thinking and “do what works.” I believe living your life this way in totality creates a lot of rutted patterning, self-justification and a general inability to relate to others and think outside the box. I am by no means suggesting you don’t use rational thinking (deeply important) or that you don’t work hard to achieve something you feel driven to do but I highly encourage you to play more and observe what happens to your personal feelings of satisfaction and your productivity.
As a team, I think the invitation to play in the workplace allows us to solve problems in more creative and (in some cases) hitherto unseen ways in the natural foods industry simply because we remain open to wonder, to creativity and ultimately, to miracles.
I kept this intentionally broad because I’m curious what transparency, vulnerability, play and work-balance look like for you? What comes up when you visualize these concepts? I dare you to be as optimistic as you can in your imaginings and give yourself permission to invite these concepts into your life, personal or professional. See what happens. :)
I leave you all with my favorite quote, which, for me, shows up daily in my work with Delighted By and everywhere else:
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him (or her :) ) he's always doing both. - James Michener.