Taking an unexpected leap

I never planned out my future, it just kind of happened. But as I progressed my career and began managing a department, I saw the future unfold. It wasn’t one I expected, but I was happy with it and began creating my next career goals.

Ten years later, I’m doing something I never expected. I’m leaving it. I’m leaving the best boss I’ve had and the greatest team who is doing such amazing things. I’m leaving a ton of open goals for myself and the department. But for what? To help my community. An amazing opportunity presented itself and I’m sure it was God’s will.

I always read about how people are given these opportunities and they don’t want to but God keeps putting it in front of them. Honestly, I was envious of that. I was sure I’d never be one of those people. At the same time, I questioned if my random thoughts of not working were it. Was I supposed to push myself and leave my career and stay home? Yet, when I thought about doing that I never thought I’d be good at it. I’m not good when I’m left with no real goals. I’m not good at boy activities. It just didn’t feel right. So I kept doing what I was doing. One foot in front of the other.

Now, I really get it. Change is so scary and leaving what I expected to be forever is terrifying. From the unknown future to letting everyone down as I leave. It’s hard. But in my heart I know this is what I’m supposed to do right now. I’m being pulled in this direction and now I understand how people try to push it aside but they just can’t. I truly believe that my professional and personal experiences have led me to this point. I have experienced them so I can do this. It may only be temporary or it may lead to another path I didn’t expect to go down. Either way, I’m making this leap with a lot of faith that I am doing God’s work.

I’m going to miss all my work friends, my co-workers, my team, and my boss. It’s hard to imagine that I won’t be with them every day. As I form new relationships and become more integrated with the community, I’m adjusting to my new norm. I’m excited about the newness, the project, and challenges ahead of me. And, I know that all of my experiences have put me in this position. I am supposed to be walking down this new path. As scary as that may be and as sad as it makes me, it’s what I need to do. To put my skills to use in the way that God wants me to do.

I needed this test of faith. It’s been hard for us the past few years. We’ve had definite challenges and in a sense we’ve gone into survival mode. We’ve had parenting struggles, we haven’t put our marriage first, or even ourselves. I carry the stress of my job around with me. Always wanting more and feeling too much. I “handle” it because that’s what I think I need to do. Bryan has always questioned if I’m really happy and I always tell him that I am. I just assumed this was part of life and juggling so many things. I always pull up my boot straps and deal with it. No free passes.

I know this change is going to be big for our family. It comes with its own set of challenges and I might be gone nights or weekends sometimes, but that comes with flexibility. Flexibility to be there at other times of the day when I normally wouldn’t. Pool days, breakfast dates before school or daycare, or picking them up from school and daycare to go on adventures before its time to make supper. This is huge as I get ready to send one off to kindergarten and look to preschool soon.

One of the “perks” of this new position is the requirement to be involved. My desire to help more and be involved more is part of what I get paid to do. When Maximus starts school, I can be involved for my desire to help cultivate a great learning environment for him but also as a way to better do my job.

It’s scary to not be in control or know how life is going to unfold. It’s terrifying to put an end to the constant and the safe. It’s gut wrenching to feel like you let people down. But, it’s enriching, soul warming, and pretty amazing to see the possibilities of what you can do in this leap of faith move. Not just for myself, or my community, but also for the company I’m leaving. The company that I am so fiercely loyal to. The company that I owe this opportunity to. I hope I can make such an impact that all the community-related discussions we’ve had are now taken care of. So they can focus on their jobs and move into the next chapter of success.

God truly is amazing, even when you don’t think you’re doing a good job honoring him. When you think you’re being selfish and living a life all about you and your surroundings. He still loves you and He still walks you down your chosen path. Be open to His ways and be willing to take that leap no matter how scary it is. Because He will take care of you.

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Why community involvement matters

I was recently asked to participate in an internal video for my company. It was the opposite side of the camera for me. I’m used to being part of the script and video development. It was a rather painful experience; however, a good learning situation for me to better coach in the future. One of the questions I was asked was related to community involvement.

Community involvement is important to me. I serve on the board of directors for Iowa River Hospice. I’m able to bring my talents and skills to them and bring back a new perspective to my job. Being involved in the community helps make a better community to live and work in.

I’m not sure how eloquently I communicated that or what my face and body language portrayed, but I do believe community involvement is important. I’ve been on the board of directors for Iowa River Hospice for four years now and just ending a term as Vice President. I recently realized that I have grown a lot in the past four years. I’ve grown in my understanding of this organization, the ins and outs of a non-profit, and how a board is run. I was beyond nervous when I accepted the position. I didn’t know who nominated me or why. Looking back, I’ve learned that it’s good to stretch into something. Organizations and people benefit from the growing and learning that a person goes through when they go into something without having all the answers. It can be scary and nerve-wracking to not have confidence in yourself. But, you’ll wake up one day and feel confident and comfortable with what you’re doing. I’ve found this to be true in the workplace and in my personal life.

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Decorations for 2015 Night of Stars Benefit

 

Three years ago, a friend asked me to join her on the committee for a local benefit. Proceeds go to our local American Cancer Society organization and Iowa River Hospice. It was the perfect way for me to help outside of the board meetings and marketing brainstorming. Last year the committee was in need of new co-chairs, so Bryan and I decided to take it on this year. Some days it was a lot of late night work, with us both working away on our computers. We knew there would be a lot of work the final week before the event, but I can say it was worth it. We had a committee, half of which was new, who were more than willing to help with any task. It’s not always easy bouncing back-and-forth between work, home, and other activities. Everyone on our team has a lot of other commitments, but it felt like this was top priority for everyone. It’s awesome to be part of such a positive group, with so many enthusiastic willing people. Our community is awesome, too. We had so many wonderful auction donations, a lot of organizations who gave underwriting money (money that pays for our expenses of the event), and a sold out crowd! A week after the event, we’re still getting donations! I did a quick look at 23 years of the event and this year is up with one other year as having the most income! It’s so awesome to be part of such a meaningful event. This money goes a long way for both organizations and I’m so proud to be part of it. The time we spent doesn’t even compare to the work both organizations do. The time, effort, and compassion they put into their patients is simply amazing. It’s the least we could do to create an evening that provides the opportunity for people to open up their wallets and give to two wonderful organizations.

This is one of the small ways I can help give back to my community and make it a better place to live and work.

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2015 Night of Stars