Reflections on my Journey

As I write this, it’s been exactly one year since I started my new role at Mt Olivet Rolling Acres. Boy, a lot can change in one year (and yes, all for the better!)

I moved into a new industry with a new team, new priorities, new challenges, new people, new mission … you name it, it was new. It felt like my 1st job out of college all over again.  I had extraordinary growth, learning, excitement, frustration, wins and failures and … I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I was reflecting back on the year, I realized … it’s not just the last year that’s held a lot of change, it’s the last 7 years.

I recently had the good fortune to be in a ½ day leadership development class with Paul Batz from Good Leadership.   Their philosophy is that goodness pays.  However, in order to extract the most goodness from yourself, as a leader, you need to be reflective, authentic and accountable. Part of our work that day was to look back 7 years and then forward 7 years and compare where we were at with where we are going.  It was fascinating!

7 years ago I was working at Target, on a handpicked team to support Target’s 1st foray into international retail in Canada.  Tom and I were getting ready to move to Toronto while trying to figure out how to best juggle 3 kids with very different interests.  Our kids were all just finding their passions and starting to practice/compete at the next level.  Jimmy was still playing 3 sports (football, basketball and baseball) while taking drum and piano lessons.  Kay and Billy were also taking piano lessons but their passions lay in their personal sports. Kay made the competition gymnastics team, which required 16 hours of practice a week and Billy had his 1st taekwondo tournament and set a goal for himself of black belt.   We were busy !  And, we did not have it all figured out. We had yet to learn how to leverage car pools, stay organized on tournament and meet details, find the best way to interact with coaches (without being helicopter parents) not to mention the demands and pressures of a leadership role within a high risk corporate initiative.  And, you can forget any thought of how to find time for ourselves.  However, similar to this last year, I learned a ton!  We learned that it really does take a village to raise kids, that coaches are by far better at giving kids feedback than parents are, that kids will rise to your expectations and that communication (and asking for help) are the only way to get through this time period of parenting and career growth.

Looking forward 7 years, my world looks VERY different.  In 7 years we’ll have 2 kids out of college and 1 ½ way through. We’ll be empty nesters!!  Since Tom is 8 years older than I am (and I’ll be 57 in 7 years), we’ll also be looking very seriously at what do our 3rd careers look like. In all likelihood this will include reduce work (for pay) and increased involvement in things we are passionate about (social justice, supporting our community, traveling, adventuring, reading, etc).  I also assume it will involve getting to know each other again beyond our role as parents.   We’ll both need to prepare our current organizations (and family!) for “what’s next” so that they can continue to build on, improve and take our work to the next level.  We wont be leading the charge anymore and that’s GOOD!

Paul does this exercise to get you thinking about legacy.  What is the legacy I want to leave and have I been building towards it?

My common thread between 7 years ago, 1 year ago and 7 years from now is pretty clear to me, whether at work or at home:

  • To leave things better than I found them.
  • To encourage my kids and coworkers to have a voice.
  • To encourage hard dialog, even when (especially when) its uncomfortable.
  • To see the learning and potential in every experience.
  • To say “yes!” with courage and conviction.
  • To honor other people’s perspective and really listen.
  • To know that there are people who want to help, and that we all need help.
  • To be kind, grateful, gentle with myself and supportive of others.
  • To try new things, meet new people, live new places, eat new food …

So, what’s your legacy? Are you building on it? If not, why not?  If so, share your stories!!

(And …. If you are ever on the fence about making a major career shift, I’d encourage you to do so, as soon as you can!  Or, give me a call and we’ll talk about it😉)