That’s right, I’m declaring it now: Today was a GREAT. FREAKING. DAY.
Lately, I have been feeling pretty down on my job. For about two months I have been nothing but irritated by everything being thrown at me. The position that I once was so incredibly excited to have the opportunity to hold was now making me bitter and quite frankly, bitchy. I had convinced myself that it was time to move on, I always had this nagging feeling in my gut that was telling me not to give up. Not yet. But I wouldn’t listen, I kept telling myself to move on before my frustration turns to misery. I’ve been down that road in the past and I refuse to ever let a job get to that point again. Then the last two days happened.
Yesterday I spent the day attending the Michigan Non-Profit Association’s SuperConference in Grand Rapids. I got up early in the morning, made a big a giant travel mug of coffee and made the 150 mile trek westward. The drive was great, it was still dark out, just chilly enough to turn on the heat and I had just the right playlist to keep me energized. Fun Fact: I still know all the words to (I’ve Had) The Time of my Life – the Dirty Dancing theme song. My biggest issue of the morning was figuring out where parking was for the conference center and then figuring out where to go once I got inside, I literally spent 30 minutes walking around this giant conference center looking for the right place to go, no thanks to the staff person I talked to who sent me to a tiny conference room…pretty sure a conference of about 600 people wouldn’t happen in a room suited for 20. Anyway, I digress. I had previously chosen my workshop sessions, both of which were centered around leadership. I was looking forward to both sessions, however I easily lose the ability to listen after about 20 minutes of boring lecture so I wasn’t anticipating having any huge breakthrough moments throughout the day. Boy, was I wrong. Every aspect of the day completely blew my expectations away. First session: thought the speaker was just going to push his book and be all “I worked in the White House, I know everything, P.S. I’m friends with John Bon Jovi, here’s how you be a leader.” but it was nothing like that at all. Not only did I get some amazing insight into who I was as a leader, I also got my next book for the team to read at work and met two people from Metro-Detroit that I want to follow-up with this week. Blew. me. away. From there on everything was better than anticipated. Contemplated skipping the 2 hour roundtable after lunch – was completely enamored with the speakers for the ENTIRE 2 hours. Thought my second workshop was going to be fluffy, corny and basic – completely made me think about my personal mission and how to align everything I do with what makes me happy (hello, passion!).
Fast forward to today.
Over the summer I purposely added an opportunity for me to facilitate a group to our calendar so I could have a chance to actually DO some of the work instead of just leading it. I had procrastinated quite a bit on preparing for it, luckily the topic was Leading Teams and someone (me) just went to conference with a bunch of leadership topics! Through a major promotion blitz and a rushed agenda that was put together 2 hours before the start of the workshop we ended up with a plan for the day and some confirmed participants. We ended up with 7 attendees, each of which were from completely different vantage points in the early childhood world bringing some amazing conversations, ideas and insight into the world of leadership in not only early childhood but our daily lives. About half way through the workshop I leaned over to my colleague, Julie, and said “do you think they would be interested in coming back in a couple of months to check-in?” we both just kind of shrugged our shoulders thinking “eh, maybe, but probably not”. Before I offered up their lunch, I asked them if they thought they would be interested in taking the assessment in the book we provided, reading it and coming back after the first of the year to see where everyone is, and to my surprise they were all extremely excited about the prospect of having a leadership community to be a part of. It was this exact moment that I knew I was in the right place, at the right time with the right people around me. It was like all of the crap I’ve gone through over the last few months pointed me directly to this moment, with these people, talking about this exact topic. It all made sense. Finally.
I had very little time to actually reflect on the amazing couple of hours that I had before I was rushed into a team scavenger hunt around the city where I work. In the midst of not really knowing anyone on my team, an overwhelming list of tasks, all of which needed to be organized (in my OCD brain) for efficiency, a little bit of car sickness as we drove around the city while reading and talking and a dying cell phone battery I was able to have a great time discovering new people, places and facts about the city that I spend more than 40 hours a week in. It was awesome.
Once I got back on solid ground, literally, I took some time to catch up on e-mails, voicemails, organization and cleaning of my office which was much needed and left me feeling like my space was ready to keep doing the work. I left work satisfied, happy and encouraged to keep moving forward instead of being stuck in what pulls you backward.
Like I said, it was a great freaking day.