I spent the morning reading emails for my new position and contemplating the future. I have also been thinking a lot about purpose and timing and what happens when you stand.
Once-upon-a-time, I directed a program and worked essentially free for three years. My meager compensation was to help pay for school supplies for my children and really was not a contribution to my family budget, my husband took care of all that - it was to not simply give away all my years of experience, contacts, and donations to this fledgling organization.
Needless to say, it was not easy, nothing ever is when working with an entrenched family-owned non-profit that while saying it wanted to grow, expand, and reach new markets, really found itself hard pressed to move away from old, hindering practices. Me and my primarily corporate background, advanced degrees, organizational skills, and management style came against their cultural norm of more laissez-faire.
It has been two summers since we ended our relationship and it came to mind today that it was simply a three year training for what I am embarking on now. That was my appointed time to deal with those young people - the good, the bad, and the ugly. To manage through relationships with vendors and to even shoulder the responsibility for things the staff did. I stood and continue to stand in the face of opposition that came my way.
My proudest things were bringing in several hundred dollars, purchasing the entire new computer system from my non-profit, procuring and building a library, bringing in more volunteers, bringing in paying families, and elevating the image of the program in the eyes of several in the public.
The biggest regret is that I did not fully absorb the entrenchment of that insular culture, that family business, and that they would appoint an uneducated replacement because that was family that needed a job. It was never a job to me, it was a labor of love.
As a new chapter of my life unfolds, I do have to stop and appreciate all that I learned and all that I was able to contribute during those three years. The greatest reward has been the affirmation from former staff and students who did declare that I was the best they had ever had, that they appreciated my professional demeanor, and that the truth of things always have a way of surfacing, that people and their limitations can not stand in the face of the great plans HE has for me.
Life is a journey and a process. It continues to unfold.