Months before I watched Shonda Rhimes’ TED Talk on her year of saying “Yes,” I made my own decision to commit to my personal growth and development, and say “Yes” to me. For years I had wanted to go back to school and get my MBA, but with kids of my own to get through college, I didn’t see it happening anytime soon. College tuition is not what it was when I went to college back in the 80s. So last year when I had an opportunity to apply for a 9-month leadership program sponsored by a local Chamber of Commerce, I jumped at the chance. And little did I know at the first class I would literally be jumping….
The program starts with a two-day retreat where we get to know a little bit about each other…and ourselves, as we are challenged with team-building exercises like the Spider Web and ropes course. First thing at breakfast that morning, I was asked to stand up so the executive director could point out the T-shirt I was wearing. It was one from work with one of our mottoes, “Better together.” And as the program progressed, we have learned how much more of an impact we can make…together.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” John Maxwell
One of the exercises was a simple game of catch in a circle of 35 people, which progressively introduces complications and distractions, such as tossing a rubber chicken instead of a tennis ball. The rubber chicken is supposed to simulate how in life we need to learn to deal with the unexpected things that come up. The retreat helped push me outside of my comfort zone to try new things. Throughout this experience, I have made friends, honed my leadership and teamwork skills, and discovered what I was capable of…sometimes in the most unusual ways.
When I finally got the nerve to start this blog, my plan was to blog about the class and community service project along the way. But my plans became slightly derailed with life’s little bumps in the road. I could easily be writing Part 2 of “When Life Happens” after the rubber chickens in my life the last few weeks, but I prefer to look on the bright side of things and focus on what lies ahead in the coming weeks.
“Life is best lived looking forward and looking up.” Richard Branson
What Lies Ahead
Leadership is about getting people to work together for towards a common goal. Our class wraps up with a trip to our State Capitol in May, but days before that we come together for a day of service called Garland Gives where we do projects for local non-profit agencies. Through the planning process we have learned how to work with non-profits to determine realistic and achievable projects we can accomplish in a day; we have learned to work together, push and help each other, step in and step up! In one week we will execute the months of planning.
We have several outdoor projects planned for next Saturday and the threat of rain in the long-range forecast. While I am excited to see how it all comes together, I am hoping that the rain doesn’t become our major “rubber chicken.” So stay tuned for the project recap from Leadership Garland Class 35 – The BEST Class! – and hearing about the impact we are able to make in our community.
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact last in your absence.” Sheryl Sandberg
Have you done something to make an impact in your community?