it was a dark and rainy night in new york. in her confusion, elaine bumped into a stranger, “i'm so sorry. i'm lost. i don't even know where i'm going," said elaine. "that's the best way to get to places you've never been to," replied j peterman. amazing how you sometimes find wisdom in unexpected places, like seinfeld.
i felt lost 12 months ago. i didn't know where i was going. and i did get to places i've never been to, through this bdbr project. one year of supporting managers. helping leaders find clarity, promoting collaboration and integration, to change the culture of a large values-based organization that's still acting like a small, closely knit family.
time flies when you're having fun. i can't believe my year of bdbr opportunity is now over. i can still remember the first day clearly.
it was a sunny day in june. summer was just beginning, the sun was hot on my skin. everything smelled good. i was going to start a new job. happiness!
but the voice in my head was talking. "it’s tuesday and i’d be locked up in a room all day for the next four days on training. who starts a new job on a tuesday on the last week of the month? normal people start monday." i scolded myself, "only happy, positive thoughts."
it would be 4 full days of training. i wonder what we'd talk about. i wonder who i’d be working with. i wonder...
i got in the room. some folks were already there. tanya was there - at least one familiar face. people started coming in until all 11 seats were filled. 6 new, full-time facilitator/coaches (fc), 1 part-time fc from hr, project manager tanya, project coordinator emma, director lory, and trainer anne. by the looks of it, this will be an interesting day, or week, possibly an interesting year.
anne talked first. her voice and intonation – very different. intense but no rushing involved. lory then talked for a bit. it was all gibberish to me. i thought "i have an idea of what we are going to do. let's get on with it." (excitement!) tanya talked for a bit as well. more logistical things.
then the new fcs started talking. from the outside, i saw that this was a diverse team. my math self was trying to find commonalities. not age, not gender, not ethnicity, not educational background, not professional background, what was it? after listening to everyone, i got it.
this is a very passionate group of people. and everyone seemed to be looking for something and hoping to find it in this fc role that we would do. my exact thoughts at that point, "so why am i here? am i really one of them? unbelievable."
that was my last clear memory of the beginning of this job. what followed was a fun year of learning, self-awareness, teaching, personal development, and blah blah blah. too many things happened, until we got here. the end of this one year commitment, opportunity, experiment. whatever you may want to call it.
now the end has begun. we are slowly, one at a time, being peeled away from the bdbr team. it's time to disband. we were all here because we were looking for change. looking for something new to do. we wanted change and we got it, in the form of starting a huge cultural shift in this organization. now it's time to move on to the real career changes we were hoping to get in the first place.
i thank each and every one of you for giving me a piece of yourself this year. this has been one of the best years of my professional life. i will never forget this gig. (that's a true compliment. i rarely remember anything these days.)
after a year of bdbr i still feel lost. but i’m not worried. i know i’ll find my way to places i’ve never been to.
to my ex-fcs, wherever life takes you from here, good luck. may all of us find what we are looking for. when we find it, may it give us the happiness and fulfillment we are expecting.
how did lory manage to find these passionate people?
it takes one to know one.
by the way, passionate is only one level up from crazy and the line is not always very clear. :-)