I am up writing early for me; then again last night my new best friend insomnia decided waking me up between 4-5am was no longer enough, I needed to be kept up all night. Never mind today is one of those days where I actually have a full day and evening of stuff to do aka work. Anyway while lying in bed praying for sleep, my mind started doing what it does best…thinking. Before going to bed I had had a text exchange with someone I know, a simple question was asked but that question stayed with me most of the night.
The question was simple but oddly enough one with no easy answer, where do I see myself professionally in 5, 10 years? Good question. I realized as I typed my reply back that wow, I must seem like a slacker to the highest degree. The truth is I stopped making professional goals a while back. To go back in history, it is rooted in a less than stellar past decade and the fact that most goals I set for myself, I have met and exceeded.
Ten years ago, my professional goals included getting my master’s degree and becoming the Executive Director of a non-profit organization. Well I accomplished that and even more, I have actually been the Executive Director of two agencies, launched a stable part time freelance career that includes a mix of writing what I love as well as what I excel at professionally. I admit sometimes running a small agency I don’t always feel like a serious non-profit player but in the past year I have been approached several times about positions at organizations far larger than the one I head up. In each instance I have decided the time was not right to move on, but the fact that my efforts to grow a truly small agency that was limited in scope to a full service agency on hopes, prayers and glue is being noticed by others is an honor. Though when I think back to my time in graduate school, the same strategies that work in small organizations can and do work in larger ones too; I know I have the skills to lead a 3 million dollar plus agency just as well as I can lead one that exists on under $100,000. The thing is I enjoy working at the smaller one more, I also think that smaller agencies tend to be neglected or ignored; people forget that we all start small. That means businesses, non-profit agencies and people!
So when I think of where I want to be in 5 or 10 years, the answer is I don’t know. I sacrificed a lot to make my goals professionally considering that when most were adjusting to college life at 18, I was married and getting ready for my next role of Mom. When others were graduating at 21 and thinking how great it was to be legal, I was doing the single Mom and poverty shuffle. So having started the professional rat race late and with baggage, I had to work at a far more rapid pace than others. I did not have the benefit of great connections to assist me. I had the gift of gab with a dash of charm thrown in and that has served me well. Sometimes I have been underestimated because of who I am…woe to such people, that’s all I will say on that.
Yet in the past year, it hit me that I am no longer interested in meeting goals, I am interested in enjoying this ride we call life. I suffer from what many suffer from who lose parents early in life; part of me wonders seriously will I live to be older than my mom? I am 11 years younger than the age she was when she died. She died at 50 and the gift of many years is a mixed bag on my Mom’s side, hell her Dad died at 54 and she beat him out by checking out at 50. So I am cautiously optimistic that I will be here a real long time but I also know life is what it is…so my desires are to be present in my life daily. To not get too caught up on that treadmill of work and minutia that at times keeps us too busy to really enjoy each day we are blessed with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, if I didn’t I would have moved on almost certainly but unlike years ago when professional success was truly a goal, it’s less of a goal.
My goals if I were to label them as such are to be joyful, to be open, and to be abundant and a few other items that are a bit too personal to share. Needless to say they keep me busy since I find daily, I don’t quite make the mark. I probably am a tad bit of an underachiever but that’s okay, the world is big enough for all types.