the boys

the boys

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Plan vs. Focus

A very wise man told me this week that he has never had a plan and he isn't going to start now.  I was in much agreement. 

This week I submitted my resignation for a job that I have known and loved for eight years.  And that was not the plan.  No, no, no that was not the plan.  Or what I had thought was the plan. 

I should have known better.  All of the best things in my life have been unexpected.  My life works best and moves forward smoothly when I stop trying to plan and force it into action.  My life works best when I focus on what is important to me.  FOCUS.  Stop planning.  Stop assuming.  Just focus. 

It's not that what I thought was my plan was a bad way to go.  It was working for me.  It was very solid.  Very consistent.  Definitely was a great option.  I could have stayed in that job for another ten years and been just fine.  I could have promoted and retired with a state pension.  I know those are hard to come by these days.  But possibly, just possibly, I was not completely satisfied.  Not completely fulfilled in my ever increasing desire to challenge and extend my abilities.  And I didn't even realize that until I opened my heart and mind to the fact that there might be another path for me.  Opened my mind and heart to the fact that not only was change possible, but very much within my grasp.  It is ok to change. 

And just as soon as I became comfortable with that thought and began to really spend some time in prayer for what it could mean for me, change happened.  The power of prayer will never cease to amaze me.  Change dropped right in my lap.  Happened fast and furious. I wasn't looking or particularly seeking it out.  But it is SO right for me.  I found it and it found me.  There are some definite parts to it that are out of my comfort zone; out of my usual  program areas.  It's still social work and still focused on the safety of children in our community.  I have so much to learn from my future peers and employees.  I am so ready to soak up every bit of knowledge they have about forensic interviewing and management of the program.  But there are also parts of this new job that are just screaming my name.  Such a great fit for me.  Like a hand in a glove (or jug, as Allison would say).  The possibilities seem endless.  I have so much to offer and so much to gain. 

But oh I am so sad to leave my job.  I've cried more in the last 9 days than I probably have in the last 9 years.  Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but still I am surprised at my own emotions.  Maybe a more accurate statement would be that I have cried more in front of people in the last 3 days than I have in all of my time in Platte County.  No one can ever convince me there is a better working team in Missouri.  For anyone that has ever studied group settings, we are in Stage 4: Performing.  (if you care, we went through stages 1-3 of forming, storming, and norming....and oh, the fond memories I have of those stages!).  We have been "performing" our asses off for about the last 4 years.  We have made significant strides in how we serve foster youth in Platte County and move them to the best possible permanency outcome.  I am SO PROUD to have been a part of it.

But I am reminded that I am only one person on that team.  One spoke on the ol' wagon wheel for those of you that will get that reference ;) At one point in time I would have thought that it was so much of my own doing.  How very narcissistic of me.  How unfortunate to not give as much value to all of the many other team members that make Platte Co function.  I previously would have never thought about leaving for fear that it would all implode without my leadership.  But, I am learning that leadership is more about leading than it is doing.  I was a do'er for most of my time in Platte County.  Carried it on my shoulders for a long time, unnecessarily. That team is going to be successful in serving the families in Platte County with or without me.  My standard motto of "it's not wrong, it's just different" will be well played out in Platte Co over the next few months and years.  For my staff, the community players, the foster parents, and the families it won't be the way "Gwen did it" but it will a different way to do it.  Sometimes a little bit more right, sometimes a little bit more wrong.  Different. 

And the same will be true in my new job.  I'm stepping into a wonderfully well-oiled machine which is something that is completely foreign to me.  Clean up someone's mess?  Solve someone's disaster? I'm your gal.  Continue to maintain and strengthen the integrity and functioning of a well managed program?  Well, we'll just see how that goes. 

New job.  New focus. Planning, be damned.  Very much looking forward to it. 

Proverbs 19:21  "Many are the plans in a mans heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."