Two years. 40 visits. 29 universities. 17 states. 3 moves. 1 new chapter.
Wow. I can’t believe that these two years as a National Leadership Consultant have flown by so quickly. I can’t believe that I am wrapping up my experiences on the road. What an adventure this has been. I am beyond grateful for all that this job has taught me and the people it has introduced into my life. There is so much I have learned over the past two years that it is hard to put it all into words, but I tried to sum it up in these five lessons that I want to share with you today.
1. Choose to make your heart more human.
Senior year of college, I wrestled with the decision to accept the role as a National Leadership Consultant for a while. I was torn whether I should go to grad school or not. Whether I should stay comfortable in my home at TCU or take a risk. Whether I could risk putting grad school off for a few more years in pursuit of another opportunity. I felt so stuck, paralyzed that I would make the wrong decision. But then, on February 11, 2016, one of the authors I followed on Instagram posted this quote.
The decision became crystal clear – choosing grad school at that stage of life would have meant choosing security. Choosing this role meant vulnerability, change, unpredictability, and straight up risk. I wasn’t confident that this job would be easy or something that I would even enjoy at the time, but I was proud of myself for taking a risk and for recognizing that this was a door that couldn’t be re-opened.
I wouldn’t trade these two years as a NLC for anything else in the world. I can’t imagine where my life would have taken me if I had made a different decision, and all the relationships and experiences I wouldn’t have if I had chosen security over vulnerability. So I urge you, what decision are you withholding from your life that would make YOU more human? That would push you to be vulnerable and take a risk? I’m not saying we always have to make scary decisions, but if we only choose options that promise us security and comfort, we will never grow into the people we have the potential to become.
2. Seek connection and you will find it.
On the road, it was so cool and beautiful to find so many connections I had with people both seemingly similar and different to me. On some trips, the connections came easily, and on others, it didn’t. What I learned throughout my trips was how important my posture of open-mindedness was to making those connections. Our hearts must be willing and open to making those connections we seek to find. We must be in a position where we are willing to open up a little to find that connection with another, or else we may never know what we are missing, or better yet, WHO we are missing in our lives. With this role, I feel like I have a beautifully inter-woven web of relationships and connections across the country, and on every visit, I found a connection with at least one person, making the new city feel more like home. Be open hearted to who might come into your life in any given day.
3. Find your solo joys.
You know – solo joys! The joys that you can dig deep and find no matter where you are or who you’re with. As an extroverted gal who craves community, being alone in a city where I don’t know anyone can lead to some difficulties. So, I’ve learned the importance of having your solo joys. What makes you happy when it’s just you? Is it a good cup of coffee? That pump-up playlist? A favorite memory you bring to mind? Whatever it is – define it, find it, and let it fill you each day. You don’t know what each day will bring, but you can control where your mind will wander and what you bring to mind. We’ll never truly have it all, so find what you can do to cultivate joy in your daily life that is within your control.
4. Time does not limit your potential impact.
The time I would spend with chapters ranges by visit. Sometimes I would be with a group of women for only one day, and other times, two weeks. Despite how long I was with a chapter though, no matter how big or how small, there was always opportunity for impact. It’s so easy to look at a situation or task we’ve been given and to assume that it won’t go well or that we won’t connect…but with this job I have had those lies squashed time after time. No matter where I went in the country for however long, I knew I had the potential to make an impact on at least one person’s life even in the smallest way. Sometimes the impact was obvious and big, and other times it was small and seemingly insignificant. If I wasn’t looking to identify those points of impact in my life, then I probably wouldn’t have even seen them. Know that no matter who you are, where you are, who you’re with, or what your job is, you DO have the opportunity to be used every day to make an impact on someone else. And when someone impacts you, be sure to name it and thank them for it. We all need reminders of the significance we play in others’ lives.
5. Gratitude saves lives.
I cannot preach this enough. In moments of darkness and doubt, gratitude can change everything. In every moment there is something to be grateful for. Maybe it’s your health or your job. Maybe it’s your relationships or circumstances. Maybe it’s none of those things, but at the very least you were given another day to live on this beautiful planet with the opportunity for impact and THAT is something to be grateful for. Changing your perspective can change your life. Find people in your life that will push you to take the gratitude point of view. For some this comes easy and for others it is difficult. Wherever you’re at, I urge you to write down what you are thankful for every day, because not a day goes by where there is nothing to be thankful for.
Recently, a lot of my friends have been asking me what my favorite part of this job was. While there are so many aspects to this role that have brought me such joy, the most fulfilling to me is knowing that each day I am making an impact on someone. I am helping someone feel more confident in who they are and what they’re doing. I am listening to someone tell me what’s good and what’s hard. I am using my empathy, inclusiveness, and positivity to help others grow.
Work within your strengths and you’ll never work a day in your life.
I recently read that in Nebraska and it couldn’t be more true. This job has shown me so much about myself, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and share these lessons with whoever stumbles upon this post.
So now I challenge you to also discover what you love. In whatever you’re doing, what do you love and how can you go out and cultivate it more? How can you take risks that make your heart more human? Can you identify your solo joys and practice more gratitude?
This journey has been magnificent and beautiful and transforming, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store on my next adventure. God is so so good y’all, all the time.