I’ve had some interesting jobs and have learned a lot in doing them. I’ve held central roles in building things (workflows, events, content, and strategies); my go-to process has been connect, distill, create. But my soul sent me a loud and clear message a couple of years ago. It said “No. This is not how my work life ends.”
That’s when I met Andy Robinson (his blog post inspired mine of today); I took a course in Training, Facilitation, and Consulting co-taught by him. Going into it, I remember thinking that I could see myself training or consulting, but not likely facilitating.
I Was Wrong
I completed that program knowing that my role—my renewed purpose—is that of facilitator. I also realized that only in walking away from what I was doing would I be able to see what comes next. On purpose, I chose March 4 as my last day in the office and gave myself a year to reconsider (more about The Year of “Re” here). Now at the eleven-month mark, one thing is crystal clear. Coaching is facilitation!
Yes, Andy, it is time to for (us) boomers to make way. It’s time for a younger, more diverse, and connective cohort to step in; I am honored at every opportunity I have to serve as their coach. But I am not done. I’ve got a solid last chapter to write. I wonder: As we work less, are we more consistently able to offer our best?
A few years back, I was heartbroken reading Parker Palmer’s words, “When I die, I won’t be asking about the bottom line. I’ll be asking if I was faithful to my gifts, to the needs I saw around me, and the ways I engage those needs with my gifts. Faithful, that is, to the value, rightness, and truth of offering the world the best I had as best I could.” That beautifully written upsetting passage spoke deeply to my longing. At that time—in those terms—I was so off course. I had accepted my last position with something like “Yeh, I could do that.”
As I step into less work with more purpose, I am inspired by new words—these of Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” That is what I aim for now.