I did it! Yep, I’m done. You know how you sign up for something and quickly realize it is a bad idea? Well this is what happened to me. I was in a women’s service organization for about 4.5 or 5.5 years (I lost count after about month 8th). I decided to take a leadership position, because I thought that would make my experience better than it had been. I was wrong. It made it worse! I was annoyed, frustrated and angry from the onset. But that part of the story isn’t as important as this one- I finished! As of this past Wednesday, June 1st, I finished my task and honored my commitment. The organization’s schedule runs from June to May essentially and so last week marked the end. I had resigned my membership in February. I had a few loose ends to tie up before being completely done. On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, I took time out to e-mail the participants of the committee I oversaw and thanked them, collected my year-end survey results, reached out to the head of my council and scheduled a transition meeting with the two women who will be taking over after me. (Yes, it was realized that this should not be a one person job.) When I tell you I felt accomplished, honey, listen!
It was during my very own transition meeting conference call last year, that I knew this was going to be a long assignment. With me working by myself, I only had my friends, both in and outside of the organization to vent to. I spent a lot of time trying to figure things out on my own or to good friends who would instruct me to “not send that letter”. I have had e-mails proofed and heavily edited by friends at work to keep from unleashing my condescending tone to someone I thought deserved it. But I made it. Through all of the many micro-aggressions, the rude comments and the long-ass meetings, I made it. The back and forth e-mails to answer questions I deemed obvious, I made it. I am proud of myself for holding my tongue, when my mind wanted to let loose. I pat myself on the back for staying gracious in the face of constant second-guessing.
I learned a lot about leadership in this particular role. The title does not make people instantly respect you, it’s your actions and how you handle yourself. Then there are some people who still won’t. But I marched on. When I had low attendance to the events I hosted, I did not take it personally, I just thanked those who showed. I started choosing dates and times that worked best for me, instead of trying to please the entire group at large. I started supporting my own decisions. Even if it meant not showing up to every single meeting I was invited to, in order to show favoritism to my priorities and things I actually enjoyed. I sent out holiday cards instead of pouting. I ended every e-mail with an “Enjoy your day!” or “I hope everyone has a great holiday!”, instead of rolling my eyes. I kept things positive. I responded to requests on time. I apologized for oversights or mistakes, taking full responsibility for things that were by no means a big deal. I helped out when I could. And I made it. I did well. I spent so much time thinking I was in over my head, but the truth is, sometimes that’s what leadership feels like. It is not always easy. It just simply is. I am glad I pushed myself. And most importantly, I finished. I completed the task!