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Monday, December 2, 2013

A Dead End? No Way!

Most recently a bridge was removed from our road. (We don’t exactly own it, nor have they named it after us yet. But I feel a claim to the gravelly path since we are the only residence on the ¾ mile stretch.) Now we live on a…dead end. The sign humors me every time I make the corner to go home, especially after a long day at work. There’s nothing metaphorical running through my mind! Really!

Actually, I have been thinking how quickly I blinked and found myself at the age of 44. Didn’t I just turn 25 a few years ago? 31? Then I wonder, have I achieved everything I set out to achieve? If my 25 year-old self would look at me now, I’d probably say, "Pretty much." Yet, there has been a certain restlessness–a certain lingering feeling, making me wonder if there was more that I should be doing. 

So I got some ideas!

Working hard. Learning the ropes. Obviously, all important in the making of a career. Purpose has almost always consumed me. And now that my kids no longer need their steaks cut into bite-size pieces (most of the time), the question of purpose really hovered over my cup of morning tea. Recently, I was inspired into action after reading two books: When Everything Changed by Gail Collins and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  Ms. Collins gave me an education on the Women's Movement and Sheryl Sandberg reminded me of all the gender challenges I've faced in my career. Together, Sandberg and Collins convinced me to start a mentoring program at work. And after conversations with some other high-performing women at the Shelby County State Bank, we all decided to carry on the dialogue in formal framework–to encourage each other, to boost confidence, and to help each other in our careers. While we've only just begun a program, our roundtable talks are being received with great fervor. And just as Ben Stiller's enthusiasm soared when his Museum came alive in Night of the Museum, I'm feeling a sort of second-wind in my career as well.

Without trying to sound to cliche, I really do think God works in mysterious ways. I read a book which inspired me to laugh at the newly posted "Dead End" sign on our road. I guess when a bridge closes up, you just turn around and take the long way around. Sometimes, the scenery isn't only nicer–it's a better route. 

Just to give you a taste of Lean In and the conversations we've started at our place at work, see Sheryl Sandberg's Ted Talk here. It's fabulous.