“How have you affected the places where you have lived? What legacies have you left behind?”
This poignant question was one of the writing prompts from the Writer’s Workshop at the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Conference this spring. As I looked back through my conference materials, I reviewed the thought provoking prompts provided by the very talented and inspiring workshop facilitators, Nina Sichel and Patricia Linderman. These questions stood out to me.
How do you know when you have made an impact?
At my first FIGT conference in 2012, I had the chance to meet Ruth VanReken, co-author of Third Culture Kids. She shared a saying that I have carried with me since. “Unpack your suitcase and plant a tree.” In essence, settle into your new place and then work to make it a better.
As a trainer, executive coach, and human resources professional I have been blessed to work with a wide variety of people around the world. I’ve also made a very conscious effort to get involved with a variety of personal interest groups for me and with my family in every location. These connections through work and the community created lasting fond memories for me.
While living in Saudi Arabia, I was fortunate to be a part of a Toastmasters club. I learned so much about the hearts and minds of people living in Saudi by hearing members give their speeches. Although it’s been three years since I was in Saudi, one of the members of the club reached back out to me this week and shared their dream for creating a life that they love. I was touched that even though I haven’t seen that person in three years they trusted me enough to share their dreams and passions for their future with me.
Mark Twain said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Thank you to those who have reached back out to me over the years through e-mail, facebook or even a random text to let me know that my words had an impact on you. I take that as one of the highest compliments and they definitely fill my spirit for more two months. I’m glad that I could plant a seed of encouragement and support that has blossomed into an amazing tree.
My challenge for you today: Are you having a positive effect in your community? What one thing could you do today to share your gifts and talents to make a positive impact on another person.
“We judge ourselves by our intentions. We judge others by their actions.”
I heard this quote the other day while I was participating in a webinar preview for a leadership development program I was evaluating for my company. The words resonated deeply and I started to feel a pang of guilt. I have great intentions about 99% of time. However, there are times I fall down and don’t follow through with my actions.
Personally and professionally I’ve dropped the ball and failed to keep a promise or haven’t done what needs to be done.
I was excited to be chosen as a Writing Scholar for this year’s Families In Global Transition (FIGT) 2015 conference. I was thrilled to participate and eager to reconnect with other expats. I jumped in feet first a few months after moving back to DC after 10 years as an expat. In the throws of my ‘returning home’ experience I committed to taking on the project. I had great intentions, but I totally botched the delivery and didn’t follow through. My actions were incomplete. In the process I let a number of people down, including myself.
So with my hat in my hand and my heart on my sleeve, I owe a professional and public apology to Jo Parfitt, the editor of Summertime Publishing; the FIGT board; and most importantly to Dounia Bertuccelli, my project editor. I took on what I thought I could handle and truly wanted to do; however, I soon discovered I was resource constrained and exhausted. I underestimated the amount of mental and physical energy it takes to process change
and show up and be fully present.
One of my other regrets was not asking for help or acknowledging that I was floundering earlier on. I kept telling myself that once I found my groove and got into a routine, I would have more time and energy for the project. I realize now I was judging myself based on my intention and rationalizing that it was enough. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was failing.
My lessons learned,
- Be real with myself about my capacity – When I spread myself too thin, everybody loses.
- Ask for help as soon as I have an inclination that I may need it – Waiting until you’re in over your head is never a good thing.
- Take action – Thinking about doing something and doing it are not the same thing.
So my question to you – Are there some loose ends you need to tie up? Have you had great intent but failed to deliver on something? What action can you take today to get your intentions and actions in alignment again? I promise you you’ll feel better once you do. Who knows, that one small action can be just the catalyst you need.