Sometimes, when you least expect them, great things happen.
At least that’s what happens for me. I was vacationing at the beach in South Carolina – eating more shrimp than Forrest Gump – when I got a call asking me to consider taking on a new project. To be honest, I was fully in vacation brain (“What’s for breakfast? Who’s up for body-surfing? What’s for lunch? A nap! Where’s my book? A nap! What’s for dinner? Where’s the wine?” y’know, the perfect vacation), but that may have helped me. My mind was fairly clear as I considered how to respond to the offer. Gave myself the good old 24 hour rule – don’t say yes or no for that long – and then said… yes.
Exactly what did I say yes to?
I was asked to serve as Executive Director of the bi-partisan Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission. Here’s the press release on the Commission.
Why did I say yes? Especially when my coaching practice has exploded? And my happy life is precisely as I’ve designed it?
No, contrary to popular belief, I am not a glutton for punishment. Rather:
It plays to my strengths. I am good with big picture. I am good with moving groups of people toward consensus and action. I am good with events. I am good with execution. I like taking on a project and seeing it through. I like this kind of work – it’s what I know how to do and have done for a long time. However, I haven’t been able to stretch these muscles in my coaching practice – so I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with old, familiar skills while learning plenty of new things, too.
It allows me to serve. While some folks in my generation were able to serve their country in uniform, my chances to serve have always come in public service. This Commission, created by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, is another opportunity for me to give back, and to serve when asked. It’s a thing I can do to help, when so many in so many places are doing so much more.
I will continue coaching. The scope of the position is such that I can continue to coach and to teach. The best of all possible worlds. My coaching groups, my training programs, my work with individuals and organizations, my mini book tour (more information is coming, I promise!) – all going forward, as planned.
But most importantly, I hope to lead by example for all of my clients. I hope I can show that careers can take many shapes and forms over time, and as long as you’re learning and growing – you’re doing fine. I hope my clients see that I’m taking on a position that’s relevant to their careers. I know what it’s like to have short time frames, big pressure, diverse personalities – and I know how to find a path to success despite all the hubbub and noise.
I’m a big one on setting intentions. And let’s just say, hypothetically, you happen to set an intention to do interesting work. To be compensated fairly for it. To meet interesting new people and continue to learn and grow. Let’s say you did that every day, faithfully. And maybe you have an idea what it would look like to have your intention met.
All I’m saying is that one day you might be on vacation and be offered exactly what you asked for. It might not look exactly like what you expected.
But it just might be perfect.