Deep down I know the decision has already been made.

The time has come to end this.

Yet the history, the shared experiences, the memories, the friendships, the fun, the learning… all get in the way of consciously standing tall and saying “Thank you. I’m done.”

I’ve lost count how many years I have been intertwined with the organisation. It has provided me education and inspiration. It’s members have provided brains to pick, ears to listen and shoulders to lean on. I like to think I have been able to return the favour along the way.

Can I put my finger on the ‘why’? Why do I want to step back? Why now?

No. It’s simply a feeling that won’t go away.

It’s time to say good-bye to that feeling.

–//–

The original post ended here. Within minutes of the link appearing on Facebook I was receiving concerned messages and phone calls from worried friends who had read between the lines and were worried about me. Thus, please continue reading for ‘more’…

–//–

When I read back over what I wrote just a few short hours ago, I can now see why people were concerned. I should have written “The time has come to end this relationship” or something similar.

What’s it all about? For 10+ years I’ve been a member of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand. This morning I resigned.

Saying good-bye hurts. Whether it’s a relationship with someone you love(d), a favourite piece of worn-out clothing or even letting go one option in favour of another, they all come with a sense of loss.

This post was simply sharing how I was feeling. I won’t pretend that since completing my trek everything has been rosy – in fact the past few years have been amongst the most challenging I’ve encountered. I continue my search for my ‘bounce’, which I sense is lurking not far away, but still tantalisingly out of reach, or hidden, or waiting…

I am humbled by how people are looking out for me and more importantly, took the initiative to make contact when they sensed something was amiss. To you all – thank you.

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In search of inspiration today, I browsed.

This post by Ev Brogue (featuring Gwen Bell) hit me squarely between the eyes. Comments were unfortunately closed – I wanted to add my standing ovation – so instead let me share here why I like it so much…

Ev’s words “When I’m not experience telling, I’m bullshitting” resonate and transport me directly to my first ‘proper’ speech: a breakfast meeting of local businessmen. My material was appropriate, I was professional and succinct, even entertaining!

But the material wasn’t ‘me’.

It was information and facts and tidbits I had picked up from books, seminars, meetings, audio programmes. I wasn’t ‘telling’ from my own experience.

Contrast that with the blog posts I have found most difficult to write. They all relate to my 2300km solo trek. They were to do with my experiences with decision-making, and finances, and health.

They included information that was hard for me to share. They made me feel vulnerable and ‘less than’. They were knocking on the “I’m a failure” door.

Yet every single one of those posts brought a response that showed I had hit a nerve for my readers. It seems I wasn’t the only one to struggle with those darker feelings.

Raw honesty rewarded me with deeper human connection.

It felt good.

A new acquaintance asked me today what it is I do for a living.

I struggled to answer.

Fumbling and mumbling and stuttering I tried to explain how “I can coach people, and deliver development workshops and training, give after-dinner speeches, act as a master of ceremonies for conferences and sometimes I help small businesses with their marketing communication or where-to-from-here strategy thinking, and can run team-building-with-impact programmes… oh, and I have executive board experience and have been interviewed on TV and my writing has been published in books, magazines, newpapers and online.”

Not exactly a succinct reply, huh? I was embarrassed at how wishy-washy and muddled I was sounding. Granted it was a Sunday, but even so!

Trying to escape, I bounced the question back at him.

“I’m a family lawyer,” he said.

Oh. Four words and I ‘get’ what he does. Nicely labelled, fitting perfectly in the box called ‘law’.

I’ve tried in the past to tell people what solution I provide: “I help parents and teens get on better” or “I move people closer to their potential” or “I help teams understand how their diversity can actually be a strength.” But it’s still a bit vague, non-concrete, fuzzy.

As much as I love doing lots of different things and having skills in a wide range of areas, today I wish I could – in one breath – explain ‘what’ I do.

Or at least get closer to describing the value I provide.

<sigh>

I always seem to have a long list of to-do items. Generally, they’re ‘ho-hum’ instead of ‘yehaa!’.

I’ve even tried calling them ta-da! items, in preparation for when they’re completed…

Why does it seem that if something’s NOT on the list it is automatically more appealing to do?

Today, instead of completing the preparation for next weekend’s after-dinner speech, or updating all my social media profiles, or wading through a mass of SCOUTS and National Speakers Association emails, I shifted a heavy-as sunbed for my friend.

Did it have to be done today? No.

Was it on my to-do list, moving me closer to my overall objectives for the week/month/year? Nope.

Does it feel good to have helped out and made a difference for a mate? Yup.

Sometimes the ‘wrong’ thing is the right thing to do.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

I didn’t beat the snow home on Monday; Wellington airport closed before I could escape the capital.

Today the hill I’m staying on (with friends, not in a tent!) was covered in snow. Much less than what has accumulated in Christchurch, but still enough for kids to make snowmen and satellite dishes to freeze up.

It got me thinking about weather…

Mother Nature is in charge. For all the time and money and effort we spend on trying to come up with a forecast, there is nothing we can do to change what each day brings.

So if there’s nothing we can do about it, why do we fret about it? Why do we spend so much time talking about it? Even complaining about it?

Some people this week will be cursing the snow, upset that it has interfered with their plans, disrupted their schedule. Others will be thrilled to have played in it, seen its beauty, tasted the flakes.

“We can pay millions for world cups, festivals and events, but none of them brings as much joy and camaraderie as standing in the streets of Wellington as its snows, and grinning at everyone you see.” Ian Possum Richardson, via Facebook

How different would your day be if you chose not to worry what the weather was going to do tomorrow?

This weekend was taken up with our annual SCOUTS Zone Leader’s meeting in Wellington. 33 senior volunteers from all over the country getting face-to-face to talk and discuss and debate and learn and share and decide.

It got me thinking about how much time I spend online. I enjoy working on the computer, researching and learning. I enjoy chatting with friends from all over the globe and sending emails and writing this blog.

I also like spending time with real people too.

As technology improves to make our virtual ‘world’ even more user-friendly (think how social networks allow us to connect effortlessly, or how holograms mean speakers can present at conferences overseas without leaving home, etc) I believe the personal contact will become increasingly important.

People  interpret nuance and subtle emotion. Smiles and handshakes connect us.

People give hugs.

My friend gave me a ride to the airport this morning – I’m off to Wellington for a weekend Scout meeting.

As we pulled in to the drop-off area, I asked if it felt weird coming to the airport only to have to pass through and go to work for the day?

“It would be really nice to hop on a plane and go somewhere,” was the response.

Whilst my trip is hardly ‘exotic’ and has been quite regular over the last few years, it got me thinking…

Where would you fly to if I handed you an open ticket to anywhere?

And why?