Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting out of the Boat

Dear DHF Family,

The winds are whipping here in Austin, and it reminds me of the ever-changing internal landscape of our lives: sometimes calm, sometimes crazy, sunny and joyful, rainy and cold, but always changing and never static.

Yesterday, our very own Program Director extraordinaire, Nora Bedard, turned 31! I found out this morning that on her special day, Nora became engaged to Hugo, her loving partner of a year she met in Cajamarca. This is so special to me, because Nora and I had such an organic process of finding one another when DHF was looking to fill our Peruvian program position. Nora had steady and solid work in Madison Wisconsin as a social worker, and she made an incredibly courageous decision to follow a path that felt right for her and take the job for DHF. I know there are frustrating days and extremely uplifting accomplishments, like the whipping winds of change…but I am so happy that this journey of Trust also brought her to a life partner in Hugo (not to mention the countless women whose lives are better because of her). Her mention of a January ’10 wedding coincides beautifully with my annual visit to Peru; Peruvian weddings call for some all night dancing and celebration.

Mostly I am really proud of Nora and all the work she does. She had enough conviction to “get out of the boat” and trust—to move to Cajamarca Peru and assume the work she does. A friend and I mused the other day: “What would you get out of the boat for?”

Thinking about Nora and her quest connected me to my role as one of many leaders of this organization. I strive in my growth to become a servant leader. We spoke about this in my
NLMI nonprofit program (10 months of training with 20 other Executive Director-like folks). A servant leader finds the right people, shows them how good they are, and gets out of their way. Now I just need to ask people how they perceive I am doing, and work onward from there!

In a sense, I feel that the entire culture of DHF is founded on this premise of cultivating mastery in people to grow. This is my goal as a “boss” and ambassador, this is Nora’s program goal for the women we work with, this is our goal in the way we work as a Board and with other volunteers, and this is the relationship we want to create with donors. DHF exists within the realm of a much larger goal “to inspire greatness in people” and this goal means seeing people as creative Beings and helping them step out of the boat to create what they want.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself what is the uniquely special gift which makes you you. This is what it is about. We all have a gift, something unique to express, to do, to become. It is your responsibility to discover your unique gift. What is it? Do you already know?

Dare to be yourself, MM

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