Is it just me, or did life become significantly more challenging over the past couple of weeks?!
This transition between summer and winter is always tough for me. As a person who is sensitive of his environment, the darker days and colder weather have had a significant impact on my energy levels. I think a big part of it has to do with being outside less, and as a result getting less exercise. No longer can I join my friends for a game of disc golf after work, or go on a long bike adventure around the city (although I did get a short one in today). And November is kind of a weird time, because alternative outdoor activities aren't really viable yet. Honestly, I'm hoping we get some good snow soon so the ODR will open up (and maybe I'll hit the slopes)! And while weekly squash is nice, work is so crazy that I haven't been able to make it in weeks. Light, work is demanding more attention than ever before, and with my diminished capacities I'm really feeling the strain to deliver high quality programs and communications.
That's actually why I started this post - I've been running into major writer's block lately because my mind just doesn't feel able to produce what I'd like it to. There are several drafts sitting in my queue right now that I just can't seem to get right. My mind is reaching out for meaning, for some adequate level of insight that will make my writing worth reading, but the essence of the concepts I'm looking to explore keep slipping through my fingers every time I try to put feeling and thinking to paper (well, I guess it's more screen than paper). On the other hand, the topics I'm developing are super personal and also hard to succinctly capture. The power of community, the search for God, leadership and vision in politics...all complex subjects that seem way too big for me to tackle at this point in my journey. But I really want to! Light do I ever want to get there. And I think I could at least get partially there if I didn't feel this run down!
It's this lack of capacity, this lessened ability to create that is proving difficult for me at the moment. Going back to work, I've put a solid year into building out my initiatives, and at this pivotal moment (Global Entrepreneurship Week), I find I am having a hard time getting to the finish line. And I know the world will keep turning if things don't go well, but I've poured my heart and soul into this mission. Knowing that our centre has the ability to change people's lives if we execute well comes with a great sense of responsibility. My team trusts me, counts on me to perform, and to lead (at times). And when I feel like I'm failing them and their trust, that makes me feel absolutely horrible. I'm truly grateful for their empathy and support, but I don't want to let anyone down. The hardest part is that I've tried so hard, and if I fail despite that...what does that mean for me and my role moving forward? What does it say about my ability to lead and support change?
At Thanksgiving I was asked by my brother in law about the type of work I do, because community engagement is a relatively new type of role. The essence of it is this: I connect with a bunch of people, develop relationships, and organize activities. Some key responsibilities include managing our volunteer programs, leading our communications strategy, developing strategic partnerships with several different organizations (student clubs, entrepreneur support orgs, faculty members, etc) and designing/delivering experiential learning opportunities in line with the interests and needs of our community. Our ultimate goal is to promote a culture of entrepreneurial thinking. We believe that creative and adaptive thinkers are crucial to a sustainable future. And I love that I get to contribute to that cultural shift both at the school and across Calgary. It's what makes my job so great; the ability to connect with others, open new doors, and change lives. The reason I bring this up is that I have felt that we were making real inroads into our mission, and I thought we were much further towards connecting our disjointed innovation community on campus together, but these past few weeks have shown me that we still have so much work left to do, and that the work itself is going to be incredibly complex and challenging. And that is what has me worried. What if I fail? What if my work makes the difference between a healthy ecosystem and an unhealthy one? That scares me.
You know what's funny? One of our core messages to students is that failure should be embraced and celebrated. To fail means you put yourself out on a limb, that you chose courage and to take on the risk that comes with uncertainty, and that's an incredibly admirable choice. To take a leap of faith takes real guts, and even if things didn't go well, at least you can learn from the experience and improve for next time. Why is it so hard to take your own medicine? Because failure is so personal? Because failure challenges our security, our story of self? I gotta let go of that.
You know, this post didn't turn out half bad. I think I'll keep it.