|From the Executive Director|
Last week I celebrated my 58th birthday. It doesn’t seem possible I could be that old but my driver’s license doesn’t lie. I celebrated by traveling back “home” for a long weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the places I drove by was the former A&W that I started working at when I was 16 and where I began my management career at the age of 17.
Most of the last 41 years I have spent my work life managing. Managing people, managing projects, managing volunteers, managing money, managing expectations, managing dreams and mainly trying to manage myself. Like all of us, I suppose, I have had moments of managing really well, hopefully even leading, and moments that left me wishing someone else would be in charge.
The week before my birthday I was at a UUMA Board meeting when we did our once every three years visioning about the future. As I prepared for the meeting I reviewed our previous visioning exercises that I’ve been part of the last seven years. It was amazing to review our plans and dreams over the years and see how many we have achieved, how many we didn’t imagine and the few we are still working on. As we thought about the next three to five years we imagined what could be and how we might make a bigger difference for our members, Unitarian Universalism and the larger world. It was an inspiring experience and I hope you will be as excited as we are as you hear more about what’s next.
There are times in our lives when we are more prone to reflect on the past and to wonder what’s next. Birthdays and visioning exercises seem to prompt these times in me. 41 years ago my vision about the future included hiring the best carhops and selling more hamburgers with cheese and larger orders of fries. Today it is more about supporting, teaching and connecting people whose vocation has them wanting to love and save the world.
I’m not sure what I have learned or what has changed in those 41 years. The mission I’m working for now seems more important and the complexities and challenges of the future seem more uncertain. But I’m still striving to make things better and finding and being with great people who want to make a difference. And I’m still amazed at how when people work together with a shared vision good things happen that are often beyond our dreams. Ministry and management have more in common than most might think but more than anything else they demand letting go. We do what we can, what we must and then get out of the way. I’m still learning that one and expect I always will.