Steve Jobs once said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” We often have no idea where a “dot” (I call these situations and experiences) will lead us. That was my case in March of 2009.
Dot # 1 – March 2009
I met Playing for Others Founder and Executive Director, Jen Band for the first time. I, like nearly everyone who meets this dynamo, was captivated by her energy, passion and vision. There was something innately extraordinary about her that was palpable yet indescribable. She stirred something inside of me in that brief moment of our encounter. A feeling I couldn’t and didn’t want to shake.
That feeling became a seedling of a dream, long before I knew the power I possessed to create anything I desired. That dream was to work with PFO, to somehow make a contribution back and support the work that has transformed the lives of countless teens, families, and ultimately my own.
Dot # 2 – April 2009 – June 2013
I am on the periphery of this organization. I’ve volunteered, attended shows, productions and fundraising events. Witnessing teens take risks, step into vulnerability and shining their beautiful light cracked my heart open a little wider each time. I became a major donor and loved giving each dollar I could to support PFO. I rejoiced in seeing the change my money helped create, and yet it was simply not enough. I wanted to do more, and have a greater impact.
Dot # 3 – July 2013
Jen Band emailed me because she heard about a group course I was teaching. After a brief discussion, she signed up. I offered additional support to Jen as a means and method of giving back to an organization whose profound impact on me continued to unfold. My philosophy, support the leader and everyone benefits.
Dot # 4 – October 3, 2013
During one of our weekly conversations, Jen asked if I would facilitate my workshop, Your Envisioned Life, for the leadership teens, advisors, board members and a few special guests. I was thrilled to be asked, as this was one more way I could give back to Playing for Others. I immediately said yes and then asked “When?” Jen said “How’s October 15th?” I chuckled and said that’s perfect, knowing that when an opportunity presents itself, it’s important to act in the moment. Besides, October 15th is a special day in my life, so the timing was perfect.
Dot # 5 – October 15, 2013
When I was in college I joined a sorority. While many people thought this was out of character for me, as I just didn’t seem like the “sorority type” (whatever that is). What they didn’t understand was that October 15, 1898, the founding day of my sorority, opened a doorway for my life to change. The nine founders imparted universal lessons in the form of our values, mission and creed. Each word would consciously and unconsciously become the fabric that would weave my life together.
October 15th, 2013 had a doubly important meaning! Founders Day for my sorority and the day I identified the feeling I had back in March of 2009.
It was the feeling of being ALIVE….fully, vibrantly, joyfully, and passionately alive! As I gave the workshop that night, everything in me was alive in a new way. I was on fire and pouring out a passion in an awareness I simply hadn’t experienced before. I was alive inside the idea of impacting younger lives; of teaching teens the things I had no idea of at their age. Transformational knowledge that has changed everything for me, and will change the trajectory of their lives in powerful ways.
Dots # 6-10 – My journey of finding my soul mate and falling madly in love.
Dots # 11 – October 16, 2013 – August, 2015
During this time there were countless conversations between Jen and me. PFO lit the passion and desire within me, and I wanted nothing more than to work with this organization and the teens they impact. At the same time, I started my own coaching business and the HOW was just not clear. We would come up with a lot of great ideas for a role for me in the “future”, which always seemed so far away, and felt like a blanket of condition that slowly began to snuff out possibility within me. Nevertheless, I continued to give of my time, talent, treasure, and support to Jen in the best ways I knew how. We’ve had countless hours of conversation (I’d speculate easily somewhere over 1,000 hours) that spanned the PFO gamut and program year. We stayed in possibility, got sidetracked by condition and circumstance and continued to practice the tools we both teach, and while the tools are simple, they are not always easy. We hit some bumps and icy patches along the way and each hump provided an opportunity to grow. Grow into the principles we teach, grow into more of who we are, grow stronger and grow a garden full of ideas. Those ideas, when tended to long enough, and provided the right amount of light and water, grow into an orchard of goodness and possibility.
Dot # 12 – August 30, 2015
The Dots finally connect!!! This is a special day for me. It is proof that a seed takes root and shows up in the physical form of our lives. Nearly 2 years to the day, all the ideas, plans, potential and dreams came to a head… a beginning. The beginning of my work with PFO. I received an opportunity to create a 12-week course based on a deeper dive into the values, and beliefs of PFO and teach this to the new advisors. Advisors are an amazing group of adults who support teens through their PFO journey (and it’s quite the journey). The pilot is called “Ignite Your Life from the Inside Out”, as I’ve seen PFO from the outside as a spectator, volunteer and donor and from the Inside through the lens of the Founder herself. No matter which way you look at it, it’s a beautiful picture and the landscape is only growing. I’m thrilled to be serving in this role and that you are sharing in this journey with me. We are 4 weeks in and I’m happy to report it’s going well!
In March of 2009 and the subsequent years, I had no idea where the dots would lead. I am reminded that you can only connect them looking backwards. Every dot, whether it makes sense or feels senseless, weaves the connective patterns called life. My life and your life. And now that I’m looking backwards, I can see everyone of these dots and how they are connected to you. Thank you for joining my journey!