It was my Training Day.
I booked myself into a day of training that was about the management of volunteers. I wasn't looking forward to it but as I'm the coordinator of 13 volunteers now, and I have had no previous experience working with volunteers, I thought it was a wise thing to do. I actually thought it would be a bit boring and that I probably wouldn't learn a lot. Wrong! I came away from that training day knowing a lot more than I did and with information vital to our organisation. And like all good training, it made me look at myself and how I worked, with a critical eye.
I don't want to pat myself on the back here but I believe I've made a big difference at my Centre. I've changed things for the better, made systems more accountable, expanded programs and increased the number of volunteers significantly. I am praised for my work all the time, constantly told how wonderful things are and stupid me, I fell for it. I believed my own publicity! I actually thought we'd just about reached our goal and that we could sit back and let it all take care of itself. I sound really full of it, don't I.
My training day was also attended by 20 other people from non-profit organisations similar to mine. We talked about the challenges we all face and the differing ways we used to address those challenges, as well as the previously unthought of responses offered by our trainer. It left me surprised, motivated and inspired. I discovered new ways of dealing with problems and I finally understood that sometimes, there is nothing I can do to fix something and that I just have to accept that and move on. That's a tough one for me because I always think I can do something to fix what is broken.
I have been working at my Centre for almost two years but now I feel like I did when I first realised the immense amount of good that comes from that place and how many people are helped. So now I am set for more changes, I will do more, scrap some things (and be okay with that) and fashion our responses to better suit the times and the people we seek to help.
It's all about the perspective, isn't it. When you look at a situation from a different angle, you see it in a different way. Just when you think you know something, it changes and you see more angles, greater divides, more ups and downs. But taking yourself outside your normal framework to look at something familiar, also gives you a greater understanding and shows you more solutions.
That's one of the reasons I think blogging is important to so many of us. It allows us to see what other people are doing and how they deal with the challenges of everyday life. We see things from a different perspective, we see our own situation played out somewhere else in a different way, and when the results of that difference are rewarding and cohesive, it inspires us to try other ways. Sometimes it shows us a different way to make bread, at other times we see new ways of living.
Today I'll be visiting my daughter-in-law to take her a birthday gift - a box of soap making supplies, my recipe and instructions for making soap, and a verbal promise to come and help when she tries it. I'll also be working on Shane's quilt, making a salmon mornay and Brussel sprouts (Hanno's favourite) for dinner, baking bread, organising the laundry and washing the floors. It's good to be here at home again.