“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Chinese Proverb
More than a year ago, I considered what it would be like to seek something different. After more than a decade established in my career, I wondered what would be next. I accomplished some amazing things working daily in a school district, supporting teachers and students. I had even been able to serve at the highest level in my professional association, president of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) 2020-2021.
What a year! But what next?
I reflected deeply on what I wanted to do: I still wanted to help districts serve teachers and students. I relished the opportunity to provide trusted counsel to a superintendent. I was up for the challenge of trying to serve multiple districts at once. But could I leave the security of where I had spent more than a decade of my life? The place where I wheeled a baby stroller into with a three-month-old to fill out the paperwork in human resources. The place where I prayed I wouldn’t go into labor with my second child as our district was enduring our biggest crisis to date–an EF4 tornado that caused three schools to be rebuilt. The place where I led a branding effort and launched three websites. The place where I created communications plans that had a direct impact on student outcomes and led to national recognition. Could I do it?
“Growth and comfort do not coexist,” said former IBM CEO Ginni Rometti. She’s right. It can’t.
That’s why I am speaking to you, who might be considering the next chapter in your career, perhaps with Nichols Strategies. I get it; it’s a big decision. It felt as if I were peering to the other side of a 1,000-foot canyon with just an eight-inch gap that I could easily step across. But could I?
Doubt creeps in for everyone, regardless of what they have accomplished. But your biography can’t be solely about what you have done in the past (or what has been done to you). What’s next?
I inhaled. I exhaled. I reflected. I prayed, and I stepped across that divide in December 2021.
If you’re considering a consulting role, here’s what I can tell you: the work remains the work. You will have good days and not-so-good days.
But in this chapter of my life, I decided to look at what is important to me differently: I have fewer days with my kids in my household than I have behind me.
I want to drive the carpools and be home to greet them when they return from school. (Even as I write this, my youngest just texted to ask if I could pick him up as a car rider today. Yes, son, I can!) And yet, I can still contribute to my family by being a working mom.
Leaving your situation right now may not be in the cards for you. Maybe that day will come, maybe it won’t. But I’m here to tell you that it can be done, and you can still contribute to helping districts create communications solutions to their most pressing challenges.
While we have vacancies at Nichols Strategies, perhaps you want someone to connect with as you consider taking that first step. I’m happy to listen.