Find and follow

I was invited to teach meeting design and facilitation skills on the request of some young colleagues. After I figured out how to bill my time I said, yes, and let’s do it before my surgery, meaning it has to happen this week. In preparing for the sessions I pulled out a box with materials I had not looked at for a decade. It turned out to contain the sessions of a Leadership Course I did nearly 15 years ago. In the box I found two letters to self, something I used to do at the end of such courses. One was to a very senior official of the Eastern Cape in South Africa and the other to a young researcher in India. They were sealed but had a little notecard pinned to them indicating what I should ask them about when I would contact them some months after the course. I trust LinkedIn to find these people and then will send the letters.

As I went through the session files I realized I was feeling rather sad. The sessions were full of psychology, creativity and fun. I now teach according to something that was designed by others (or even myself) some time ago and that have to be delivered in a short time following a more or less pre-ordained structure. There no longer seem to be space for the things I used to do and loved to do.

It’s true that as you get older you look back on things with nostalgia; making things in the past appear rosier than they actually were. And although I do remember some of the more painful episodes in my tenure at MSH, when I think back on my nearly 30 years here I realize how blessed I have been, and continue to be, to first find and then follow my real calling and, all along, have a chance to rub it off on others who might find their calling resonant with mine. I am looking forward to the sessions, nearly as much as to my surgery, ha!

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