Let me tell you a story; it’s true of course because it involves me.

Last Thursday I listened to a message on my business line. It was from a guy who’s a higher ranked board member that I am within a national organization I’m a part of. I’m a local chapter president, a position I’ve held for 12 of the last 16 years, mainly because no one else wanted the position and were happy doing what they were tasked to do.

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Anyway, he was calling to tell me that he’d had a conversation with a chapter member who went to a national event the group has every year in Washington DC to lobby Congress on issues the organization deems important. I didn’t want to go this year and he was going anyway so I asked him to be the proxy for our chapter, and he agreed.

He said that they’d talked and he came away feeling that the proxy might be able to energize the local chapter because he had a lot of fresh ideas. I knew that part because I’ve talked to the guy before.

Here’s the killer part though. He said he was going to recommend to the national board that they replace me with this guy. Wow… didn’t see that coming.

Let’s see. I’m a volunteer who’s presided over a volunteer group for years because I wanted to see the chapter continue. It’s been hard keeping membership engaged and, because of costs, we’ve had some hard times getting enough members to come to be able to generate more income.

There’s been a lot of issues with hospitals in our area lately. More mergers, lots of changes in personnel, things like that. Add to it that I’ve traveled a lot for work over the last 13 years, which has made some of the things difficult to push through. Still, we did what we had to do, planned meetings, held them when we could, sent notices… all we could do to keep things together.

Can one basically fire a volunteer? I guess so. But the nerve… after so many years… sigh…

What did I do? I wrote the guy an email telling him he didn’t have to do that because I resigned and would step away from the board. I wrote the board members telling them I had resigned as president and would be leaving the board. After all, what could I really contribute from that moment on?

I was irked; I’m not going to lie. I can’t say I felt betrayed; I had expected that the new guy would make a good impression on the folks in Washington. I had expected he’d take over the presidency come next January and I’d be relieved of all the responsibility.

Instead… sigh…

I didn’t pout, but I was conflicted. I was hurt but I was also relieved. I was more hurt than relieved though. I think we all like to leave on our own terms, instead of going out on a whimper. This wasn’t close to my own terms. Still, it seems like everyone might be getting what they want, even if they may not be getting it the way they want it, or getting what they think they’re getting.

2015 Indoor Track - Ivy Prep League, Championships
Creative Commons License Steven Pisano via Compfight

Or maybe someone is… maybe it’s me. In last week’s post I talked about changing one’s business model. My final point talked about working more on leadership development projects rather than health care. Maybe this is a sign to pull back from trying to market health care services. Not to quit doing that type of work necessarily but to stop marketing it.

It’s an industry that in general doesn’t care until they’re in trouble… and even then you have to deal with some things I’d rather not get into here.

So, maybe the path is clear to do other things. I tell people all the time to listen to their intuition because it’s rarely wrong. Mine has been telling me I’ve been fighting a fight I can’t win. Acceptance in this field isn’t going to get me where I want to go. Just as I tell people that sometimes you have to leave a job, sometimes you have to change directions. You don’t give up; you adjust.

Leadership; that’s where I’m probably needed more right now. Coaching, mentoring… that’s probably the calling. My second book has been through its 3 drafts and I’m ready to start thinking about how I’m going to release it. Once that’s ready the publicity will change to that and… well, things will be set up better for that area of my business.

I wrote all this, told the story above, to get to this point… always be ready for changes to come that you’re not expecting. Try to find something in those changes that might be telling you what you probably should be doing rather than trying to force you into doing what you thought you needed to be doing.

This time my wife agrees with me. Let’s see where the wind takes me.
 

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