Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lost Again

Every 4 years or so you get "lost". You kind of go through a mid-life crisis in which you try to figure out why things don't feel right and what needs to shift so you can progress onward. I experienced this when I was 23 and didn't quite know what to do with my life. What career to take what to do to fulfill my soul. I've hit that point again. 

For 2 years -with moments of wanting to quit in between -I've been supporting my friend's vision of creating a women's group that helps women who own their own businesses get the support from others and the guidance to promote their businesses and gain success.

In the past month I've had this unyielding desire to quit. To recap on the reasons I want to quit (which have been rolling around in my head incessantly):

1. The inconsistent, ever changing nature of my friend's "Vision". The goal has staid pretty much the same, but everything else has shifted. For an entire year we were doing networking events. Then 6 months trying to create a chapter. Now we're just focusing on a mentoring program. Months worth of work gets tossed aside and piles of documents and data become useless. I can't invest my time into things I know will at some point have a 90% of amounting to nothing. 

2. The way the non-profit and health-side of the "vision" was tossed aside in just a day. We set a goal (which I was mostly put in charge of achieving) to raise $2100 for 2 causes. Then in one swoop that "division" was cast aside and she said, "Oh I'll just write out a check to them at the end of the year or something let's just scrap that portion of things." She even debated getting rid of promoting non-profit causes on Fridays on our social media site as we have done for the past 2 years.  The same went for the women's health-focused division.

3. The "let's throw darts at the wall and see what sticks" way of planning things has gotten old. It's not a plan. And because of that we don't plan ahead -we're always reactive. Which is another issue: Scheduling events and then waiting until the day before and/or the day of to actually format and plan what will happen during the event itself. Nightmare.

4. Not trusting people and hoarding higher positions.

My friend: "I want you, me, and this other person who's been around a while in these 3 top positions in the group." 

Me: "But there's 2 other top positions that need to be filled."

Her: "Ok so then I'll take on another one of those positions and so will you." 

Me: "Why don't we find other people within the group to fill the 2 positions?"

Her: "They aren't really leader-material yet. We don't just want to hand them over a top-tier position like that."

5. "Creating Leaders" by asking someone: "Hey what do you like to do/ What are you interested in?" 

Someone responding, "Well I like speaking..." 

Then her saying: "Ok then you can be in charge of the Speaking division of our group. You are now in charge of scheduling speakers each month and making sure they're debriefed on the format and ready to go..." 

It hit me the other day: She's acting like a CEO. As anti-corporate as she is, she is really acting the way a CEO would. It's NOT creating leaders to obligate someone to fill a position you then use to delegate work onto. It's called "manipulative-version of highering someone for a position they did not apply for and then not paying that person because technically we're still not profitable." It is not leadership. Real leadership is working with someone one-on-one to challenge them and bring out their best qualities by giving them opportunities to step up on their own and take on responsibilities and accomplishments. 

6. I'm not a leader. Despite being given titles like Manager and Director -I am NOT a leader in this organization. I don't lead anything. Instead I meet with my friend and she gives me an endless list of tasks to do. "I need to to create a flyer for this event -make it no more than 2 pages and also create a soft copy that's social media friendly so we can spread the word. I also need you to send out emails to everyone about the event. You also need to talk to the woman hosting the event -she should be featured next week on social media. And then I need you to..." This does not a leader make. 

7. Assigning people roles and positions when you are not clear what those roles and positions consist of. How can you run an organization by saying: "Hey I want you to sign up for this leadership position for a year. It's called Brand Executive Director and we have some of the things you'll do mapped out, but it's going to change along the way and anytime you feel like telling us what you think the role should consist of let us know and we'll plop in anything that sounds good for the role." You can't lead people by saying, "Let's kind of head off in this direction but if you guys feel like there's a better way let us know and we'll trek down that way for a while and see what happens..." 

I can't take this crap anymore. All the things I loved about our group have disappeared. The connections I made during events with big-hearted women and creating graphics and brainstorming new ideas has all disappeared. And then when I tried to make it clear to my friend that I would have less time to devote to this group and wanted some time to myself, she manipulated the situation and assigned me a year-long position in the mentoring program. 

I said, "I'll be the Marketing Manager and continue to do what I already do for this group. But I don't want to lead other people and I don't have time to meet up weekly with a "marketing team". I just want to do the basics not take anything more on." 

She said, "But I need you in a higher up position so you can manage these 2 other people who are taking over PR and network promotion for our group. I'm erasing the "Marketing Manager" position and just calling it "Marketing Director" and you'll be in charge of the whole division." 

I'm done. I don't have the patience or the band-width for this anymore. I don't care about it anymore. I resent being involved with it now. I wanted to help my friend achieve her vision but she's still too scattered and unclear on what that is exactly. I want a life of my own. I give 7:30-4pm to my day job and the time between 4:30pm-9pm is my precious time for self-fulfilling goals. I can't afford to waste anymore of my life on things that don't fulfill me. How can I help someone else achieve their vision and fulfill their soul if I neglect my own?

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