Last night was the last Leadership Team Meeting to attend for the women's group I've been apart of/ co-created. Granted I still have to meet with the "CEO" -my friend Jos -tomorrow to pass the baton further along by giving details about what I've actually been doing for the past year or so, but last night was the last time meeting officially as a group.
Honestly when I first decide to leave I thought the only person who would really care would be Jos. And I figured she'd mostly care because me leaving increases the groups work loud by at least 30%. Daily activities and monthly activities and future activities.
But then she wanted me to announce to the group I was leaving -as if it would shatter their world to find out. And I thought, "Ok only like 3 people in the group have stayed in the group over a year and therefore 'know' me." So I told Leslie (one of those 3 people) in person alongside Jos that I was leaving and she said, "Oh that's good. I think it's healthy for you to take a break and step down -you deserve it! We'll still get to see each other as friends and you'll help me on my projects for my business right?" And I said, "Yah I'm not moving or anything..." And it was the first time I felt good about going. I knew that I needed to go and it needed to happen, but I felt like I had to leave with my head hung low because I was "letting people down". Her response was the first time someone validated that this was a good thing for me.
Then I told my step-mom who regularly asks about the group and she said, "Wow good for you. It's good to know when enough is enough and you need a break. This is a valuable life lesson and you're handling it beautifully. Especially since you gave her a months notice and your still working for the group until the month ends. Very honorable. I'm so proud of you!"
And I was amazed that I didn't get judgement or criticism but instead praise.
Then I vented to my step-sister Sarah last weekend about what the past 2 years has been like and the work I've been doing and my decision to leave and her reaction was, "and you haven't been getting paid for this work?" and I said, "No it's all volunteer." And she was like, "Yah I'd have quite a loooongggg time ago."
Then last night I wasn't sure what the groups' reaction would be. I figured 70% wouldn't care since they were new to the group and had only met me once before. Jos made each person in the room (10 people total) say what they thought about me and what they would miss. 90% of them said, "Well I haven't known you long but you seem to be a caring, confident, creative, quiet, friendly person and I like the calming energy you give out. You were one of the first people I met at the event I met you at and you made me feel welcomed." Then Niki, who has a Xena Warrior Princess in a Business Suite vibe going on looked at me and said, "I admire how gracefully you've handled stepping down and how respectful and committed you've been to the group. I think it says a lot about your integrity and is a sign of a great leader. I think you deserve this break and will always be welcomed back into the group."
It was one of the greatest compliments I've ever gotten. :)
I think my main concern -maybe out of guilt but probably more out of a desire to see the group continuing on well -is to hand over the baton in a way that makes the transition smooth and causes the least amount of "damage". For me it's important to keep bridges not only unburned, but also well-maintained and looked after.