Sunday, August 26, 2012

Feeling Professional.

Sometimes in your day to day life, you end up doing things that make you feel very professional. These things make you feel grown up, like you're someone of importance, and that life is giving you opportunities to show people who you are and what you stand for....and that those people are going to listen and take you seriously.

I find that feeling professional is something I haven't felt too often. Or that during those times when I was feeling professional, there were people around that would stomp that out of me. As someone who started my career in Broadcasting at only 19 years old, it is often I wouldn't be taken seriously. Not only was I a young adult at that time, I was also a girl which posed its own problems. I was also in positions of status at times, heading departments, being in charge. When all those factors combined it created a lot of heart ache along the way and moments of triumph which were greatly relished.

Here we are today. Five years of radio under my belt, completely breaking free from the dream job I've had in the past, and volunteering for six months to pursue a new passion in hopes of finding my next attainable dream job.

It's amazing how, while still being at what might seem an apparent disadvantage to those I may have been associated with in the past, I've managed to be more accepted, have more skills recognized and been pushed more to give all I have in these past few weeks than ever before. I've felt more professional. I've felt more challenged.

Things that make one feel professional:
Doing work at the EBay/Pay Pal office.
Having breakfast meetings.
Being flown somewhere on a Friday, to host workshops on Saturday, then flying back to your current residence on Sunday.
PayPal Visitor.

I've been part of all those things over the past couple of weeks.

It was quite amazing to be going to the EBay/Pay Pal office to sell ethically made products to the staff and talk to them about making smart consumer choices. How often do people do that? Not very often. It's wonderful to be able to take skills I've been growing what seems like all my life, and be applying them in such a surreal manner.

I recall on the Thursday before being flown to Ohio for an Academy World Tour stop that I said out loud in the office, "I feel so professional. Breakfast meeting then flying to an event." A staff member agreed with me, especially about the breakfast meeting. There's no reason why a breakfast meeting should make you feel professional. A meeting at any other time of day is just the same. But a lunch meeting just doesn't have the same emphasis of importance as a breakfast meeting. Perhaps it's because we know that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day", so the meetings we have during that time must also share that same importance. Perhaps it's because breakfast hosts some of the most envious foods. Aren't we all excited when we see a restaurant serves "All Day Breakfast"? Regardless of the reason behind it, a breakfast meeting made me feel important. Like I had something to offer and we were going to chat about it over granola with yogurt and fruit, and a chai tea latte.

While EBay, Pay Pal, and breakfast meetings all hold a level of professionalism I was pumped to experience, nothing holds that level as being flown somewhere to present workshops and then fly home the next day.

I was a last resort. Truth. No one else could go to the event, so I went.
Now, this could make someone feel a few different things...You could feel insignificant; *sigh* no one else could go so they are sending me. You could feel empowered; *excitement* no one else could go so they are sending me! You could feel nervous; *yikes* no one else could go so they are sending me.
I'd say I felt a healthy combination of the last two; healthy meaning slightly empowered but more so nervous. It was a wonderful experience to have people believe in you. People you have known for really, not a long time, feel you are 100% capable of presenting workshops you had a week or less to learn to a crowd of unknown size in Troy, Ohio.

After my breakfast meeting I received a ride to the airport from a fellow Fellow and flew on over to Ohio. I met wonderful people on my flights and arrived to meet the host of the event who was gracious, friendly and just as nice in person as he was in emails and on twitter. I spent the night at a hotel nicer than I ever expected and attempted to prepare myself for the next three workshops and the main event. I'll be honest, my preparation included a whole lot of prayer.

SIDE NOTE on PRAYER: I don't get why people leave praying to the last resort. Prayer is a first step. What happens next is up to God who reveals to you your next steps. Whether you chose to act on His next steps or not is completely your thing.

The next day came sooner that it should have (a three hour time difference throws you off a little bit) and I was doing it, I was going to present. We all went to breakfast ("all" being the host, the performer, and myself) and enjoyed a restaurant that originated in Ohio. Next was on to the venue to set up the NFS merch I brought along, set up my laptop and get the presentations rolling! Like I said before, my preparation was a whole lot of prayer. Honestly, in my opinion, the best form of prayer in a time like that, where you are nervous and afraid to forget something of importance, is to pray that God uses you to get His message across. That He speaks through you. That you are a vessel for Him.

I am sure I missed points I had on my notes to get across. I'm sure things didn't go exactly the way my notes on the music stand in front of me guided. I am sure that the things I said that weren't part of my notes were extra things that God wanted me to say to that crowd. Things don't always go according to your plan. The best is when things go according to God's plan.

While setting up that day I met a wonderful lady the is the Love 146 rep for the Dayton, Ohio area. She is fun, spunky, full of life, loves vintage and tattoos and has a heart for ending modern day slavery in our time. Let's just say from the moment I saw her with her half sleeve and fun hair I knew we would chat and get along. I confided in her that I had never done public speaking before and there were moments I'd look at her while presenting and she would smile. She was my encourager at that event. After the first presentation she assured me I did well and those in attendance even asked me questions and complimented me. Praise the Lord! I knew from that moment on that the rest would be OK.

NomiS and I, boarding pass, attendees
with certificates and the
lovely Love 146 rep
The Faith Based Activism Workshop was probably my favourite. Telling personal stories is wonderful. It's easy to be passionate about the verses I was referencing because they are the same verses I have bookmarked in my Bible App. This was definitely the workshop where I can guarantee I spoke things that weren't on my notes, where I really let God guide me and I loved it. It was a wonderful feeling to have God lead and I follow.

The rest of the evening went well. We presented, we discussed, we went out after and enjoyed the company of new friends brought together by one purpose; to end human trafficking. While packing up the wonderful Love 146 rep gave me the Love 146 badge she had on display at her booth. It meant a lot to me to receive that. I feel her friendship will always mean a lot to me as she was someone that helped me through a whole new experience in my life. An experience I will look back on and be forever grateful that I was able to be a part of and actually exceed both my expectations and the expectations of the host of the event.

I feel professional here. It is something that I don't always feel while here, but it is wonderful to be in a space where I am both challenged and respected. Where you aren't trying to make people realize you are here for a reason (you are smart, educated, have a skill set) but where they know you are here for a reason, and those reasons are why they challenge you and expect great things from you.

It is such a different dynamic than what my last five years have been like. And while yes, there have been many rewarding  moments in the past five years in my career, where people have believed in me, I have believed in myself, and I've ended up becoming an asset and a loved and valued team member; it is definitely nice when the beginning isn't full of proving yourself, where those you are surrounded with unknowingly push you to be the best you can be. I know, come the last day of the Fellowship on December 14th, I will be more than I ever thought I could be thanks to those who continually encouraged my growth both at work, personally and spiritually.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunshine in Half Moon Bay

As I am typing this a few of us fellows are sitting in the living room, windows open, and are all busy on our laptops. While all doing various different things, one thing we all have in common is the fact that we are enjoying what is referred to as a "BSD". BSD, if you didn't know, stands for Blue Sky Day. It is something that doesn't happen very often here in Half Moon Bay and when it does, you need to take a few moments out of your day and enjoy it.

Enjoying the day and enjoying what we are doing here are two things that we do, however we don't do with enough intent and realization behind it...

The weeks are busy and I find myself doing so many things in one day that when it's time to submit my dashboard on a Sunday afternoon, I find myself surprised at all the things I did. The thought "I did all that this week?" often comes into my mind, thinking whatever the task was, I did it weeks ago. Things are fast paced and always changing and it's an environment I am adjusting to and beginning to love.

Laughter. As we all sit at our laptops, the random sheep in an unknown yard nearby yard starts to bleat. And not just a regular one, but a long, awkward sound.  We all look at each other and burst out laughing. Wonderful.
Back to being busy. When working with NFS, there's never a moment where you feel like you are done. I am all too familar with the "I've done all my work for the day and I still have a couple hours/all afternoon left to work!" feeling. This is simply incredible for me. My last job left me feeling quite bored and like I had so much left to offer at the end of the day. With the Fellowship, the end of the day comes and I am beat! I feel accomplished in the tasks I completed, excited about the work yet to be done, and satisfied knowing that there is always  more work to be done. We are ending modern-day slavery. Your work never ends at 5pm.

First bottles of REBBL

Over the past couple of weeks we've had a chance to do some amazing things! REBBL has been launching and we've been working at launch parties. The most recent being at the Causes head office in San Francisco. The view from their 21st floor space is the best view I've seen in San Francisco and the event left us all pumped about NFS, REBBL and Causes!  The Causes staff are friendly and into the work that NFS and REBBL are doing.

The View from the Causes Office

A Fashion Movement for Change

This past week us lady-fellows went up to San Francisco to a Sustainable Fashion show.  We got all dressed up and headed into the big city. It was a fun experience and I definitely feel at home in San Francisco. The sustainable fashion show featured {r}evolution Apparel who are the makers of the Versalette, and Sew Love Style showing their top and new Tulip Skirt. I felt so trendy being there and seeing a fashion show that is so forward thinking. A couple of the girls really got their networking on and told everyone they could about NFS and exchanged business cards. Myself and another girl just took it all in; the environment, the different people, the venue. We wanted to relish the experience. At the end of the fashion show part of the evening they had the Versalette present for people to try on. I jumped at the chance of trying it on since I want to get one when they are on sale. It was a blast and I will for sure remember it.

Posing with the Versalette

Moments like the fashion show, laughing at the house and enjoying the BSD make it easy to take moments to realize what you are doing, I mean REALLY doing, and appreciate it. It's easy to take a few steps back and enjoy the atmosphere.

My goal for  this week is to take moments in the middle of the day and while taking a sip of water, waiting for an email to load, or walking to or from work, is to take that brief moment, that moment that could be as easily fleeting as a quick ocean breeze while going for a jog, and acknowledge where I am, what I am doing, and really enjoy it.

When you think about it, we really are working to end modern-day slavery. We've been selected from over 30 applicants to come to Half Moon Bay and work with those who are already devoting their life to seeing justice prevail and, for me, to see Love overcome. We are small but are part of the bigger picture. The first part of my day, aside from checking my personal @nfs email account is checking the general email account. While at times, it can seem annoying to be the person that needs to respond to all these random emails, and when you're tired and it's been cloudy and cold for a week it can be exhaustive.  However, looking through those emails is one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my day. The emails from people that read along the lines of 'How can I get involved?', 'What can I do to help?", 'How can I join the movement to end slavery in our time?' get me SO pumped! People are encouraged by the work we do. People care.  People want to be involved. People are feeling called to be involved. If moments like that can't make me enjoy what I am doing  here, nothing will. That one of the many reasons I am so happy to be here.

The more people that know slavery exist today, the more people will a stand against it. The more people who gain knowledge of slavery in supply chains and how they are part of it due to their consumerism, the easier it will be for them to make smart choices. The more people out there making informed decisions, the more businesses and companies will change their ways.  The less demand, the less slavery. All of this results in more people like you and me working to change the cycle and lives of those at risk and provide them them with sustainable new future options!

Those moments sipping my water, waiting for an email to load, walking to or from work, those moments will be spent this week full of gratitude to be here, thankfulness for the opportunity, encouragement from the blessings in my life allowing me to be here, and enjoyment, soaking in every moment.