1 - I love to speak in sports metaphors or relate sports to life. Because so much of who I am today is because of what I learned playing sports. The rest of who I am is because of coffee, wine, chocolate and Seinfeld quotes.
2 - I don't do well with the touchy-feely emotional stuff. I mean... I'm kind of a one-person emotional floodgate... kind of like a cat. And my person... well, he's my best friend. And even THEN, I hold a LOT back and he has to coax it out of me. Then I tell him to suck it up, buttercup, because I'M. FINE. It might be the way I was raised where tears for physical pain were tolerated more than tears for emotional pain... but only slightly. Because there's no crying or bleeding in softball. See? I did it again.
But tonight, I want to share the joy I felt being a member of an amazing team in the Junior League of Ogden. A critical mass of bad ass women who were so unbelievably talented that I continually asked myself how much longer I could keep faking being one of them.
So, because I still have all of my magical Presidential Powers and Wisdom that descended on me June 1, 2016, we're going to do things my way. With a sports metaphor.
I KNOW. This comes as a complete surprise to me, too.
When I was in high school, I joined the track team. Not because I liked to run (quite the opposite) but because I had sprained my ankle crossing first base the year before and I couldn't open myself to another ridiculous injury and risk the loss of uber-athlete status.
It turns out, I really couldn't run the 100. Or the 200. Or the 800. Or the mile. Well... I could. I just wasn't going to find any success. Plus the sobbing... which, as we've already discussed, was frowned upon.
That left the 400m for me. I'm 40 years old now and I still want to vomit a little bit when I see people lining up for the 400m race. Either on TV or in person. It's nauseously exciting. And I loved every minute of it. I held a couple of school records for a hot minute - which did wonders for my ego and was my first immortality project - until someone better and faster came along and wiped out my entire 400m existence like I hadn't almost died out there on the track. Multiple times.
And that's where I learned a profound lesson. There's ALWAYS someone better, faster, smarter. And that's a good thing. Otherwise, what do we train for? How boring would life be if no one got any better? If we didn't have anything to benchmark or push ourselves towards?
My favorite race by far was the medley relay. In the medley, each person has a different distance. A different job. But we were a team. And we worked together tirelessly. What people don't really understand in a relay is that the transition... that handoff of the baton... is THEEEE most important part of the relay. And it will determine the success of your team. Of your school.
And honestly, in some cases, it determined your ability to compete.
The JLO transitions every year. On multiple teams. And perhaps no one team of transition is more crucial than that of the outgoing and incoming board. And let's be honest... the woman running as the anchor - the President - ultimately determines the ability of the team to compete. To get better. Her job is to keep an eye on the goal and help the team execute. To guide the league through the nauseous excitement and help it take a leap of faith. As my relay teammate, Kim, takes the baton from me and begins her leg of the race, I trust that the League is on solid footing. And I know with that foundation, she and the board will take JLO to the next level of genius and passion. I am so excited to see what's in store for the League... because this little organization of ours is about to blow things up.
This year has been one of the most significant time periods of my life. It has been my absolute honor to serve on this year's Junior League of Ogden Board with some of the most talented and passionate women I have ever met. Saying how much I love each and every one of them rings hollow, but I do. I learned something from each of them and they each inspired me in some way. And it made the year fly by. It was mach speed and slow motion at the same time. All of the meetings. Following up on an additional email account where everyone needs or wants something from you. Having conversations with people who needed some guidance. Writing up agendas and researching issues. Finding a babysitter to attend more meetings. Holding your temper when something goes awry, and constantly reminding yourself: "I'm a volunteer. I'm a volunteer. I'm not going to lose sleep over this."
And then losing sleep over it anyway.
It's just such a beautiful time. Everyone should have this opportunity!
This year, I lost my dad. And this group of women... they didn't miss a step. They were there for me in the best way they could have been... by reaching out with a call or a text. By sending a ginormous plant that I can't seem to kill... and by showing up at my office with a beautiful painting of my Dad (thank you to Kim, Kym and Emily) and pretending it wasn't magnificently awkward when I burst into tears.
I can honestly tell you that I have never had so much fun with a group of women as I had this year. Particularly at the board meetings with the new mama's and babies. Watching our board members grow both personally and professionally has been the highlight of my tenure with the League. And one I will not soon forget.
As part of my new immortality project, I'd like to leave the President and incoming board with a few tokens of advice as they embark on the 2017-18 year from someone who has a leetle bit of experience on the board:
- No one is carrying the heart in the cooler. - Vicki Clark
- Believe the best of people... even at their worst.
- There are always exceptions to this rule
- There are three levels of no AND yes.
- You can't do everything... so don't expect it of yourself.
- You will make mistakes. And you will survive them.
- Delegate, motivate, delegate, motivate, delegate, motivate.... REPEAT
- Everyone is scared. Everyone thinks they're in over their head.
- Don't mess up your priorities.
- Ask. For. Help.
- If you get prego, you don't get to quit the team.
- This is supposed to be fun.
- Showers and shaving are over-rated.
- Chocolate at every meeting is a must.
- Your legacy is that you're planting a tree whose shade you may never sit under.
- Make time to not talk about JLO with each other.
- Stay to the left and hurry back- 400m coach
Finally, to the 2016-17 Board and JLO members who latched on to the whole #lobsterup theme and KILLED it:
Thank you. Thank you for letting me be a part of this wild ride. Thank you for helping me grow and letting me help you grow. Thank you for always having my back. Thank you for your professionalism. Thank you for you personalities. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for working hard and for laughing harder. Thank you for putting your trust in me and letting me put my trust in you. You never disappointed. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead. Thank you for Daring Greatly and stepping into that arena with me.
I will always look back at this year with a fondness, joy and pride. That's what having little babies at Board meetings and volunteer events can bring.
But more importantly, that's what women fearlessly stepping up to make a difference with passion, intelligence and courage can do. And that's what the Junior League of Ogden is all about.
Jaynee - OUT.