I was asleep seconds after getting into the car. That kind of exhaustion comes only as a result of extreme stress. Joe said I was snoring before we left the parking lot. I have mentioned before that, at my core, I'm extremely insecure. That I lecture at all is surprising, it comes about soley due to the combination of grit and grace. It's trite to say it but the only reason I put myself up in front of others is because I believe strongly in what I want to say.
After all these years I've never really made peace with what I do. You know I lectured for 3 years before I ever let Joe come and hear me speak. It was 7 years before anyone in my family ever was invited to attend. I figure failure in front of strangers was something I could live with, failure in front of familiars - now that's a different story. And you know over the years I've had some people not like my lecture style, but I can recall only one disasterous training were I embarrassed myself. And when I think back over my career, I remember that training more than the standing ovations, the cheers, the letters of thank you. (One of Fat's regular readers was at that disasterous training ... do you remember?)
So, when Manuela asked me to do a presentation at Vita's staff retreat, like I did last year, I tensed up. I agreed, and I agreed to talk about something that I hadn't talked about before. Now there is a double whammy. When I came to Vita I thought I'd be there only for a couple of years while we worked on the 'home safe' project whereby we were consciously working on developing protocols, procedures and plans that would keep people safe in service. It's turned out to be a bigger project than we imagined. And, truthfully, I found I like having a home agency, a home office and being part of a larger team.
Last years lecture was bad enough, but this year - it was like getting up in front of a room full of family. That should be reassuring, but as all of you know, it isn't. So I had to wait to talk until after lunch. When I was finally up on stage and finally prepared to give my talk, I simply did. As as happens, once in, I enjoyed myself and the experience.
What was different this time was that I felt really part of something much bigger. I felt part of a huge team, I felt the team spirit and I felt that there was there in the room a quiet pride in all of us for what we do, for what we want to to, and a real determination to continue the journey.
For a moment it seemed like there was a wafting back and forth of support, from me to them, from them to me. It felt good.
To be home safe.