Friday, July 18, 2008

Trusting the Universe

Recently I had a major decision to make. I had two very different paths open up to me. Today I made my choice.

At the college where I have worked for the past two and a half years there has been a bit of musical chairs going on. One of the upper administration types has submitted his resignation as he is going to a different college in California. My boss has been appointed interim in the position being vacated. So the powers that be were asking me to step up to my boss's job, being the Director of a major federal grant program. In many ways it was a tremendous opportunity, offering me more money, more responsibility, more autonomy... and a higher level of experience that could well lead to other opportunities in academic leadership.

But I was also being considered for an Executive Director position with a not-for-profit organization nearby that provides transitional services for recently released felons to help them have a positive re-entry into the community. That job paid substantially less and required a further commute. But it seemed like a spot where my particular skills would be a good match. I had some major reservations, but remained interested in the position.

I had one meeting with the executive board from the non profit and stayed in an ongoing dialogue with them about what that job involved. I knew that they wanted me pretty seriously. I also had a long heart-to-heart talk with my boss about the job he had to try to figure out whether I would want to take it over or not. I was fairly committed to wanting to complete some projects there that I had been on the ground floor of helping design. I kept going back and forth between the two trying to figure out which one would be the best.

I tallied up all the pros and cons of each job. There was no clear winner. I pondered and prayed and asked for discernment. I could clearly see how I could do good service in either position. I talked with several trusted friends, weighing the relative merits of both paths. I was still stumped. What's a girl to do?

Then today I was in a second meeting with executive committee from the Board of the non profit group. They had me review their financial statements, discuss their agency mission and guiding values, check out the office environment, meet some of the players. This was intended to be my final fact-gathering session. I had both offers clearly in my hands and just had to pick between the two.

I pretty much planned to spend the whole weekend thinking about it, praying about it, talking it over with my husband. But then, on an impulse, I decided not to do that.

I recognized than either way I went I could be happy. Either way I went I could make a positive contribution. Both jobs had some very definite advantages. Both jobs had some not-so-shiny aspects to them. I could spend the next two days agonizing over the relative merits and then forever second guess myself over whether I had made the right decision. Or not. So I decided to just leave it up to the universe to choose which path for me to take.

I turned to the gentleman who serves as treasurer for the non profit group and asked him, "Do you have a coin?" He looked at me sort of confused. They knew I had another job offer that I was trying to choose between. So I said to him: "Look, I am impressed with what you have shown me so far. But is that a better match for me than the position at the college? I'm just not sure. So we are going to flip for it. Call it in the air. If it lands how you call it I will accept this position. If it lands the other way, I'm going to stay at the school. You make the call."

They were horrified. They could not believe I would be so flippant about such a major decision. But I assured them I meant it. So he pulled out a quarter and flipped the coin.

It was tails.

I am now the new Executive Director of STAR Project.

They even let me keep the quarter.

They are convinced I am utterly nuts (which is probably true). But they are delighted to have me come on board and I feel at peace with it. Some might say it was foolish to abdicate responsibility for my choice in such a haphazard way. I, however, am entirely comfortable with it. Rather than worry and fret and agonize over whether I made the right decision or not, I'm simply trusting that God and the universe know more about what is best for my future than I do. It was my way of surrendering my need to control every aspect of my life. I was ready to let go and trust.

I know this will be a very demanding job and I have a HUGE challenge ahead of me. But I am ready to give it my best shot. On Monday I will give my two weeks notice to the college. I start my new job on August 1. Ready or not, here I come.


Laura Young said...

Oh my God, woman, this is absolutely priceless. Right with you, baby! Laughed my butt off at "call it in the air." What I would have given to be a fly on the wall watching that whole scene. MARVELOUS!
Congrats on the new gig. I trust you will do outstanding work! Great cause, too, and challenging no doubt!

Mimi said...

Awesome! Whohooooo! Good job! And, congratulations!

Kate said...

I came to this post from a link in Laura's Dragonslayer blog. Now I'm stuck. I'm having a huge problem clicking away from here.

First, what a wonderful example of surrender AND courage. Congratulation on your new job and the splendid way you chose it/were chosen.

I've clicked around most of your pages, bookmarked a few links (esp. the stained glass ones), and am completely captivated. However, I'm hungry and want to play in my studio.

I'll be back soon.
Thanks for being out there and sharing the journey. :)

Jaquandor said...

Wow, I hope that was a smart quarter! Bad things happen when you flip the dumb ones. I once flipped a Connecticut quarter and...well, that's not a good story.

But best wishes on the new job! You should probably celebrate with some kind of whipped-cream laden dessert item. ;)

Jen said...

LOL. After all that, you ended up with more than enough choices.

Anonymous said...

(Also arriving here via DragonSlaying Laura...)
Yes, they probably DO think you're nuts BUT--they also know you are going to do whatever it takes to go forward, which I suspect translates well for them in the long run. As someone who can "live in my mind" as opposed to taking action -- and struggle with "woulda coulda shoulda" -- I applaud you for the research and assessment you did to prepare for the coin tossing --and then the straight out balls in allowing yourself to cut to the chase, with the Universe's help!!
Best of luck--nancy v-b

Jacque T said...

Great Blog. I believe it comes down to faith. You did the work (research) and knew all there was to know about each. Nothing that helped in your decision making process jumped out, so why not flip a coin... Thanks for doing the blog and I hope to stay in touch..

layne (herman) said...


I saw the new Batman movie this past week, your tossing a coin reminded me of the Harvey Dent character. :)

I wish I could have been there to watch their expressions during the coin toss; what would you have said had it come up heads?

Kristie said...

When we get out of our own way, that is when the real magical tales/tails can begin! Wishing you a grand adventure into your new experience. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

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