You know those times in life when you pause, eyelids lifted in surprise, head turning side to side and your mouth slightly open as you take in the full picture of where you are? Some people pinch themselves, some people ramble pointless words and others like me kind of stand in an awkward moment of amazement due to the fact that you’re in a situation you never dreamed of experiencing.
That sums up my recent experience in Scotland.
Not only did have the opportunity to breathe the crisp air and spectacular scenery of Fort Augustus, Scotland, I also had the honour of attending a Winning Partnerships class, taught by some of the most well known players in the world fundraising stage – Alan Clayton and Ken Burnett, along with Jonathan Andrews and Laura Croudace.
The course was based on finding, building and maintaining long term, remarkable and worthwhile partnerships between corporations and charities. The content was top notch, but I think I took something else that I wasn’t expecting.
Instead I think I learnt the importance of purpose and passion, not in my professional life, but also in my personal life.
It’s hard to work for a cause that you aren’t passionate about, and it’s equally as hard to work for an organisation that can’t articulate it’s purpose.
But more importantly, you need to live a life knowing the purpose of why you are here, and you need find a passion to drive the purpose.
In the final day, we were challenged to step out of our comfort zones and develop a winning pitch.
I stood in front of twelve people and read out my speech that was based on the story of my grandma, who has recently gone blind due to aged related macular degeneration (AMD). I cried as read the words. I was mortified to think I was showing such vulnerability, but also felt brave to think I had the ability to continue to stand there and let them see the impact it had on me.
Why? Because when I sat down, those people in that room had my back, they believed in me and potentially admired the fact that I let them see this side of me.
In essence, I gained their trust.
For some people, this skill comes naturally, but to others like me it hides in the basement of my brain.
I now grapple with trying to figure out how to take this lesson and implement it into everyday decisions and situations.
Right now, to be this person I need to speak up without fear of judgement, I need to say yes in situations I am frightened of taking and I need to be persistent in my attempts to achieve personal goals.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more than what I thought I would from the masters.
I hope that one day, I can be that person imparting little handfuls of spinach, to create Popeye’s of the world.