June 28, 2014

Do They Doubt?

I've been in Washington DC for the week at a convention. We had probably 3000 women in attendance when all was said and done. I met women from across the Nation, all with similar interests... great concern for our Veterans, a love of our children, and a passionate Patriotism.

It was a long week, but I had a great roommate, probably one of the most considerate roommates I've ever had, and it actually made the week fun. I have gone in the past and wanted to run screaming, in total sensory overload.

There was a fantastic gym with a rowing machine and I found when things got crazy in my head, if I just rowed for 20 minutes, it cleared. I cannot imagine how head clearing it would be on a lake in the wee hours of the morning. Alas, living in Florida, our lakes full of gators, that will not be for me.

I am slated to run our State of women in three years. I don't think I've put that out here before, although I know many of you know I'm involved with this great organization. But as with any organization of mass quantities of people, comes the human element: some are mean, some are nuts, some are dumb, others are selfish, there are egos, and then there is... the ever present incompetence.

For 22 years I've been affiliated with this group. We've done some tremendous things and I've met some brilliant and amazing women. I've had the opportunity to hear speakers and meet people that I would never have had chance to otherwise. From children who've done amazing things to Battaan Death March survivors, sponsoring seeing eye dogs for our wounded warriors, and helping families in crisis as their wounded warriors recover at a VA... the experiences are tremendous and I soak it all in and help when I can.

I have observed how things run, what needs to be done and have made mental note of what we do right and... of what we do not.

Finally in a fit of aggravation over leadership one night, as I jokingly said in frustration to a friend, "I should run for the Executive Board for our State"... she replied... "You should."

And it started. Over the last three years I've run for offices and won. I have always run opposed. I'm on the track to run this organization within my State of 10,000 women in three years. It will be a full time job of a two year commitment with my traveling the State constantly, going to every chapter (over 100) and meeting every woman I can.

I'll be in the field, if you will, helping and listening to the women who are the backbone of our organization.

And after coming back from our National Convention, for the first time, I am nervous.

For the first time, I wonder, will I be what they need me to be? Will I be as patient as one needs during conflict? Will I be able to steer and to guide as a true leader?

Every night I go through my thoughts and I've now started to write them down. In what direction do I want to take them? Will they want to follow? Will they come together? Can I quell the petty arguments I see going on within some chapters? Can I get them to realize... we must be kind?

My roommate gave me a book to read while we were visiting Ford's theatre. Lincoln on Leadership, Executive Strategies for Tough Times.

Of course, I'm joking that my goal is not to get shot at the end of my administration, but I am taking it to heart. I'm reading it and pondering areas of which I have concern.

But the question I ask myself most is... do great leaders ever doubt they can lead?

I guess that is the basis of this post. Am I capable of being a great leader to these 10,000 women, when I am doubting myself and my abilities to be what they need to be?

Am I destined to be just another mediocre leader, a name with the dozens of names I can conjure up?

My ladies deserve more than gross mediocrity. They deserve a good strong leader... and that is where I've been this week mentally, as I've been in DC, watching, listening, praying.

I don't know. I pray I can be... what I need to be for them, before I quietly go back to my private life.

I struggle.


On a Bones' note... I received an text picture of him last night; his hair was gelled. He is now clean cut and this 'gel' hairstyle is quite the innovation.

I was greeted tonight with, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Look what I got! I got hair gel, Old Spice Spiffy!"

Of course he did. Old Spice is big with my boys. Whoda thunk it?!

Posted by Boudicca at June 28, 2014 07:32 PM

Of course they do. If they don't have doubts then they are megalomaniacs and not fit to lead cockroaches. It is through doubt that you keep trying to do better each time.

Posted by: Heresolong at June 28, 2014 11:58 PM

I keep telling myself, nobody will die over this. I have to keep it in perspective.

Posted by: Bou at June 29, 2014 07:14 AM

Hey, you've successfully raised three teenage boys. How hard can a few thousand women be? :-)

Posted by: Pogue at June 29, 2014 10:09 AM

Been reading Winston Churchill's book The Gathering Storm. He had doubts and he's pretty forthcoming about mistakes he made. Nobody is perfect, but as Heresolong said, the ability to recognize that and to be humble is essential; otherwise you get what we've got in Washington right now.

Posted by: PeggyU at June 29, 2014 02:46 PM

They still make Old Spice? Make sure your boys don't overdo it. My husband used to use that ... I think he used too much, maybe. I developed an aversion to it. That and Irish Spring bath soap. Just too much scent.

Posted by: PeggyU at June 29, 2014 02:50 PM

They still make Old Spice, but he takes it easy. I struggle with scents, so the boys are pretty good about not making mom sick. :)

Posted by: Bou at June 30, 2014 09:09 AM

I think you will be an excellent choice to run the State Level organization. You have 22 years of experience with this group, from the ground up, I presume. Don't change what you are doing and how you approach things. I think you will be fine.

Posted by: Tina at July 6, 2014 02:16 PM