Two years ago this week I walked across the stage of the field house at Case Western Reserve University. The first of my cohort to be handed a diploma declaring that they had been admitted “to the Degree of Master of Science with a specialization in Positive Organizational Development and Change,” my classmates let out a huge roar as the Dean of the Weatherhead School of Management handed me a diploma.
“Sounds like you have quite a fan club,” Dean Widing said to me with a smile.
“You better believe it,” I replied.
I blame the cockiness on all the pomp and circumstance - the people, the lights, the robes, the tassels, the bagpiper. Who doesn’t get cocky when your grand entrance into an auditorium of thousands is preceded by a bagpiper?!
But, I digress...
Not only were my classmates cheering with all their might, but so were my people who had traveled down from Detroit with me - my husband and daughter, both parents and their spouses, my friend Sandie and her husband Rob, and my best friend from middle school, Stephanie, and her wife, Kris, who had flown up from Dallas for the occasion -fulfilling a promise they had made to me to do so three years prior.
It remains among the top proudest moments of my life.
Sandie captured my very favorite picture from the day, my mother and I walking towards Dively, the building that was my home-away-from-home for the better part of two years. I keep a copy of the print, along with my diploma, above my desk at the SheHive. I’ve been staring at it all day today, off an on, with tears in my eyes.
The woman in that picture? She had NO clue what she was in store for!
Within a month I had quit my job of sixteen years. Within two I had launched a consulting practice. Within three the SheHive became reality. And I can honestly tell you, at the moment that picture was captured, I only had the slightest inkling that any of it was a possibility.
When I signed up for grad school, I did so to earn a degree as a means to advance my career. I had a pretty good clue where I was headed - the C-Suite of a nonprofit dedicated to helping women. And it happened… minus the nonprofit thing (although all startups start up as nonprofits if you ask me). But it looks NOTHING like I thought it was going to look like.
It’s a million times better.
It’s important to have an idea of where we are going in life. It’s more important to not hold the ideal state so tight that we miss the new possibilities. We learn something new about ourselves every day that informs the path… if we listen.
Where is your path unexpectedly leading you these days? I’d love to hear your story - and so would others. Shoot me an email or drop a comment below.
With much love and gratitude,
Ursula Adams, MSPOD
SheHive Founder, Leadership Coach