Everyone feels like a novice at some point in their lives. I’ve been a physical therapist for over 23 years, and there are still times that I don’t feel prepared for certain clinical situations. It keeps me humble. But tackling roles outside of my career that push me out of my comfort zone? That’s a whole other situation.
Although I’d been running for a while and had run a few marathons, when I was approached by the head coach of my marathon training team about becoming a coach myself, I was uncertain I was really who they wanted. I was having major imposter syndrome! But I grew into this role, and now I’m in my fourth year coaching. I love it! Mentoring new marathoners and watching them accomplish their goals is really one of the best things ever!
Last fall, I was approached by the president of our local run club about running for the board of the club. I was flattered. Seemed like an easy enough role. At that point, I’d been published a couple of times in their quarterly magazine, Miles and Minutes. This served as my volunteer work which was a precursor to qualify for this role.
Well, this evolved into asking me to fill an even larger role: Vice President of Marketing. This is something that seemed way beyond my expertise. I would be responsible for promoting our races and organization as a whole, for obtaining and coordinating sponsorships, creating and ordering merchandise for our online store, and overseeing social media. This task seemed daunting. It took a bit of convincing by the new officer team, but I finally agreed to fill this role.
Even with this trepidation, I have slowly grown accustomed to this role. I’ve become much better at writing press releases, learning that if you include a map of the course and a great photo, your chances of ending up on the news improve greatly. I worked with Boco Gear to create some pretty fabulous visors for our club! I’m helping to facilitate a relationship with one of our local running stores. I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with coordinating sponsorships, even re-establishing relationships that declined during the pandemic when races were canceled and everything seemed lean.
I recently learned that I was nominated to my county’s Community Equity Advisory Board, which makes recommendations to our school board about making our schools safe and fair for all children. I’m pretty excited about this. Considering the recent religious conservative appointment to our school board, another recent scandal involving the use of a logo that appeared to look like a swastika (I’m not even kidding), and a terrible proposed bathroom policy for transgender students, I’m looking forward to serving my county in this capacity. However, the conservative board members have proposed to dissolve this committee altogether, despite all of the recent issues in our school leadership. The fate of the board is yet to be determined.
Another role I’m taking on? Public speaker. I was approached by the organizers of the Richmond VegFest to see if I’d be interested in speaking at the festival this year! Never in a million years did I think that anyone would be interested in what I have to say. But I’m honored. So if you are in the RVA on September 17th, stop by the festival! I’m still contemplating the content of my speech, but will definitely discuss how I evolved to a vegan. Even if you don’t visit the festival to see me, you should come and celebrate the Richmond veggie community, eat some great food, and shop for locally made goods! It will be a blast!
Have you been asked to step out of your comfort zone and into leadership roles in your life? Did you feel prepared? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.