Well, it is finally time. I’m flying out shortly; the journey has officially begun. It’s been a long road to get here (sorry for the bad travel analogies) and part of me still doesn’t believe it is real. You know how you plan something for so long, you almost feel distant from it? That’s where I am.
One thing I am not numb to is the gratitude I feel to the people who have made this possible. It really took a large number of folks to get me here. Without them, this opportunity doesn’t exist.
First and foremost, my husband Brian… I was talking to a colleague last week who was being teased that he’d better not go on sabbatical. He said his wife would kill him. I know he was joking, but it reminded me that Brian was on board from the first mention of this program. I read him the invitation to apply and asked what he thought. He said he’d miss me a ton but I’d regret it forever if I didn’t try. Every day since, he has been supportive even when I know he’d rather have me tucked away safe and sound at home. I need to remember not to take that for granted.
Next, huge thanks to my VP and SVP… Kerry Brown and Greg Schroeder were incredibly encouraging. I asked if they had heard of the program, so they asked around to learn more and see if it would be something worth pursuing. They didn’t say I could apply. They said I should apply. I don’t know a lot of leaders who would happily give up a month of an employee’s time to allow them to do this kind of program. Neither of them doubted that I’d be selected. They had much more confidence than I did. They were and are amazing.
My teammates who are taking on a tremendous amount of work so I can leave for a month… Claudia Faerber, Traci Maddox, and Blake Hill are the most selfless, supportive colleagues and friends that one could hope for every day, and even more so now. They don’t complain; they encourage. Without them, I wouldn’t feel as comfortable leaving my worklife behind. And my new boss Mike Foley – he took on our team after this was all determined and even though we are all stretched thin, he never asked me to not go on this sabbatical. I asked him about it; he said he thinks I have earned this opportunity and he strongly supports my chance to grow and learn. It’s another sacrifice among many.
So many friends and family have been part of this journey and demonstrated how much they care, I can’t begin to name them all. I have more people praying for me and sending me warm wishes than I ever dreamed could care. My mom listens to every fear, concern, joy, and crazy thought that goes through my head. Like moms always do, she reassures me through my doubts. My friends at work and beyond have been curious and caring. What would I do without you? You are all going on this journey with me, and that helps lessen the fear and grow the excitement. I am so eager to share this with you!
With much love and gratitude,