A lot of what I’m working on in therapy and on my own, is reframing the story of my life. In reexamining these events and phases of my life I find myself grieving things I’ve needed to grieve, celebrating things I never celebrated, and finding healing and peace for old wounds.
In the process of starting a business I find myself relying most heavily on my experience at Light House Church as the Children’s Program Director. I’m reading an excellent book right now entitled, “Do Cool Sh*t” by Miki Agrawal. I’m not finished with it, but I love it so far. In it she discusses three routes to bringing your idea to reality; the intrepreneurial approach (working from within an existing organization), the entrepreneurial approach (starting your own organization) and the philanthropic approach. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was essentially doing the philanthropic approach with Light House Church. The philanthropic approach says to find an organization that you support and lend them your skills, which helps you to develop your skills. Its a mutually beneficial arraignment.
I spent five years working on Light House Church aside several other people. I wasn’t a key decision maker as to the direction of the organization, but I was in charge of an entire department. When we were first starting out that simply looked like a list of things you need for childcare so we could have a very basic nursery. All I had to do was get the items and schedule volunteers. As time went on my job grew, soon we had a children’s church program. I designed the curriculum and taught it. I did everything at first, and still had the nursery to staff and maintain.
Soon I started having ideas of my own for more programs and events, so I made them happen, often on a shoestring budget. I’d organize almost everything for these events including, marketing, equipment, set up, volunteers, food, and clean up. The events varied pretty drastically in size and scope, some with 5 kids attending, some with nearly 100 kids. As the years went on this became a very time consuming job. They even started giving me a very small amount of money for all the work I was doing. All this while going to school and working at a doggy day care. I was busy, but I was rocking it.
This experience of running the children’s programs at Light House Church was absolutely invaluable to who I am. I learned that I could do it. I could dream up a program or event and I could make it happen. I could do it even better when I had a good team on my side. I learned that I could learn a lot of skills all on my own. I managed a database, I made videos, I made power points, I crafted lessons, I crafted crafts, I created something from basically nothing. And now I’m going to do it again and I have my experience from Light House Church to lean on when I think I can’t do it.
When I watch videos of contests at WARP and think “There is no way I can do that. Its just too much, its too big, too many people, too many details,” I remember how “too big” didn’t stop me when I organized a community easter egg hunt for underserved kids or when I decided to do an even bigger christmas event or when I took on running Wednesday night programing on-top of Sunday morning programing. I’ve looked at “too big” and I’ve done it.
This next endeavor might be big, but I’m going to build a good team, and I’m going to do it. We’re going to change the Portland skate scene forever and I never could do it if it wasn’t for Light House Church.
This realization of how valuable Light House Church was for me is another reframing. There was so much hurt clouding my vision when I looked back on that experience. Choosing to leave my community was one of the hardest choices I have ever had to make, and the pain that followed that has been close to my heart for a long time.
I’ve come a long way since then and I can now see that experience for the valuable part of my life that it was. We did a lot cool stuff, heck, I did a lot of cool stuff and I’m really glad that I did.