Saturday, March 18, 2017

Letting go leads to collaboration

I really find myself having an emotional reaction
when I see our tribal flag
I've been a Heathen for 28 years or so. There've been a lot of twists and turns in there, but I've also got a lot of mileage behind me where I've either been doing everything in a group, or been in a position of doing a lot of the things that need doing in a group, simple because nobody else in the group was capable or willing to do so.

It's a very true thing that 10% of the people in any volunteer organization do 90% of the work. I was one of the 10%, and on more than one occasion it completely burned me out, with horrific results.

But I've had an experience with Skylands Asatru Fellowship that I've never had before.

People are stepping up and doing stuff.

It's not little stuff, either. I'm having people volunteering to do newsletters, and cooking, and run rituals, and do classes, and organize events, and all sorts of things. Without being asked. Without needing lots of guidance. Just... doing stuff.

My 28 years as a Heathen have ingrained a lot of bad habits in me, including a distrust of delegating. I've had way too many people volunteer to do something, only to flake out and either not get it done (leaving me to do it), or disappear completely. So I'm naturally inclined to just take on all the responsibility and shoulder the burden, and go on.

But this is completely different.

I didn't have to cook for Yule this year. That simple fact
was just so liberating.
I don't know if it's the special combination of people we have in our tribe (although they are all special), or whether our tribe has some sort of "secret sauce" that defies analysis, but whatever it is, I find myself in the position of letting go, and delegating, and seeing stuff actually getting done without me having to do it.

And it is a completely wonderful, completely liberating, experience.

We've got Lisa, who is a wonderful cook, loves doing it, and is more than happy to handle that responsibility at events. One thing off the list of things I need to do.

We've got Don, who has experience with publishing and editing, who has taken over compiling our monthly e-newsletter and done a masterful job. Another thing off my checklist.

We've got Jeremy, who is volunteering to teach classes in meditation and sword fighting. Those'll be starting up soon. He's also volunteered to host events at his house. So has Wick (and he has a farm, with horses!). Randi's offered to do the same, on her land, and has also stepped up to help find venues for events. We're going to start farming out hosting duties for our upcoming events. More things off my checklist. And on and on and on it goes.

Most of the tribe, plus a couple of guests
I know I'm forgetting some folks, and I apologize in advance for doing so, but it seems like we've got a tribe of doers. Not people waiting for me to spoon-feed them everything, and then organize everything, and host everything at my house, and make sure we have enough pork roast to feed everyone. We've got a whole tribe chomping at the bit to DO THINGS.

It's an amazing feeling. It's something I've never had before. It's hard retraining myself to be able to let go of all these responsibilities, but every time I do, I find they're not only doing things as well as I could have, but better. Everything becomes a collaboration. I love this feeling.

The closest I've come to this in the past was the Normannii, where we had several doers. But even that was a bit different; people would volunteer to do specific events, but even then it was an "I'll take all the responsibility for that day" sort of thing. And everything was dependent on the leader (not me) telling people what needed doing. Not a bunch of people spreading the burden for all the events, intellectual, financial, and organizational, and taking the initiative to do so. It makes such a difference.

I alluded to this at sumble this past Yule, but it's really struck home recently. I just want to thank each and every member of Skylands for their contributions. It's so liberating, knowing that our people aren't just looking to me to do everything, that everyone is so invested that they're not only picking up things to do, but taking our tribe in new directions with their own ideas. Things I would never have thought of, and things that would never have happened if it was all just me doing everything, and everyone else tagging along.

It's amazing, and I never want this experience to end.

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