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Management and Leadership in Nonprofits

Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


The older you get, the faster it goes

Sep 06, 2021
By: Tammy T. Jelinek

During those fabulous teenager years, when I wanted to become an adult so much faster than it seemed like time was moving, my mom said something very compelling to me: Don't wish it away.

What she meant was that by wishing for your favorite season of fall to come, you are wishing away summer.

In a rare chance of fate (did I mention I was a teenager), I listened to her. Of course, she was right. 

That lesson was to enjoy the time you have in the moment. Now that I pay the bills and have the worries that come with adulting, I often sigh when thinking back to the days of having somebody else pay the bills and take on the worries of life. All while I was free to enjoy the end of my high school education with my friends.

Fast forward many, many, many years after graduating from high school, and I've been adulting for a long time now. I feel like “they” should have warned me more about this adulting thing, but that's for another blog.

What has aging taught you?

For me, it really does go fast. I recall in my career in my 20s thinking, “Oh, I have plenty of time before I have to learn that or do that.” Then getting into my 30s and thinking, “Oh, I've still got so much left of my career. I'm going to be working forever.” Now I'm seeing the end of my 40s (yes, Gen Xers, some of us are seeing the end of our 40s!) and I'm thinking about that runway of what is left in my career.

Plus, based on 2020, and how fast I feel 2021 is going, I need to get it in gear.

Let’s think about legacy. What is the legacy we want to leave? Again, for me, I want to hire those who can build as much interest and passion for the things that we do with our client base that my team has currently.

To do this, it’s time to think differently. It’s not about succession planning in the traditional sense of when you retire, you hand over what you know to somebody else. Instead, is it building a legacy, starting today. What needs to happen every day in the working environment to make it impactful for those we work with and for those who we serve so that when the next generations take over, there is something amazing that you left?

Somebody mentioned there was only 100-something days left until the Christmas holiday. When I told them no, stay away from my sun and sand time because fall doesn't kick in until September 22nd, it was a good reminder. I'm going to blink, and September 22nd will be here. Then blink again, and that holiday I was putting off will be here.

Leaders, now is the time. Procrastinating doesn't help us. We really do need to identify what to today to help get ready for the tomorrows of the future.

What do you need to do today to get ready for the tomorrow of your future?

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Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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