Letter from the President - December 2018

As I write this, the 15th anniversary of my joining AUGI is just a few days away. Back then, I never dreamed that one day I’d be writing a monthly letter in a magazine that’s distributed to hundreds of thousands of people. (Note to self: The surest way of inducing writer’s block is by reminding yourself of the size of your audience. Avoid that next time.) But I’ve done it for two years, and while some months there’s been a bit of panic as the deadline approached, most of the time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the opportunity to express myself on a variety of topics.

It’s that “pleasant surprise” I want to write about today. It’s always nice when things turn out better than we expected them to. I tend to be an optimist, but thoughts of “I can’t” or “It’s too hard” still creep in occasionally and need to be banished. I think it’s easy to be scared of a big opportunity because it’s new and different. Because we think we might not be able to handle it. Because it takes us out of our comfort zone.

But you know what? Most of the time, you’re more capable than you think you are. Remember: You’re a successful professional with skills and knowledge that you’ve acquired during your career. All you need is a nudge to get you started.

In my family, we sometimes call it “throwing your hat over the fence.” Say you’re on one side of the fence, and where you really want to be is on the other side. (Not because the grass is greener there... that’s a different metaphor.) But you’re not sure how to get over the obstacle in your way. So you throw your hat over the fence. Now you have to figure out how to cross the fence, or you’ll never get your hat back!

So go for it. Apply for that job where you have some, but not all, of the listed qualifications. Volunteer for the assignment that you’re not sure you have the skills for now, but that you know you want to acquire. Say yes when the boss asks you to give a presentation to your company or industry leadership.

Once you’ve got your maybe-scary-but-probably-great opportunity in hand, take a deep breath and remember you’re not alone. You have a whole network of friends, colleagues, and—of course—your AUGI community that you can ask for advice and feedback.

Which brings me back to where I started... my place here at AUGI. It has changed several times over the years, and it’s about to change again. As strange as it was to start writing these letters, it’s almost as strange to stop! Yes, this will be my last letter to you as President. Kimberly Fuhrman will be taking over in January, and I’m confident that she’ll be a great leader for this community in 2019 and beyond. Look for her first letter to you in this space in the new year!

Thank you all for making this such a helpful and welcoming community, both in 2003 and today. I may be leaving office, but I’m not going far. I hope to encounter many of you online or in person as we all continue to share our knowledge and advance our skills.

See you on the other side of the fence!

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