Pivoting from Planning to Preparing: How this PTA Board Treasurer Plans to Take on 2021
The majority of people that I engaged with during 2020, all verbalized one commonality which was, “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over!” Well now 2020 is over, and although we are making positive strides, life certainly did not return back to the normal that we all used to know.
With that, I did a great deal of reflecting over the course of 2020 and realized some important things. I have always known that I am an extreme version of a Type A personality and I like to be in control. The year 2020 stole that from me and I was forced to fall out of my personal comfort zone and into a very unknown place for me. I am a planner, yet I was not able to plan the year 2020 knocking me right off of my feet. I am a problem solver, and I had no solutions to offer to attempt to “fix” what was going on.
It was not fun for me at all and left me in a mental place that I had never found myself in. And I still had to show up every day for my two young children (9 and 5 years old) and be an effective employee, spouse, daughter, etc.
Rather than be paralyzed, I started to view things through a different lens and began to pivot my mindset from planning to PREPARING. I simply can only “control what I can control” and PREPARING was my best shot at not being caught like a deer in headlights again.
I am realistic at the same time knowing that it is impossible to prepare for the unexpected as life always throws us curveballs, but I needed to feel like I was in the driver’s seat again and this was the way I was going to do it.
I embarked on thinking about anything and everything in my life that could use some extra support and preparation that I may have neglected in the past.
Items that I needed to prepare:
The need to organize everything that I have built so far into a one-stop-shop that in the event of my unplanned absence my husband and kids would be okay and functioning. I always and continue to play the role of activity director, CFO, and house manager in my relationship, and no offense to my husband he would be clueless as to where to begin if I was not there to tell him.
I needed to better understand my parent's needs as although I don’t want to admit that as I get older, they get older as well, I want to be the best daughter that I can be for them.
Professionally, I have worked for the same company for 17 years and understood more than ever that I am just a number and one day my number could be called.
The way that I “show up” and deal with stress and really lack the ability to not sweat the small stuff.
Action that I took to address these items:
I searched and searched for a simple solution to what sounded like an otherwise daunting task. I had no clue where to begin when I actually sat down to capture the number that I identified in #1 above. After hours of researching and test-driving potential solutions, I landed on what I felt was perfect. An online tool that ran me through a series of yes/no questions that took the thinking out of the “where to begin” part while offering my husband direction and absolute peace-of-mind when the time is right. In case you want to check it out, it is called My Macro Memoir (mymacromemoir.com).
I started conversations with my parents that I have never had before. I opened dialogues to things that have historically been the “elephant in the room” as we are not a family that has ever expressed our feelings or communicated very well. I found out what would make them most happy as they continue to go through life and found out it was simply quality time with me and my children. I made a commitment to myself to be more deliberate in finding the time and creating “moments that mattered” for the two of them and for us. I feel so much better now that I know what they want and have enjoyed my time with them more than I have my entire life!
I dusted off my resume and cover letter that was quite outdated and updated it. Not the most enjoyable task, but if for any reason I may need to share it, it is ready to go. It only took me 17 years to really dive deep into my resume again and get it to a point that is a great display of me professionally. But, it's done now.
I have read a number of self-help books over these many months and began writing in a daily gratitude journal. I would have never taken the time to slow down and invest in my mental state before all of this as I always thought I was just fine. Through my reading and taking the time to self-reflect, I am more confidant now than ever that the unplanned will no longer knock the wind right out of me.
In summary, I look ahead to better days for everyone and can sleep better at night knowing that I have prepared what I identified as major gaps in my life that could have left me in a state of panic had I not taken action to prepare.
I hope that I have inspired someone reading this that may share similar personality traits with me (or different ones) to do the same. Sleeping more soundly could certainly be on the way for you if you do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jaclyn Strauss, CPA is a mid-level executive for a Fortune 100 company with multiple passions. Her first passion is her two elementary-aged children. She is devoted to volunteering at their school and has held the position of Treasurer of the PTA board for the past four years. She is the founder of her own company and has become a leading efficiency expert by putting her skills and knowledge to work by creating a secure place for families to digitally organize themselves with the thinking done for them. Jaclyn leads with her heart in all that she does and has a passion to serve the greater good of her local community and beyond.