We asked our newest member of the staff team, Livia, to blog about her very first week working at Body & Soul…
The lamp continues to illuminate my room as the rest of the world around me slowly sinks into darkness. It’s late Monday evening, and for the umpteenth time I review the plan for the Tuesday Adult Group to make sure that I have it all memorised and nailed to the dot. No amount of Sleepytime tea (and I have drunk quite a lot) is enough to calm the butterflies in my tummy when I think about tomorrow.
Today marks my first week of employment as the Head of Adult Programmes at Body & Soul, and tomorrow is the first service evening I will be coordinating as part of my new role. In spite of nearly 3 years of volunteering with the charity, I’m feeling incredibly nervous.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed the high quality of programmes consistently on offer to all of our members – from our littlest members all the way to our senior souls. As I learn more and more about the inner workings of the organisation over the past few days, I stand in awe of all the dedication, commitment and sheer hard work that happens “behind the scenes” and makes Body & Soul into what it is.
Will I have what it takes to fill the shoes of those who have come before me? Will I be able to continue taking the adult programme from strength to strength?
My thoughts turn to our members, some of whom have been accessing the service for the 16 years it has been in existence – relying on it for a weekly dose of care, support and fun; turning to it during times of crisis and bereavement. Will I be able to ensure the high quality of service our members so deserve? What if they won’t like me? What if it all turns out to be a disaster? Will I be a complete disappointment to all those who believed in me? My worries continue to spiral out of control…
And yet I come back to reflect on the faces of some of the members I’ve come to know over the past few years, and I can feel my heart softening. Suddenly, I feel a shift of perspective. It’s as though a voice gently, playfully whispered in my ear: “It’s not about you, silly… it’s about them!” Getting caught up in my anxieties of being “good enough” and being able to do the job well, I’ve tangled myself in very me-based thinking that ultimately loses sight of the very goal I’m trying to accomplish – serving our members to the very best of my abilities. Rather than focusing on my own self-doubts and inadequacies, I start to reflect on my deepening relationships with members, volunteers and staff; my passion for social justice; and my love for the organisation and everything* that it stands for. I feel my gnawing insecurity slowly melt away, becoming replaced by a strong sense of purpose and commitment. I feel determined to make the service the best it can be, because our members deserve nothing but the best!
I’m reminded of the word of a wise teacher, who seemed to hit this particular nail on the head when she wrote:
“If you have no idea why you are here, if you are confused, you won’t feel fulfilled. We all have a purpose. Ask what it is you are supposed to do. If you serve, you don’t have to worry and you’ll always be taken care of. You can do yourself in worrying about yourself… but look outside yourself! There’s so much work to be done.”
And with these words, I save the document, shut down the computer and turn off the light… it’s time to go to bed. After all, tomorrow is a big day. There’s so much work to be done!
* respect, dignity, human rights, care, support, myth-busting, courage, inspiration, optimism, innovation, evidence-based programming, member-driven services, holistic approach, galvanising volunteer power, hope, resilience, love – to name but a few of the things that B&S stands for.