At our December training, Patrice led us through an activity she called, “Same Page-Ing.” It was a fairly literal session, in which all of the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators, the Site Supervisors, and the Support Team were wrangled back into their handy-dandy, standard issue Volunteer Maryland Tool Books and onto the same page. Patrice went back through the schedule of deliverables and upcoming trainings and made sure we were all following a similar trajectory in the VM World. Admittedly, this is a pretty routine event for any organized group, but ever since Patrice dubbed the word “same page-ing,” I’ve been using it non-stop (as some VMCs and Site Supervisors might be wearily aware), because I like this idea of consistently re-aligning ourselves with a core mission.
I was recently reminded of how much I like the idea of same page-ing by Vu Le’s blog post, “15 lessons for the nonprofit sector we learned in 2015.” The list begins with “1. An organization not built on strong values will crumble like dried hummus.” Truthfully, the whole blog post has me nodding and snapping my fingers in agreement, but it’s this first one that really rings true for me in the coming year, and not just because crumbly hummus is gross.
See, I’m a person who looks to (read: worries about) the future. I think about what comes next, and then what comes after that, and then after that, and then after that, and then when I die, what should they do with the body? This obsession with trying to see into the future is always exacerbated during this transitionary period between years. My mind starts to fly far from where I am now, and I forget the importance of presence. The reminder to get on the same page, reflect about who we are right now, and remind ourselves of the overarching mission (whether that be our personal mission, our organization’s mission, our family’s mission, etc.) is grounding. It simultaneously stems anxiety and keeps us conscious about what we are doing right now.
In the new year, I hope we can all do some same page-ing. I hope that when we’re catapulted into 2016 we will remember the mission that motivates us to act and to be. Maybe that involves some sitting down and clarifying, perhaps editing, and maybe a gentle cutting of bits and pieces. Maybe it involves a discussion with family, friends, co-workers, etc. Maybe we should Google a template for mission drafting. Either way, let’s remind ourselves of the values that found our motivations, and let’s be led by them.
As we step into the new year, whether with trepidation or a bold leap, let’s get on the same page with our core values and our mission, and let them be the guiding lights into what is most assuredly going to be an adventure into the unknown.