Lyn GilesDirector of Fund Development, Five Counties Children’s Centre
Lyn's Story :
To my family, friends and colleagues – first and foremost we’ve all been through the wringer, personally and professionally, these last months with COVID-19. I cannot begin to comprehend the challenges all of you have undergone to keep your families, homes, jobs and overall lives on track as much as possible. All I can say is we’re all in this together, and I have experienced some truly wonderful and heartening actions that I can only refer to as the inspiration I look to every day to carry on.
So, how did I end up here? I “blame” my parents for starting all this (I mean really, who doesn’t). And I further blame my own family and co-workers for why I do what I do every day. I grew up in a household that valued volunteerism and giving back to your community. I watched my parents as they took part in public volunteer work (I don’t think there’s a service club out there they weren’t a part of) as well as behind the scenes help to families facing a difficult time with meals, babysitting and lending an ear just to listen.
My own measurement of success is whether I’ve made a positive difference today. It’s making this difference (whether for the clients at work or my family) that gets me out of bed in the morning. I was very flattered to be nominated for this project, but really had to stop and think – am I an “ambitious, self made, boss lady who takes charge”? I think that would depend on what day you ask me that question.
I’m firmly in the camp that achieving complete life balance is an illusion. Every day I’m juggling it all like Bobo the Clown minus the ruffled shirt and fancy bow tie. Sometimes my kids or my partner come first, sometimes it’s work. This focus can change from morning to the same afternoon. Does this mean I can’t be considered ambitious or self made? Absolutely not. It just means sometimes I’m more ambitious about helping to raise great kids into great people or that my definition of “self made” on a Tuesday is the dinner on the table we’re all enjoying, not the most recent workplace success I was proud to be part of.
How did I pick my three words? Very carefully (this is the internet you know, I’m told by those in the know that my comments will be around forever. No pressure there…..)
Dedicated – I have dedicated myself to helping make things better, full stop. At the forefront of all that we do at Five Counties Children’s Centre is the success of our kids. It’s their hard work that drives their accomplishments. That’s the real celebration and what drives me to make this profession such a huge part of my life. It also is how I approach my personal life, which is frankly an exhausting process of self evaluation and evolution but very much worth it to myself, my kids and my partner.
Resilient – I’ve seen many changes in my personal and professional life requiring resiliency and done a lot of deep yoga breathing – sometime before the wine, sometimes after the wine. “Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness and bad days give you experience.”. This quote is attributed to many sources, including shot glasses you can buy on Amazon so take it for the overly sentimental phrasing that it is, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful in my book. In as many times as I’ve been knocked down I’ve learned as many new ways to get back up. Actually, I’ve got back up on so many proverbial horses I’d need a stable in real life to contain them all. So, do you let your trials and tribulations bury you or do you learn from them and move on? I’m for the latter – learn, dust yourself off and find another horse to get you where you need to go.
Quiet crusader – as a card-carrying introvert, I’m someone who prefers to work behind the scenes for what’s needed. Helping my organization achieve success quietly doesn’t make the achievements of our workplace any less meaningful. As a leader in my organization there are plans to be made, goals to be met, and challenges to overcome but I’m well aware that being flexible is key when the inevitable changes come. Being patient with myself to meet those demands is also important. And a quiet Mama Bear is still a Mama Bear when it comes to family, make no mistake about that. Not being visibly unhinged doesn’t mean I don’t know recognize there’s a challenge to deal with. What works for me is first trying to approach those challenges with a positive lens. For me, being negative takes more energy. Recognizing my energy is valuable and limited, I prioritize what attention a perceived challenge truly warrants because I see that as an investment of myself, personally and professionally.
My role in fund development at Five Counties Children’s Centre is more meaningful that I can put to words, as is my role as a parent. The Centre’s vision is “Building Abilities for Life”. I’d like to think that I’m doing that in my own way for myself and my family as well. As the Centre goes into it’s 45 th year in Peterborough, I am nothing short of honoured and humbled to be part of an organization that changes the lives of children, especially as one of them was my own child.
My three “life rules” that I repeat to myself daily at home and at work are 1) don’t panic, 2) respect yourself and others, 2) try. They’ve served me well, and I hope my kids find them helpful as they move forward in their lives. If being inspirational means that by my actions, I spur someone on to do or create something meaningful then I don’t need to be inspiring to everyone. But I do hope I can make a positive difference on those around me by staying true to who I am, so they realize it’s important to honour and share their own best selves with those around them.