Often in movies the idea of resigning from a job is associated with the employee being empowered as she or he tells her boss to take a long walk off a short jetty (or more colourful words and accompanying actions conveying a similar sentiment). There might be stirring music supporting this moment of revelation and action, where the ex-employee then spends the balance of the movie pursuing what they’re designed to do.
My reality was that in those transition moments, connected to the three leadership assignments in which I served over the last 25 years, it was way more difficult to share the news with my staff than sharing with my boss.
Because I love my work and I love the people with whom I work and therefore I love working with them. And yet, despite the very real joy and affection I have for the team and the purpose of my organisation, I have arrived at a vocation inflection point where it is the right time for me to step away from my current organisation and move to a new role.
So in these moments, and particularly most recently with sharing the news of me stepping away from my role at Arrow Leadership Australia, there are some truths of which I have been reminded.
The emotion connected to the loss is real
As I shared with my team the news of my resignation, in every conversation I had with every team member one on one, I found myself tearing up as I recognised a time in the not too distant future where I would no longer be sharing, laughing, planning and creating with the team. As my boys would say, “it got me in the feels.”
There is no sense in denying the God designed emotional response to what’s happening. It is how we are wired, and I discovered that some of my team responded similarly as they recognised the reality of an imprecise future in their working relationships. It’s important to sit in those moments, allowing the Holy Spirit to be salve to the aching soul.
The exit causing the loss is right
Part of my Christian world view is the fact that I can step into a new role (and therefore step away from my current role) confident in the knowledge that “God’s got this.” He has proven faithful and trustworthy in previous times of transition and I am full of faith, expectant that this aspect of his character will continue.
Stepping into a new role is an expression of my faith and obedience to the ways of Jesus, as I seek to follow him more closely. Whilst my emotions are very real, my desire to bring honour to God through an obedient, faith filled life trumps how I may (or may not) feel on any particular day. The exit is right not because I’m resigning in a huff or because things have “gone pear shaped,” (in fact organisationally, things have never been this good), but because God has invited me to partner with him in something new.
The new Executive Director commencing, precipitated by the loss, is ready
Just as God is stirring my imagination as to what could be regarding the global work of Arrow Leadership, so too I believe he is stirring the imagination of the new Executive Director. The successful incumbent will bring fresh energy, fresh perspective, fresh ideas to the ministry of Arrow, which will be a blessing to the team and the leaders we exist to serve. The person who assumes leadership of Arrow is ready, with all of their experiences and education preparing them to serve as leader for such a time as this.
And, if I’m truly honest with myself (and now with you as you read this blog), I’m ready as well. I have seen Jesus do some amazing things with the leaders we love as they engage with leadership development through our programs, coaching and supervision. Perhaps more importantly, I am privileged to have witnessed the stunning development of an amazing team over the years, especially in the last 5 or 6 years.
The empowerment created through the loss is renewed
Me leaving empowers the team to be the main carriers of the Arrow culture. With me no longer around, the main responsibility for not necessarily what we do but how we do things around here now rests with key team members.
The vacuum created by my absence will unlock possibilities and potentialities from within the team, and renew the fervour applied by the team to the cause for which they have committed themselves. We will see, and Christian leaders around Australia will be the beneficiaries of, new perspective and new activities, new programs and new topics as the team appropriate the new level of empowerment flowing their way.
So my resignation still stands. The Arrow team are working through every facet of their experience connected to me moving on, as I am.
And paradoxically, whilst it feels uncomfortable and possibly wrong, it feels so right.
And paradoxes seem normative for the coming Kingdom.
Liam enjoys an abundant life having served for many years in start ups in the Christian Not For Profit sector. He is passionate about most things, but particularly his relationship with our trinitarian God, his wife of 30 years, his three adult boys (+ new daughters), development, the kingdom and coffee. He loves ideating, communicating complex concepts simply, writing and exercise.