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This year I joined our primary school P&C as Secretary. Prior to this I had never attended a single P&C meeting in the the 18 years I’ve have various kids involved with various schools. I was pretty proud of this track record – mostly because I’m a doer, a helper and person who is involved in everything. I think initially I escaped because I ran a business, had another small baby and was an office bearer (Secretary incidentally) in another farming community group and found this role completely unbearable (but stuck with it for 10 years because I couldn’t ever seem to get out, and to be completely honest – didn’t know how).

Then I had more kids, more jobs, started my own business and figured I just did not have time for any more things. It was enough to get my own collection of kids to school, dressed and fed, let alone consider meetings about other kids and school fundraising. I could donate sausages and even bake if required (a good farm girl can always bake….) and once even helped out serving soup at an art night. I admired the parents who seemed to have the time for it, work tirelessly at it and hoped they didn’t judge me for ducking and weaving at the mention of an evening meeting. I’d learnt (after many years of personal development and transformational seminars and owning my shit) how to say ‘no’, how to commit to the things that served me, and how to allow others to do the things they were good at.

Fast forward to 2018.

I’ve created the greatest business focussed on purpose and connection. I have a solid support system. My business allows me to work less than full-time (if I allow myself) and write and do life during the week. I have complete flexibility with my schedule. I’m the boss of myself. I make a solid income. I get to work with all my favourite people and do all my favourite stuff all day long. I run online group programs and work one on one as a coach. I create amazing things. I manage myself in a blended family household with kids aged 7-15. I cook a lot of dinners and everyone always has clean clothes for school. I do two personal training sessions a week and do really hard things like rope pulls and burpees (that one time) and it can be super hard. I get up at 5.30am two days a week and go to exercise classes (Pilates and yoga because that’s how I roll, and that other stuff is too hard without a person making me do it when it gets hard). I have a solid, loving relationship with my husband and we do relationship mentoring once a month and talk about things like money and co-parenting and anxiety and getting annoyed by each other. I have a business coach in the US, and have to travel there again in July for training. Most of the coaching calls are at 4am or earlier. I sometimes get up and do them, even though I really love sleep. I can keep chickens, rabbits, dogs and a cat alive as well as 5 children. I’m a great Mum to my adult daughter who calls me when things are crap and we work it out. I have lots of friends and sometimes we get to hang out for no reason. I eat healthy. I watch minimal TV and can’t have Facebook on my phone because I can’t manage myself any other way. I’m writing a book. I coach on average 10 people per week and run group calls with about 8 people per week. I work 4 times a year for a company that runs transformational seminars and facilitate groups of people through BIG life changing epiphanies. I brush my teeth twice a day and drink plenty of water – I’m sure there’s more, but I just want to outline my basic functionality as a human and my capacity. Not to prove anything. Just to illustrate the point of the next bit.

Since I’ve been P&C Secretary I have cried twice. We’ve only had two meetings. I didn’t cry in the meetings, even though the numbers align.

So, I am faced with a choice.
I get to find out what this is really about or I get to quit because I don’t have time for this shit, and I don’t like doing hard things.

Personal Training is my finest example.

I like gentle exercise. Like yoga and walking; Pilates has been something I’ve worked up to, but now I have some core strength (from doing Pilates) I like it too. I’m not big on aerobic stuff. Or anything that makes me grunt like a tennis player. But I know I need to do it, and plus when I did a breath meditation not so long ago my spiritual being basically kissed the feet of my physical being and told me to keep working out. Dammit. I’m not one to ignore the Woo anymore.

So, twice a week I go and have this gorgeous, strong, muscular chick push me until I’m sweaty and grunting like a tennis player and sometimes wailing (because dramatics helps in these situations I find). I would never push myself like that, but I feel so good afterwards, and I’m getting stronger and fitter. The times I feel really challenged is when it’s too hard. I don’t have strong shoulders, so anything involving lifting anything above my head, or doing push ups or planking feels pretty hard. I like easy things. I’m naturally pretty good at most things, but I do more of the things that comes easy and naturally to me, and not the things that are hard. I’d prefer not to do hard things. However, if a person I admire and like and can laugh with tells me I’ve only got 15 seconds to go, I can (usually) do another 15 seconds. So I can do hard things. Mostly that’s motivated by how much I love other people.

So here I am, a few months into a job that’s hard.

  • I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.
  • I’m used to working with people who are on a growth trajectory and I can basically say anything to them with love and they will take it.
  • I find things like rules, constitutions and procedures mind-numbingly dull.
  • I usually get to do whatever I like.

I’ve cried twice. Mostly it’s because I felt overwhelmed with how much I didn’t know, and usually when things don’t feel right I just say “something doesn’t feel right here, let’s explore that” and it’s totally my role and agenda to do that. And I don’t understand some of the people yet, and how they operate, and I’m usually so great that stuff that all my shit has jumped up and poked me in the eye hard and fast. And all that confusion has leaked out.

And the work that I do, and the people I work with is ALL about doing hard things. Or more, FACING hard things. And figuring out how to BE to rise to hard thing. It’s never about doing more, but always about being more. And when you BE more, you can pretty much DO anything. And I realised that if this is hard for me, how hard must it be for everyone else? If we’re all just doing the best that we can with what we’ve got, then I have to go get me some more.

And for the first time in my life I didn’t choose to do this to prove I could, or because I felt obligated (although my gorgeous friend who nominated me and shall remain nameless did promise to love me forever and coordinate cake for meetings – and I do love being loved and I do love cake), or because I was worried what other people might think of me for not doing something, or because I didn’t know how to say to no. Something bigger was called in me. And I cannot ignore that call. I spent far too many years not wanting to be the person who had to speak up, whilst wanting to change (the world) everything. I spent many years not knowing the best way to do things, but desperately pretending I was managing. I spent too many years ignoring the call.

We are always being called to our highest good. In everything.

And here’s what I’ve discovered when I finally found the courage to say I didn’t have a clue what I was doing…

My world is full of incredible people who want to help me learn. They know how to calm me when I’m trying to photocopy right before a meeting and can tell I’m in a complete muddle. They have reassured me. The have sent me emails on how to set up a system to manage all the pieces. They have talked to me about what would make a good secretary. I’ve read the manual. I’ve attended a live training. I’ve asked questions. And I have not had to do it alone. Not even a tiny bit. But I did have to decide myself that I was ready.

I don’t even think this is about the P&C. I am not telling you to get on a community organisation and do a good job (but if you are on one, definitely feel into WHY and make sure you have the capacity [time, space, resources, self-care] to bring everything you are to that. And if not, it’s OK to not do it for now or a while or forever…). I am not telling you that I’ll change everything in P&Cs forever, if at all. I’m telling you to look at the challenge, at the thing that triggers you, or makes you cry or angry and ask… what is this really about?

And if you can’t figure it out, I’m pretty cool at helping with that. I know the pathway is about (in no particular order):

  • Self-care
  • Support Systems
  • Serious boundaries and,
  • Sorting your shit out.

It just so happens that these things are my specialty. Here’s how you can talk to me about the best pathway for you: BOOK ME IN! (it’s a 40 minute free session with me)

And right now you are faced with a choice:

You get to find out what this is really about, or you get to stay right where you are. I know what feels better. Always x

Author Fleur

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Tammy Bradfield says:

    I feel for you and totally understand. After 12 yrs of avoiding P&C and everything related I took on treasurer in 2017. What a learning curve. Gave it up this year due to homeschooling ( again a learning curve) but what a great personal growth oppurtunity. Now I am changing roles in Scouts too, to a more leadership of adults role. Every role is another chance to grow and learn. Thanks for keeping it real and showing us all sides of you. You make people feel like they are actually normal and lifes curveballs are also normal. Good luck with the P&C. You soooo got it.

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Fleur, I’ve just retired from a decade on our Primary School P&C from steering committee to commence the new school to now ten years on and as VP & Pres for most of that time. I was so fortunate to be working alongside a good Principal who believes in Exec, teachers, staff and parents working harmoniously for the good of the whole school community & most important the students. I think all the experience and energy you would bring to your P&C would be a benefit to all associated & greatly appreciated. I can hear your pain as you try to incorporate your role into your schedule. The administration and regulations increase as time proceeds and despite being volunteers, the business of P&C & Exec roles takes not only a commitment to giving up time / free time but also the responsibilities of keeping up with those regulations & legalities. Most P&Cs these days are conducted by a small core group of dedicated soles who do often question why they put themselves out on behalf of the many parents who don’t/can’t but that’s usually when the juggling act at home and possibly work / self employment comes unstuck and once back in balance we put our hands up to create the next fundraising or culture rich activity. While my kids have commented they are glad as young teenagers to see me out of the sometimes stressful activity but I find myself almost mourning the recent past but so thankful for the friendships with other driven Mums, teachers & staff and most importantly having been involved with my kids and the vibrance of other students too from kindy to year 6 across 10yrs. Our kids grow up so quickly and I’m glad I made the effort to be involved and to feel a part of my kids journey in public primary school education. Again, you would be an asset to your school’s P&C. Jx

  • Liz Poot says:

    Fleur Thompson & Tammy Bradfield. You girls never cease to amaze me on what you tackle in life!
    From the two little girls I first met in Ajana soo many years ago. You have both done soo well.
    After having a tribe of my own it was a challenge to take on extra work with school etc.
    But in small communities that what everyone has to do.
    These days it is hard for many community groups to find volunteers. We are all busy.
    Children will not always be young , at school etc for ever.
    The busy ones are always nominated first!
    Good luck with your ventures both of you.
    Liz Poot.

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