The best boss I’ve ever had isn’t my boss at all. Technically speaking, she has a leadership role in our Rescue group, but there’s no sense of wielding power or even a chain of command. She co-runs the show with an equally wonderful and inspiring woman. She treats every volunteer fairly and with compassion. She gives everyone a chance. She listens far more than she speaks (a trait I am desperately trying to emulate).
My boss made me feel like a peer from the very first day I volunteered. I was immediately comfortable asking questions and asking for more responsibilities when I saw opportunities where my strengths could be put to good use in the Rescue group’s mission. I call her my mentor. I feel something in my soul when I say that.
And I’ve learned so much working with her.
As naturally as “big picture” work comes to me, I can get frenzied quite easily. Of course, I should turn to my essential oils and my meditation skills in those moments—how easily we forget to open our metaphorical toolboxes when we need them! Besides the rabbit care, catching, husbandry, etc., the two greatest lessons I’ve learned from my mentor are:
- Urgency: Especially when you are dealing with life and death situations and neglect/abuse cases, everything can seem urgent. I’ve learned from my mentor to better discern what is urgent and what is important. I’ve learned that every email will get answered and it’s ok if it doesn’t get answered within 30 seconds of its receipt. I’ve learned how to prioritize cases. I’ve learned that even if something seems urgent at first glance, few things are truly that way. Her approach is mindful and not reactive. Channeling that skill, I can target and handle the truly urgent situations far more effectively.
- Unplug: Well, here’s a lesson I’ve learned, I know but I haven’t quite mastered yet. We are all works in progress! My mentor will occasionally say that she needs to “unplug” for a while. These unplugged instances are not often and are not long (although she deserves them to be more frequent and lengthy!) but she does take purposeful time to give herself a break from being “on call.” My loyal readers and real-life friends know that doing this for myself is something with which I struggle. Between Rescue and business, I feel the need to be connected and plugged in constantly. Yet, my logical brain knows I do far more effective work when I balance that out with unplugged moments. Thank you, Mentor, for reminding me to unplug. Now if someone could just confiscate my phone…
My mentor, my friend, my best boss ever… Thank you for the life lessons, the opportunities and the boundless love and support. Here’s to many more years of saving and loving those big floppy ears…