Since moving to Malaysia, I have become temporary chair of the PTA at our boys’ school. I don’t yet know if I enjoy it. But someone needed to step up, and I was there with time and energy, and I really wanted to learn more about how the school functions, especially as an international school in a local community.
It’s a fair amount of work. There are lots of events that we’re expected to do, and the steering committee is made of people with 4 different mother languages. We all have kids, so we’re busy. And I often find myself asking, “Is this what I want to be doing?” I ask it with each task I volunteer for, with each e-mail I send, with each time I wonder how I’ll get everything done before the deadline. The obvious answer, you might think, would be, “No, this isn’t what I want to be doing.” It’s not like it’s fun, easy, or terrifically rewarding.
But each time, I think, “for now, yes. This task is important, and I want it to be done. For now, I will do this.” It gives me permission to put my energy fully into the role, to commit, and in so doing I often find pieces I do enjoy. Starting a Christmas charity drive was really special, and only happened because I repeatedly said, “Yes, this IS what I want to be doing.”
Asking this question also gives me permission to notice when I won’t want to do it anymore. I already know that I’m winding down my time as chair – and it gives me some time to find a replacement so I can finish this commitment well and without guilt. There are other things that I also want to be doing, and I need to be free to turn to those. It’s said that discipline is knowing what you *really* want – this question invites your time to be disciplined and thus freed.