An introspective farewell.
When Debra asked me to craft a final morning missive, I was a touch apprehensive. "How many times can I say I loved the Fellowship or TPF before people tune out my noise?" Of course, this was but my human, knee-jerk reaction. I know I could be a broken record for quite some time and still feel the love from my TPF family : )

I thought instead of the fifth stop on my farewell tour, I would address some thoughts I have as my TPF work comes to a close.

Against my better judgment (and maybe the vexation of Debra), I invite you to turn inward as you read the coming paragraphs.

The world looks drastically different than it did in July of 2021 when I started at TPF. Heck, if you had told me then that my last two years would have been filled with everything it has been, I probably would have put you on my "that person's crazy" list. Life has evolved. Sometimes in a really good way and sometimes in a way that leaves us bewildered.

As TPFers, we find ourselves existing in a space that is continually evolving. Whether it's new initiatives, new Fellows, or added engagement team members, TPF itself is constantly experiencing its own metamorphosis.

And that's just inside the building.

The way we interact with the community, the ways in which we foster wide participation and invite others into the fold are all constantly evolving.

The work we get to partake in is tremendous. But it can also be a lot. I find that sometimes we exist so much in the adapting and innovating phases that we put ourselves into the coping phase.

One can be proud of the work they are accomplishing and still feel the wear and tear of a loud, dynamic, and constantly changing world. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many of the issues we work to combat will never be fully solved. That reality can sometimes leave a feeling of impending doom.

However, what I have seen over the last two years is TPF's terrific capability of caring for its own (and others, of course). When life circumstances happen, TPF is at the center of caring. However, at times, we need to be reminded of the importance of caring for ourselves. If our internal lives are a mess, how could we possibly turn outward effectively? If our life tank is empty, there is no way we can care, connect, collaborate, contribute, and create.

In a loud and distracting world, we must ensure we are tuned in to the right channels.
Dr. Gunderman, a physician in Indianapolis who dabbles as a professor at the Lilly School, once wrote, "The metaphor of tuning is a revealing one. Each person is like a radio receiver, which gravitates toward certain frequencies. Extensive sections of bandwidth are devoted to silliness, ideas that will be forgotten almost as soon as they are heard or uttered. But somewhere on the dial are different conversations that hold out the possibility of more enduring enlightenment. To stand a chance of tuning to these frequencies, we must first wrench ourselves away from the static."

As I have participated in the tremendous change-making TPF does over the last two years, the importance of tuning out static has never been clearer.

TPF exists not in a vacuum but in a world of noise. If we, as TPFers, are not tuning out static, then TPF becomes an organization that sounds a little fuzzy.

Fostering wide participation becomes increasingly difficult if there is no distinction between the noise and TPF's DNA.

We must continue to tune into life-giving things in order to be a life-changing organization.
My encouragement as I walk out the door centers around my desire to see TPF's meaningful work and lasting imprint continue for generations to come.

Find your channels. Find the places you feel alive. Take considerable time to care for yourself so you can continue being excellent in caring for others.

In a world full of noise, find places of silence and solitude that allow you to connect better. Find places of meaningful introspection so you can collaborate in innovative ways.

Learn to rely on the people who pour into you so you can contribute in unique ways.

Find new places to experience imagination that can lead to new ways of creating.

To strengthen people, organizations, and communities, we must be a team with cups overflowing.

A group distinctly set apart, known for their ability to cut through the noise and provide clarity.

The world won't be getting any less hectic. But TPF can continue to be a beacon of light, full of TPFers shining brightly. Take time to ensure your light doesn't fizzle.

I have loved getting to experience the way each of you shines. It has been my honor to be a TPFer.

You all are crazy to think that you are going to change the world… And it is for that exact reason that you will.

"With gratitude for the countless ways Connor uses his many gifts….click here to see the photo montage cleverly crafted by Nancy Henry." -- Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation

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