Jane Bruce is quitting her job as director of Venture Scotland to become a Clore Social Leadership fellow. Her TFN blog follows this journey. Follow her on Twitter @JaneyBruce.
Twice in my career I have had the distinct feeling that I’m sitting too comfortably – doing a good job but not doing a brilliant job. And annoyingly (because life would be so much easier otherwise) I feel compelled to want to do a brilliant job.
In the midst of this feeling, I found out about the Clore Social Leadership Programme – a UK-wide development opportunity for voluntary sector leaders. It seemed a bit too good to be true: a bursary to support your living costs, a whacking training budget to spend as you like, a ready-made network of inspiring folk from across the country and unrivalled opportunities for experiential learning.
Despite the prize on offer, it was still a huge decision for me to apply. I have been director of Venture Scotland for the past eight years, a fantastic organisation working to transform the lives of vulnerable young people. It has been my second family. I have grown up as a leader there, inspired by the influence of the incredible staff and volunteers involved and through my contact with resilient and insightful young people, who can sniff a fake a mile away.
But something had to give. I have two young children and have shifted to part-time working over the past few years. Not prepared to give up time with my kids, I took the plunge, accepted a fellowship and resigned my post.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? My months of agonising tell a different story. But that’s what stepping out of your comfort zone is all about. It’s hard, it’s painful and in reaching this decision, I hope I have stayed true to the spirit of Venture Scotland by committing to my own journey towards being the best I can be.
Luckily, the first few steps on that journey have been compelling. At the end of October 2013, I met the other 17 fellows at a launch event in London and found them to be a highly diverse and stimulating bunch. The room was filled with electric conversations. Projects, ideas and possibilities not remotely on my radar began to be revealed.
Then, in November, we were each deconstructed through the process of 360 degree feedback, where I heard the truth about my performance from 16 different colleagues and connections. It was not a pain-free experience that’s for sure and it was time for me to have a dose of my own development medicine.
Luckily the Clore Social team were on hand to drill into us the mantra that focusing on your strengths (rather than all those flaws) is the best route to improvement. So holding on tight to that list of good stuff, I look forward to two years of feeling distinctly uncomfortable and all the better for it.
Clore is looking for fellows for the 2015 cohort. Head to their information event in Glasgow on 4 March to find out more.