RAFT Year in Review
RAFT Team, December 26, 2023
As December gracefully ushers in the closing chapter of the year, it offers a natural pause—a moment for reflection, gratitude, and appreciation. In this post, we’re taking time to reflect on what we’ve learned, review our favorite moments here at RAFT, and reframe how we view our “failures” and instead see them as opportunities for success. Through this intentional "year in review," we can head into the new year empowered and infused with gratitude.
We here at RAFT wish you and yours a December filled with reflection, gratitude, and a deep sense of accomplishment.
My favorite RAFT moment this year was winning the escape room as a team. We completed all the puzzles with 14 minutes to go!
The top lesson I learned this year, which might be an ongoing theme in my life, is that I need to be more serious about relaxing. It’s hard to turn off my brain when I see everything that needs to be done at work and around my house, but I need to schedule in time for myself to take breaks. I need to let things go I can’t control, and I need to brush off the guilt of not accomplishing everything on my to-do list every day.
The top lesson I learned this year is that it may impact you, but it’s not always about you.
Goodness, this one was a hard one to process. As someone who feels the need to have control in situations, is a people pleaser, and is uncomfortable in hard situations, I feel I need to always take on the “blame” and need to fix a situation. When at the end of the day, I cannot fix everything. Even though there is a situation that may affect me (work or personal), I cannot control or fix everything. Sometimes, I have to sit with the uncomfortable feelings and process them without fixing them.
This year has been a journey! My two babies turned 6 and 3! My partner and I celebrated 6 years of marriage! I completed my first year on the RAFT team. (And a wonderful year it was.) The thing that I’m most proud of this year is finishing my first semester of college. Working for RAFT was such an inspiration to have the bravery to enter back into college as a 35-year-old mother.
Raft’s motto is Fail.Learn.Grow … I’ve done all those things this year, and I’m looking forward to another year of growth in 2024.
When considering how to reframe things, I go back all the way to the beginning of 2023. I sent out an email to the RAFT leadership email list looking for partners to pilot an appreciative inquiry facilitation. We received no replies from interested leaders. This didn't feel very good. The success of this is that I shifted gears and moved the appreciative inquiry internally to get some practice and get clearer on the benefits. The RAFT team used appreciative inquiry to explore what belonging looks like at RAFT, and we did our 2024 strategic planning using appreciative inquiry. Then, at the end of the year, we did another appreciative inquiry with SOAR Collective about how we will collaborate in 2024.
I have a few favorite RAFT moments. The most recent was at TVSA when Nicole and Joy presented their "Bumps in the Road" workshop. I was at the sponsorship table in the hallway when the workshop let out, and one of the other sponsors asked the advocates leaving the workshop what they were doing inside because they sounded very "busy." The advocates started telling the sponsor how amazing the workshop had been and that it was the best one they had attended.(Also, the escape room! It amazed me at how well we all worked together and felt that everyone's voice was heard during the game.)
This past year, I learned to graciously accept the help that was offered to me. I can be a bit of a control freak, and I love to help others. I have also been terrible at asking for help. Earlier this year, an unexpected trauma hit me hard. Before I could plan for how I was going to handle the situation on my own, my family, friends, and colleagues stepped in and offered help in so many ways. Their gestures of love, kindness, caring, and concern allowed me to focus on emotional and psychological well-being in ways that I know I would not have been able to without them.
I also learned to focus on gratitude as the first step to problem-solving. At RAFT, our purpose is to seek solutions to problems plaguing the gender-based violence advocacy field. Part of our method of doing this is to begin each team meeting by telling each other something we're grateful for. Expressing gratitude empowers me to want to move forward with even the most daunting tasks. Giving thanks builds resilience. And for that, I am truly grateful.
You can learn more about our entire team here.
We encourage you to take some time to reflect, review, and reframe before you head into a brand new year. Consider these questions as you complete your own "year in review":
- What are the top lessons you’ve learned this year?
- What is a favorite RAFT moment?
- How have you grown this past year?
- Is there a “failure” you experienced that led to an amazing success? What’s that story all about?
- What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about a colleague?
- What was the last win you celebrated?