Every so often opportunities come along where you step back and realize life has been preparing you for that exact moment in time.
Before these moments happen, you catch yourself in challenging, everyday experiences and think, “Why am I doing this?”, “What’s the point?”, or most appropriately, “Is this actually happening?” You wonder if your efforts, toil and stress are taking you towards something hard-earned and great, or if you will be left with only bruises and (hopefully) lessons learned.
Extreme moments of clarity as you look back on the sum of your experiences and see that everything has led you to this place.
One of my a-ha moments came with my appointment to the Edmonton Food Council. The Council will advise the City of Edmonton on food and urban agriculture issues, and get Edmontonians connected and excited about moving from a good food city to a great one. The Council is brand new and has an eclectic, strong membership that will cut its teeth on important issues like land development in Northeast Edmonton, backyard bees and hens, community gardens and building food hubs. Our first meeting is this fall so stay tuned for more.
The a-ha came as I interviewed for the Council. I was asked to share my experience in food and agriculture and in that brief pause before I answered, I realized my past had created the opportunity before me.
My life was full of experiences that made my participation on the Council possible: growing up in an extended family that made its living in commercial cattle; cultivating a love of food making 60 pies/day with my Baba when I was 11; coordinating bankers to help producer groups get through financially difficult times; opening Albertans’ eyes to agriculture and where their food comes from while at Growing Alberta and Food for Thought magazine; throwing out an entrepreneurial shingle and working with great food and ag clients like KITCHEN by Brad Smoliak, the Potato Growers of Alberta, The Newget Kompany and the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market Association; serving on many volunteer boards of directors with missions rooted in agriculture.
All at once, everything made sense. It seems so obvious as I write about it now, but before that moment, it honestly never was. From each of my past experiences I learned, I grew, and came out on the other side a little wiser, a little stronger. Whether it is with the something like the Food Council, another professional milestone or something important in your personal life, too often we get caught up in our everyday lives to see all of the moments before as a collective, or as a body of work. How individual experiences, both good and bad, take you to where you are today.
We could all use more clarity or a few more a-ha moments in our personal and professional lives. For now, I’m grateful for when I can look forward and back at the same time. For in the moments when you are looking in both directions, you’ll often see you are right on track and that this is exactly how your story is supposed to be.