President’s Message: Taking Time to Reflect and Asking Questions

Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
President, LA-CAMFT

Greetings Friends and Colleagues,

Taking Time to Reflect and Asking Questions

How many times have you heard it said that knowing what questions to ask is more important than having answers? These days I find myself asking a lot of questions. Here are just a few questions that cover a range of personal, professional, and political spheres; perhaps some of them resonate with you too.

    • How do I know I’m on the right track when there is no clear path?
    • What can I use as a compass when it’s so dark I can’t see the stars?
    • How do I determine priorities with so many competing interests? When everything I value is at stake?
    • How do I know where to invest my time, energy, or money so that it has the greatest impact?
    • How do I take time for myself when so many others need me: family, friends, clients, community, country?
    • And if I do take time for myself, what do I need most: rest, nature, art, massage, a good novel, entertainment?

It seems most of the time, we are so busy just trying to keep up with everyday demands, we don’t take time (make time?) to ponder important questions such as these. Something seems to have to disrupt the day to day regime to create space for such contemplation. Some people intentionally plan and calendar desirable disruptions into their lives such as getaways, retreats, and vacations. Most of us have also experienced the challenging unexpected disruptions that come in the form of loss of job, accidents, or illnesses. Though this latter category of disruption is inconvenient and can be traumatic in nature, it can also offer a much-needed pause for deep questioning and soul searching that is ultimately quite growth-full.

Conferences are yet another category of “pause” that offer “positive disruption” to our day-to-day routines that can be particularly useful!

Last weekend board members and leadership teams from CAMFT Chapters gathered at the annual Chapter Leadership Conference, also known as the CLC. This is the one time each year when we get a chance to dialogue with CAMFT Leadership about important issues facing MFT in our unique communities, learn what is on CAMFT’s legislative agenda for the coming year, and explore how local chapters can contribute to these important efforts. What I love the most about these conferences is meeting up with colleagues from across the state to share with and learn from each other. I love seeking out those who are struggling with similar challenges and working on similar projects. We go as a team, we split up while at the conference so we can each seek out the folks who have similar areas of chapter responsibility as our own, and then we regroup as a team and share collectively what we have learned. I believe I speak for all who attend that we come away energized, with greater clarity about some important next steps, and with a considerable number of new contacts to support us along the way.

Another fun component of the Chapter Leadership Conference takes place at the luncheon when CAMFT gives out Chapter Excellence Awards, one for each of the following five topics: Best Chapter Management, Best Marketing Practices, Best Membership Development, Best Community Involvement, and Best Financial Practices. LACAMFT submitted applications for three categories of the 5 categories: Management, Membership, and Finance.

In the first paragraph of the application for Best Chapter Management I was describing LACAMFT’s chapter leadership culture and wrote:

“We follow the motto of the Three Musketeers: “All for One and One for All.” We value inclusion of all voices at the same time as we value everyone’s time. We value having a structured agenda while also recognizing the need for flexibility and shifting priorities. We hold high expectations for quality programming which by nature demands putting in considerable time and work-effort, but we always strive to have fun while we’re at it! And perhaps most important of all, we recognize the importance of finding the balance of give and get. Therapists, by nature, want to make a difference and to be of service to their community; i.e. to give, but they also need to get, to have personal needs met. LACAMFT is thriving because we offer members opportunities to do both; to make a difference for others while being supported in critical ways that advance their own careers.”

To read the full text of our application, go to:  Best Chapter Management

This brings me back to the essence of this month’s message; i.e. the importance of taking the time to reflect, to pose and ponder, the important questions you are facing in your life. First, I invite you to be intentional about creating a “positive disruption” of your day-to-day routine to give yourself the time. And second, I propose that the more you becoming involved with LACAMFT, you will find numerous likeminded, heartfelt colleagues who would love nothing more than to support you in your quest. Together, we will create that magical balance of give and get.