Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Reflection: Nuru Summit 2015

One of my favorite experiences of any given year since we started talking about Nuru in 2007 has been the Annual Nuru Summit. In 2007 and 2008, the ‘summit’ was less official and was more of an informal gathering at my friend John Hancox’ house in Morgantown WV. Over the years, the summit has become the one time each year when all of Nuru’s staff have gathered together in one location—typically a location in California, and most of the time in Orange County.

Last year, we gathered for four days in Huntington Beach, CA and talked in detail about some of the challenges and highlights of the past year, as well as the path ahead for what we are striving to accomplish in 2015. I love the philosophy that our team has with regard to planning as well as with regard to assessing our activities for the sake of continuous improvement, but that was not the highlight for me. Nor was the highlight seeing my friends at Nuru who have been pushing forward in this fight. Those are both great things, but not my high point.

My highlight for last year’s summit was a renewed focus on our ‘why.’ Sometimes, no matter what our vocation, we can get caught up in the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ of what we are doing. And we need to be aware of those things—if we don’t it becomes easy to go off mission, or to undermine our values. But, ‘why’ is the thing that gets us up each morning, and helps each one of us keep going.

The week started off with a teary-eyed Jake sharing his why after sharing his sadness over the loss of a visionary Kenyan leader, PhilipMohochi, earlier in 2014. Throughout the week, individuals shared their unscripted why as they shared other updates for their program and for Nuru as an organization. Without a why, I think it would be hard for folks to keep going.

For me, I could talk at length about my why, but in short form, I believe my why comes from my faith, which has set ablaze in me a desire to care for other people well; to seek justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with my Creator. In an even shorter form for me it comes down to this—People matter. Every. Person. Matters. And so I personally keep pushing forward with this mission to give people meaningful choices.

What about you? What is your why? What inspires you to keep pressing forward with supporting and furthering Nuru’s work? What keeps you on mission in your life? What is your why? If you have not considered it, carve out some time for reflection and keep that why in front of you. When times are tough, it is easy to want to throw in the towel, but if you know your why, you will be able to resist ringing the bell or giving up.

Keep pressing—the world needs you to show up and stay on mission!

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