I went to a conference with my boss. The conference is called The Breakthrough Coach. Their byline is: Two days. One life-changing program. A conference entitled “Breakthrough” with a byline like this was something to which I could look forward. I also think I secretly challenged them to their claim.

Within the first five minutes I was engaged. I listened intently to the presenter. In part because he has some type of stutter condition which requires intent listening. I nodded with glee as he engaged us with content that filled my soul. He addressed the most fundamental characteristics and behaviors we expect from each other. Yet as a general rule, our society has a difficult time executing. He brought us back to humanism that slips away as we throw emails, texts, and Post It notes in every direction in every hour without consideration for the recipient of our requests.

For example, communication begins with a request that is clear and includes specifics. The request receives a response, and ends in an agreement between two parties. This will result in completed tasks.

Lemons winked at me when I walked by.

Home is for comfort; work is for productivity. Therefore, the workplace isn’t a place we should design like our home. Our home should be comfortable; our workplace should be sterile, where we can focus with few distractions. This will result in productivity as well as peace.

In my role as a secretary, I am in a position to manage my boss’s time as well as her tasks. The title of secretary has been diluted and dismissed over the years, being replaced with the terms, Administrative Assistant or Executive Assistant. Our Breakthrough coach reminded us that the word secretary comes from the Latin word, secretum, meaning “secret.” The role was to be “set apart” to handle specific tasks that were secret in nature. In our US government, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Labor, etc are aptly named. Therefore, trust between the manager (my boss) and the secretary is essential and pivotal in making breakthroughs that will produce change and in reaching goals.

I work at a school. We want our students to be life long learners. My principal’s objective from a district standpoint is to improve student achievement. I walk in step with that goal. The paperwork and requirements can get in the way of our objectives. It’s my job to relieve her of those obstacles, and the skills we learned will help us do just that. We ate dinner at an airport restaurant on our way home and recapped our experience. We cheered each other, filled with anticipation as we execute our breakthrough plan.

So much of the Breakthrough model can be applied to our personal lives. In particular, freeing oneself from our attachments to the past. This one thing keeps us chained to the past instead of moving into the future. “Attachments to the past…” Not just holding on to the past, but the attachments to it. My garage is filled with them. I have discarded an incredible amount of things since we had to move from our home 9 years ago. The Goodwill staff wasn’t prepared for the amount of things we brought them, over and over and over for days in a row.

Yet still, with a two-car garage I park my car outside. Insurance questionnaires ask where ones car is parked. They remind me that I’m a hoarder, slothful, fearful, or holding on to the past. Any one of those isn’t what I want for myself and every time I park, a nagging silent voice reminds me that I’m not being my best self. Serving trays, entertainment equipment, decorating décor I once used regularly are stacked on top of each other. One issue is that I need better infrastructure in the garage. One issue is that I’m fearful of discarding something I may need or want in the future. One issue is that I’m holding on to things “in case” I can use it, like I once did. All of these are legitimate, but does this allow me to move into my future?

There’s a favorite verse that I rehearse frequently for inspiration (Isaiah 43:18, 19):

Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

I participate in a group called THRIVE at my church.  THRIVE is for, as they put it, “moms flying solo.” I love the richness of the group. There are single moms at all different stages in their single journey. This year the leaders proclaimed it would be a year for breakthroughs. Like the conference I attended and in our THRIVE ministry, a breakthrough is taking action. A breakthrough or change doesn’t happen without a choice upon which one acts.

I experience life changing experiences all the time. I’m always changing and always starting again. I continually fall and continually get back up. The Breakthrough Coach program reminded me that this is okay and they lived up to their claim: Two days. One life-changing program.

The lemon trees, pretty, bright, and complex winked at me in Phoenix.

6 replies
  1. Lynette
    Lynette says:

    I can so agree with the garage situation! I remember when we first moved into our house and received as a housewarming gift, a garage door opener. It went to Goodwill several years ago after never getting out of the box.
    BUT…holding on to the past? Yes, there is much we could get rid of (I like to blame it on Kevin) however there is a lot of it that reminds me of the things in the past I still enjoy. I may not use the serving or event items like I did when I was in the PTA but love it when I can say…”I’ve got that!”….

    • Joni Thurber
      Joni Thurber says:

      I can relate to all of that, Lynette. Especially saying, “I’ve got that!” Like when I helped with Kirsten’s wedding and could supply some of the items that were needed. But at this stage, I think parking in my garage in a clean space might trump that occasional sense of satisfaction of being that person who has what someone needs. Thank you for reading!


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