As Pajama Program readies our "Two Million PJs & Books Distributed" announcement, I find myself reflecting all day, every day, on the past 11 years and what it takes to put one foot in front of the other. When I jumped off the corporate ladder nearly 10 years ago I could never imagine what the next decade would bring. Starting a nonprofit was never something I thought I could do and if anyone would have suggested it, I'm sure I would have scared myself right out of the idea. But, no one suggested it. A little girl who had been abused and abandoned asked me what pajamas were -- and the suggestion fell right into my head like a raindrop out of a sunny sky.
We're in growth mode, moving soon to our new Pajama Program Reading Center in NYC -- twice the size of our current space. Soon we'll be able to read with 3,000 children in need each year. These are exciting times with increasing support and new plans coming into fruition. But growth mode is scary too. I think about how many times in 11 years I've wondered how we'd get from Point A to Point B and how it's always worked out. Sometimes the fear still stops me cold. When I can clear my head, I sit myself down and remind myself of seven beliefs that carry me through the fear:
1. I think about another job and what that would be like. I decide to stay put, in Pajamas.
2. On any day I am free to change my mind, do an about face, or alter any direction if I so choose. I make the decision every day to move forward, in Pajamas.
3. Even if I don't see the evidence every day, I choose to believe our work is making a difference in the lives of so many unloved and frightened children.
4. I am responsible for my emotions. I can give in to stress or fight for peace of mind. I choose peace, in Pajamas.
5. I am responsible for my reactions to others. There are plenty of naysayers. I choose to ignore them and stand in my confidence again, in Pajamas.
6. I remember what inspired me -- the raindrop with the whispered words "Pajama Program." I have been given this gift, and I am responsible for it. I know we have the support of the universe to see it through, in Pajamas.
7. I repeat a mantra I hold dear, "Feel the fear, and do it anyway, in Pajamas."
And I remember I have what it takes.