It’s All About The Journey

by Christy Bertolo

This year I went through the NxGen leadership program.  I had a unique perspective, because I was also part of its creation, as I served on the NxGen Steering Committee in 2014 and still do.  In 2015, something in me kept telling me I needed to do something for me, for Christy.  I returned from maternity leave in late 2014 following the birth of our third child. Like many other working moms, balancing family, career and personal time; personal time is often left out.  This time, I wasn’t going to put myself on the back burner; this time I was going to do something I believed would impact my journey in new ways.  And NxGen has accomplished this goal by helping me develop as a leader, not simply put me on a path to leadership. For me it has never been about the path – it’s always been about the journey.

This year exceeded my expectations.  Isn’t it funny how we think we know how things will go?  We get in auto pilot until something veers us off track and we must slam on the brakes or accelerate.  Well at first, I slammed on the brakes because when the program began in January of this year, I realized right away, my choice to begin NxGen would result in a messy, gritty, and uncomfortable transformation. What I didn’t know then and am glad to report now, is how rewarding the transformation would be.

One of the questions asked of us early in the program was: “What do you hope to get out of this experience?” My answers were simple; “Have meaningful conversations about my career,” “Focus on work-life balance,” and “Not be so afraid of confrontation.” When writing these goals I didn’t realize the weight each one carried.  I’ve spent 10 months looking deeply into every inch of these areas.

I knew I had a destination, but the amount of stuff I had to process and problem solve in order to arrive, was enormous!   I unearthed so much about myself I didn’t know existed.  I have been surrounded by people pushing me to keep going, to keep exploring, and to take the time to ask myself, “Why is this making me so uncomfortable?”  When you have been in a situation that makes you upset, defensive or creates negative emotion, have you ever stopped and asked yourself: “Why is this making me so uncomfortable?” Try it, it’s not fun but it is eye opening and life changing.  All of these things have impacted and defined my NxGen journey.

So as 2015 comes to end I challenge you to slow down, unplug, take a deep breath, and ask yourself this question, “Am I cruising down a path, or traveling on a journey?”

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.  Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” Summer Saldana


Christy Bertolo is the Vice President of Business Services for The Columbus Chamber.  She joined the Chamber team in 2011 and works with nearly 500 organizations throughout the Columbus Region by providing resources and strategy to help those businesses thrive.

Christy also serves on the NxGen Steering Committee and is one of the newest members of the Relā Board of Directors.

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