My name is Nick Sanna and I have been involved with the EoC here in North America since 2005, when I was invited to one of their annual meetings. Anne Godbout, in sharing her recent experience as an EoC entrepreneur, asked me to share one of mine.
Typically, one would recount the experience of how a new business came about, but this time I feel that I should share my experience of last year, where I let go of the business that I was leading.
I was interviewing a possible new recruit, when I realized that I had lost the passion for the business. For the first time, I had to ‘force’ myself to come up with arguments to make the opportunity look attractive to the candidate, as if I were an outside recruiter versus the CEO of the company.
This was unlike other inevitable moments of crisis that I had encountered during my 12 years with the company. Those were growth crises, that helped me realize that we had reached a plateau in our company growth and that we needed to challenge our status quo to find new and better ways to reach the next level.
This time it was different. Something had to change in my life, on the personal and family front as well on the professional side. Not sometime in the future, but at this very moment of my life.
My wife had been talking about wanting to go back to work, to feel an active part of the community and not to lose touch with her culture (she’s French) for a few years now. I had been supportive in words and intent, but suddenly I realized that this had to become our decision, not just her decision, and that I needed to make time to be with her for that. My oldest son would soon go to college and suddenly I realized how many family moments I had sacrificed because of professional ‘obligations’.
At work, we were faced with important decisions such as re-writing our software product to expand our addressable market. I had lost my drive and felt that it would be wrong to continue just because I had a good position and salary and came to the conclusion that it would be best to come up with a transition plan, pass the baton back to the company founder and take some time off.
My wife understood that I wanted to make this change for good reasons and was supportive throughout, but nervous nonetheless. My children were hoping that I knew what I was doing and that things would turn out for the best. My friends of the Focolare had been good listeners along the way and encouraged me to go ahead. I was turning to God frequently. I wanted to do all this for Him and to be a better husband and father. I was asking Him to guide me along the way and I confess that there have been moments were I doubted and felt as if He was not there. What would follow was unscripted.
Brainstorming with my wife Corinne led to her realization that she didn’t want to go back to her old line of work (she’s a Computer Science Engineer) and that she might have a knack for teaching to teenagers… A year and a half later, she managed to complete her teaching degree and she is now happily teaching French language and culture in a new local high school. Without me re-taking my fair share of home tasks like cooking, washing, looking over the children and just being there for her, that wouldn’t have happened. I didn’t realize how demanding teaching is, but I have not seen her this happy since we moved to the DC area.
“Really?”. This was my oldest son’s reaction when I accepted his request to play a part in his film club’s new short movie, Escape. I must have said no too many times before. We had a blast shooting it and being part of this project with his friends. Also, the trips to visit colleges together allowed for much needed quality discussion time. To top the summer off, learning how to kite-board with the boys while enduring many crashes, salt-water drinking and muscle sourness strangely felt like a big reward.
For years I had been complaining about the spoiling of our kids as we lived in a privileged suburban environment. As I was out of a job and living off a separation agreement and no immediate job prospect, we had to pay closer attention to our expenses and live a bit more simply. For the first time in years, a ‘no’ to a certain expense or activity was assumed by all as a family, including the children. The children internalized that extras are not a given and started managing their budget much more carefully, incl. looking for discounts or selling items they were no longer using.
On the professional side, I am now a partner in RiskLens, a software start-up that quantifies cyber security risk. This too, has been a providential development as the job appears to be better tailored to my skills and aspirations than my previous role. One of my colleagues is also involved with the EoC, which helps us to look at every tasks through the lens of the culture of giving, to continuously re-focus on what matters and to achieve a better balance with our lives outside of work.
There would be many more episodes to share but I hope that these few provide a glimpse into our dynamics of this past year and a half. This Thanksgiving weekend in the US appears to be very fitting for sharing this experience, as my heart overflows with gratitude to God for giving me the courage to ‘let go’ and follow Him in this phase of my life.
… As for the next experience, I would like to hear from another EoC member and video producer: Edward Roy…