In a recent Prospress video chat, I was told that getting older means looking back on your life and wondering what happened to the days of standing in a lightning storm in the middle of a field at a music festival on acid.
That mental image has come to represent all life-changing moments to me, even ones which aren’t so easily described. We can, and do, experience transformative things at any age and phase, many of which are quite hard to communicate.
When in the middle of such experiences, you know that seminal things are happening. However, it isn’t until you tell the story a few times in your head that you realize how it defines a landmark in time. Trying to explain it at first is like describing what your grandmother’s house smelled like, or what your face looked like in the mirror in a dream; or like explaining to your toddler what “kindness” means. It is equally difficult to explain what it has been like to work at Prospress.
It takes a lot of guts to employ people. You are putting yourself in a position of responsibility for the future of others, and have to work tirelessly in the service of those you employ. It is at Prospress that I learned that good leaders work for the team, not the other way around.
Employing people also puts you in a position where you have to make a choice whether to be tough, compassionate, or some brewed-up mixture of the two. Consistently, when I’ve personally been a part of decisions that could’ve gone either way, the leadership has chosen the compassionate choice. Even I, who was once party to the amputation of a baby deer’s leg and subsequent attempt to nurse it back to health after it got hung up on a barbed-wire fence, have been regularly shocked at the levels of benevolence exhibited in the decision-making process here.
I believe that the well that was dug in each one of us while following Prospress into the nebulae will continue to draw water for years to come. A reference point on our personal maps, it will provide a brief, refreshing oasis when we visit it in our memories, acting as an example for what we choose to put on other people’s maps when it is our turn.
Thank you Brent and Ali, and the rest of the amazing team, for showing me how to do it right. You are my music festival acid lightning storm.