IT in the Time of COVID-19
Innovation as a Strategy for Success

Being In-between

 

"The only permanent thing in life is change." So said a wise meditation teacher of mine, Shinzen Young. Little did I know that he was probably quoting Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, who said, "There is nothing permanent except change."

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines change as an act to make radically different, to give a different position, course, or direction, or to modify.

My News

So I just made a big change. After 21 months as the Chief Information Officer of the State of Colorado, I moved on effective September 4th. Here's part of the August 10th Governor's media release:

"We can't thank Theresa enough for her work to advance the state's IT culture and enhance virtual access to government services in Colorado. She dedicated herself to improving customer satisfaction and ensuring that these essential services are delivered effectively and efficiently to Coloradans," said Governor Polis. "Theresa has also been critical in helping the state leverage IT to weather the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We wish her the best as she takes the next step in her career."

"The opportunity to serve Colorado has been an extremely rewarding and meaningful journey. Information technology is essential to many state services. It has been an honor and privilege to work on behalf of the Governor and his administration as a catalyst for change, side-by-side with my team of employees who are passionately committed to serving the people in this beautiful state we call home. I came in to pursue a passionate purpose, did what needed to be done, and now am ready to move on to the next opportunity," Szczurek said.

Szczurek, who was one of the few female state CIOs in the nation and recently received the first-ever 2020 Colorado CIO of the Year® ORBIE® Award in the public sector category, led digital transformation in the state with the launch of the historic Colorado Digital ID™ in the myColorado™ mobile app. Szczurek was instrumental in working with the Colorado Department of Revenue on the Sales and Use Tax Simplification (SUTS) system, launched in May 2020 ahead of schedule and under budget.

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What's Next?

I am being an In-between'er to take time between pursuits.

As I wrote in Chapter 2 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, an in-between'er has known and pursued passionate purpose. Yet, the time came to let go and take a break. Being on the sideline, instead of in active play, presents opportunities to reorient and rejuvenate. This is the time to get to know and nurture yourself. After the right amount of space in this neutral zone, which only you can define, you will once again be ready to move on to the next stage of your life's overall purpose. And you don't have to be in-between purposes — you can just be resting in-between significant pieces of the same purpose.

An in-between time represents an important part of the cycle of life. Each day is a metaphor for life with a comparable cycle of dawn, day, sunset, and night. In every 24-hour sequence, you need to find time to rest and nourish. And so it is with passionate purposes. There is a time in-between to replenish and feed the soul.

Too often, we do not honor this downtime. We might even beat ourselves up for not having a clear purpose and energy. Have you ever asked, "What's wrong with me?" Perhaps nothing is wrong. It may just be the natural cycle of life seeking the necessary downtime for rejuvenation.

Using the principles of my own work and book, I am:

Taking time to relax, rest, and recharge. I just came back from an outdoor vacation with my family. Among other wild adventures, we hiked with llamas up to the continental divide.
 
Cleaning out by getting rid of the old in order to welcome in the new.
Getting to know and nurture myself again. Among other things, I'm learning Qi Gong, a centuries-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. Here is the perfect way to unify aspects of myself — head, heart, and hands — into a balanced whole.
Preparing for the possibilities. I am now in the BoardBound program, offered by the Women's Leadership Foundation, which helps women attain board seats. I am also seeking C-level executive positions, especially in technology.
Allowing. This is one of my life-long lessons to learn. This is a time to let go and go with the flow. It's a time to delight in the unknown and yet it's also uncomfortable.

Summary

Change is an important part of life, and so is being in the neutral zone. Rather than in active play, being in-between presents opportunities to reorient and rejuvenate, clean out, know yourself, prepare, and allow. This in-between phase represents an important part of the cycle of life. Give it a try sometime.

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