The Story of Wayfinders (and Brownies)

Once I spent 8 years trying to write a book.  You should have seen my towering stack of “how to write” books. But my breakthrough book wasn’t a writing book at all. It was called Teamworks, written by a warm and wise lady named Barbara Sher. She acknowledged how tough it is to do  hard things alone, and told you how to assemble a team to help you.

Inspired (and pretty desperate), I asked some friends if they would try an experiment: what if everyone figured out one thing they really wanted to do, and then stuck with each other as they tried to get it done?

I promised brownies.

And they turned up.

The wonderful ones who turned up

Over the next couple meetings, we listened deeply to each other as we opened up about dreams and goals we had been chasing, some of us (like me) for years. Then we each took a stab at breaking our own goal into steps.

We kept meeting, and working on our steps during “real life” between meetings. Even if it was just a tiny step in the right direction, every teammate knew her teammates would be waiting with wild applause when she reported in next.

As first one of us, then the next, then the next, began to bring her goals to life, I started to see what Sher had been talking about. Even when one of us hit a big obstacle – you don’t tackle big dreams without big obstacles –  somehow the encouragement, gentle nudging, laughter and accountability kept her showing up each week and making progress.

Even now, I’m floored by what we eventually accomplished together. Kim started a local food truck to feed the hungry. Deborah got the courage to write and give a sermon she always had in her. Jackie travelled to India to meet girls who had been rescued from brothels – and went on to establish a non-profit to fight human trafficking. I even finished my book.

All this from a few neighbors in my tiny town of Bath, Maine, sitting around a table, talking about what they cared most deeply about. And then making a plan. And then cheering each other on as they took small steps to bring it to life.

I was inspired to create my ministry, first called Dream Teams, now Wayfinders. Since 2009. I’ve launched 38 teams  in Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, and my own home state of Maine, always refining the program as I go to reflect what my 177 (at last count) Wayfinders have each taught me.

I have worked with people of varied ages, faiths, and circumstances: high-schoolers, artists, nurses, retirees, young moms, teachers, custodians, writers, small business owners, people who don’t have an extra dollar in their pocket and people with plenty to spare, and, to my delight, an actual rocket scientist (shout out to Bill H!).  My work has confirmed time after time that no matter who we are, God created each one of us for a reason, and whatever that divine spark is we owe it to the world to bring it to life.

God meets us right where we are, Blizzards and all

Me stuff: I have a BA from Princeton, and have worked as a writer, teacher, and journalist. I am a small-town Mainer, the wife of an Episcopal priest, and the mother of 3 remarkable dreamers. I’m also a hard core nerd who constantly battles an addiction to the internet, eats way too many Dairy Queen Blizzards, and has trouble being patient when I haven’t had enough sleep. Why am I telling you this? To blast the myth you have to have it all together to live the life you were created to live. You can move mountains just where you are.  With that bad temper you are trying to control, that streak of insecurity a mile wide, and your addiction to reality shows. Really.

I welcome your questions. In fact, I LOVE them. Please drop me a line at darrebyambler @gmail. com.