Our Work


Facing Uncertainty

By Stephanie Villinski on July 09, 2015

Hi All, it’s Stephanie. This is now my third post and I have a confession to make: every time I have to write one, I wait until the last minute and I put up a fuss (mostly within myself, but some external) about it. A few of my ILAO colleagues are probably laughing by this honest revelation. So, you may be asking, “why the fuss, Stephanie?” Well, it is simple. The website rebuild is not easy and it is out of my comfort zone (after all, the two websites -IllinoisLegalAdvocate.org and IllinoisProBono.org- that I have solely managed for the past four years will be nonexistent in less than 9 months!!). And really, who wants to write about things that make them uncomfortable? Anyone out there raising their hand? I am guessing few to none of you.

Being uncomfortable can stem from many things, but in this case, it’s about “uncertainty.” Uncertainty hit me like a ton of bricks at out staff meeting yesterday when Gwen Daniels, ILAO’s Technical Director passed out a chart of what needs to be done before the launch of the new website on March 31, 2016. All I could think was, “How are we going to do that?” “Or that?”

As one of my favorite authors Pema Chödrön says, “It takes a lot of bravery even to consider that uncertainty is not a threat, that in fact it’s creative and powerful.” Ok, don’t hand me my bravery badge just yet. I am hovering at the “threat stage” as the rebuild still seems like bull I am running from in a bull fight. Yet, as usual, Pema is on to something here and I need to figure out how to tap into it.

As I reflect on it, looking at the rebuild with a threatening lense has caused me to miss the point. Sure, there is still much to figure out, but ultimately, this rebuild is challenging us and others to “rethink legal aid.” If we truly want to tap the creativity and power to reach more people in need of legal assistance, there is no room for being comfortable and conforming to the same old ways of doing things.

So, dear reader, I am stepping outside my comfort zone (again!). I commit to you that going forward, when uncertainty arises for me with the rebuild, I choose creativity over security of the known. Keep me honest. I will report back on my progress.