The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay Magazine: Summer 2023

Head's Notebook: Dwelling in Possibility

Rob Gustavson
What will you do next?” As someone who has believed that many of my proudest accomplishments have resulted from careful planning, I admit to being slightly uncomfortable not having a definitive answer to this frequently asked question during the past few weeks.
My decision to conclude my tenure at Fay next June was deliberate and intentional, and it was neither precipitated by dissatisfaction nor hastened by a compelling new professional opportunity. I have never viewed school headship as a lifetime appointment, and when I came to Fay in 2008, I didn’t envision staying in the role for a specified number of years. Rather, I intended to serve as long as my particular strengths were meeting the School’s needs, and I knew a time would come when Fay was ready to benefit from new leadership.I believe the School is now in the best possible position to find the next leader it deserves, and the moment to begin that transition has arrived. It's also the right point in time for me personally and professionally. As much as I have found great satisfaction in my work during the past fifteen years, I will be ready for a new chapter that affords time to pursue my personal interests and enables a more balanced life with my family.
While all of this makes logical sense, I recognize that uncertainty about what lies ahead can feel
unsettling. But uncertainty doesn’t need to be unnerving. I firmly believe in the importance of planning yet also think it can create the illusion that we are completely in control of our lives. Accepting and embracing uncertainty engenders humility. When I reflect more deeply on those things I’m proud of accomplishing, I recognize the influence of serendipity and good fortune. Although nothing great can be accomplished without thorough preparation and hard work, timing and luck are almost always also involved. In the words of Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
I prefer to reframe uncertainty as possibility. Possibilities are filled with potential, anticipation, and excitement. After all, our lives are not only about plans and accomplishments; part of what makes life meaningful is seizing unexpected opportunities for learning and growth. The educator John Dewey wrote that possibilities are more important than what already exists, and knowledge only matters in its bearing upon possibilities. I don’t believe that destiny is some predetermined, mystical force. Instead, I think Dewey’s perspective provides a good working definition: destiny is the discernment that results from knowledge coming to bear upon possibilities. As the Head of School Search Committee undertakes its work in the coming months, and as I continue to reflect on what my next endeavor will be, all of us will be listening for the call of destiny.

Want to learn more about Fay? Fill out the form below.

main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201