by Fawna Bews
There’s nothing quite as inspiring as a person who is full of aliveness. They bring life to the community. It doesn’t even seem to matter what they are passionate about, it’s the fervor of sharing it, of transforming a simple idea to a big event or program. I’ve been seeing a lot of this in High River recently. There’s seems to be a can-do attitude that rises up in bursts in one person or in a group and once it’s moving – well – you better watch out.
Hockeyville, Tennis Club, The Venue and then the Shufflers and Pickleballers are in a league of their own! These recent movements are supported by a long history of owning your idea and running with it.
The value of living in the big city is that there is so much available to entertain, to consume. SO MUCH is the reason that many of us choose a rural life. Slower, quieter, friendlier are things we are looking for. At the same time we are loath to be bored and so these movements rise up, create a stir and oftentimes embed themselves into the fabric of the community making it more interesting, stronger and more complete.
The really cool thing is that they are driven by individuals, people who want something and feel the impulse to get something going. The possibility for one person to make a real difference in a small community is magnified. This is an advantage and a responsibility.
Now, it’s not always easy. What are you trying to do now? Particularly for those with a tendency towards great ideas, it can wear on you when you come up against naysayers, challenges, the continuous changes in rules and regulations.
It either burns you out or you learn to smolder, you learn the pace that’s needed for a town wide initiative. It takes time to get people on board, have you ever seen a cruise ship loading? It takes time to make sure that it’s safe. There are always going to be people who see danger, or problems that you hadn’t even thought about, seeing them as a support instead of a roadblock will keep those embers burning. You need to remind yourself that you don’t have every piece of information available, you are looking through a lens.
One of my favorite parables points this out:
Collaboration, hearing lots of voices will ultimately make your project or event more comprehensive, but the road there can be pretty bumpy. Oftentimes you are breaking ground, this is not a highway! We’ve all been on road trips where we get a little lost and it can be downright infuriating to have multiple ideas on what should be done. It can be hard for us to get beyond the mentality of those group projects we did in high school – the ones where one person did all the work, maybe the artistic kid did the title page and we all took the credit!
Good communication, decision making, keeping emotions in check and recovering from conflict are all skills. These are made easier when we have good relationships with the people we are working with and much harder when there is personal history involved. In a small town personal history is a blessing and a curse. In the city you might not know what he was like in high school…
Personality also comes into play here. Loud and aggressive, strong willed can overtake the quieter, more reserved or timid. We have cultural and familial norms that create power differences, sometimes that we are not even aware of. As our town becomes more diverse and social idea’s change this will become a bigger and bigger consideration.
BUT, let’s not let any of this stop us!!!! It is so worth it to put in the time, the deep breaths, the long nights and coping with stress strategies to bring your fabulous idea to life, to High River. To think that the things we take for granted, the Santa Claus Parade, the social profits that are celebrating 20 years this year, the balloon festival – all of these things were once just a thought Somebody then talked to somebody, they had coffee meetings and lit the fire in others, they did their research and went around obstacles, they filled out reams of paperwork and endured the critics and the seed they planted now bears fruit that feeds this community.
Passionate people I salute you and where we can we, support you. We’d like to hear your stories – where is your passion and where are you on the path to making it happen? Can you see the supports you need or want or are you one of the wisdom keepers who have paved the way? It brings me to one of my favorite sayings – we may not have it all together, but together we have it all. Your piece matters.