Thursday, July 23, 2015

Juggle or Struggle??

I had a conversation recently with a friend who has been in her current position for just over a year now. My first question was, as always, "so, how's it going?" She responded positively, she loves what she's doing, she has seen one success after the other, she has incredible support. I kept waiting for the but and of course it eventually came,
........."but the success seems so fleeting because there is so much to do. I want to do it all, I want it all done now, even yesterday!!"
I bet you've said this too. And so we juggle. We juggle time and project priority and our emotional attachment to both. We juggle patience and impatience. We juggle the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. We juggle being overwhelmed with being overjoyed. We can't soak up the satisfaction of success because another ball is already making it's way skyward and we fear we won't catch it on the way down. And all this doesn't even take into consideration our personal life balls getting into the mix. 
What's the answer?
Juggling is actually a game, a dance even. You won't ever stop juggling, but you can decide to accept that the juggle is life and stop making it a struggle. You can decide the challenge of the juggle is fun and smile about it instead of stressing over it. You can even try to enjoy those many, many balls you catch, even if it's fleeting, you still caught them!! And just like a good juggler you may decide to deliberately drop one you just don't need any longer making the game that much more enjoyable.
Play people, play!! Enjoy the juggle and forget the struggle! Keep throwing, keep catching and relax into the game of life!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Choosing conflict or finding solutions?

Anyone who has ever managed or worked for a Chamber of Commerce knows that there are no limits to the number of unrelated conversations that happen within those walls on a daily basis. They run from the mundane to the ridiculous. And the ridiculous are seriously RIDICULOUS!! I once made the mistake of answering the office phone on a Saturday (ever done that??) only to have a lengthy conversation with a clearly inebriated woman who wanted me to get her husband out of jail. He was "no good", but she "loved him" and needed to get him out and she didn't know who to call but thought the Chamber was a good start.
The image on this post is from the Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma (thanks Suzanne!). It was such a great example I just had to share. The store owner is not a Chamber member and has been pretty obstinate about that decision yet very comfortable sending people to the Chamber for the restroom. OK, it's frustrating. It's downright aggravating. It's kind of ridiculous. But when presented with something like this should you spend a lot of your precious time in conflict over these clearly non-mission focused occurrences that are prevalent in the industry? Or do you smile about it, weigh the positive options, look for a Chamber solution, present it and then get back to work regardless of the outcome? 
It is easy to become ensnared in a lot of activity that doesn't fall into your job description. The more you dig into these minor conflicts the more you detract from the really important things that need to be done, but you can't just ignore them either. I believe that fundamentally Chambers of Commerce are "solutions" providers. That doesn't mean the Chamber is ultimately the answer for everything, but they are connected and can FIND a solution. I used to tell my staff, if you don't know, find out, if you can't find out then at least connect them with someone who may be able to help. Situations like this provide an opportunity to show the community, visitors to the community and of course business (whether they are members or not!), that when it comes to finding an answer the Chamber will find one. 
I always say that Chambers of Commerce have four core functions. They convene, they collaborate, they coordinate and they connect. Don't you think that pretty much sums it up? Seize a conflict or a minor irritation and consider these four "Cs" in determining a solution that will end the conflict and amplify the value message for the Chamber. You do the "stuff" people think just happens. You won't get a headline for a lot of it, but you can walk away with the satisfaction that you are part of an organization that looks for a solution for every situation matter how "ridiculous"!!