Vail Chamber: You are ‘they’ (column)
October 21, 2018
I have a policy I try to adhere to: If I start saying "they" too often, I remind myself that I am "they."
This is a simple concept, but one that I believe many people don't fully grasp. Too often, people like to blame others for things that bother them. "They" don't do this, "they" don't do that, "they" don't care and "they" need to do something about it. I believe this kind of complaining is highly unproductive and dangerous.
Reflect on this: Who are "they," and do "they" even know or care what you are thinking? Why should "they" do what you want? At this point, you might be saying, "Oh, I know who 'they' are," and the finger pointing begins: "they" are this group, this organization or that public entity. Replace "they" with any entity or group, and it is just as dangerous. The city, the town, the committee — this or that isn't doing this or that. Oh really, the city isn't doing something?
What is a city or town? The definition of city is a large human settlement. If you are in a city or town and complaining about that city or town, you are saying, "I do not like what I am doing about this or that given situation." Face it — you are one of the people who create this large human settlement. You are in fact "they," whether you like it or not. People working, living and playing in these areas are you and me. If we want to see change in our home, community or world, then we need to be "they" who make it happen, not "they" who just complain about it. I strongly believe you need to lead by example, not by opinion.
Think about it — has anyone ever changed the way you do things by throwing their opinions at you, justifying their words by saying it's what they believe, feel or want? I don't think so. On the contrary, this probably made you mad or you didn't even listen to what was being said. People usually respond better if you come to them with a plan or idea to try to problem solve.
For instance, which of the two following statements would influence you to step up and try to help solve issues of homelessness:
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The city needs to do something about homeless problems.
Or, I believe I have ideas that can help solve some of our city's major homeless issues. Please join me; let's brainstorm solutions and ways to effectively implement change.
If you don't want to put effort into solving our community issues, then you probably don't care much in the first place. Worse yet, if you have strong opinions but choose to be lazy, you are part of the problem — live with what you get.
For those of you who have read thus far, you may have said, "Yes, I totally understand, this makes sense for issues in my community, but it does not apply to my personal problems. I have concerns with my spouse, my friend or a competitor, etc. They just won't change."
You may not like the process you go through to create what you desire, but you can make things happen. You are "they" that faces issues with your spouse, your friend or your competitor. You need to be "they" who makes changes in yourself. Personal as well as community issues need "they."
As a chamber board member, I feel I am part of "they" who can make a difference for Vail and our community. It's an exciting time to be a part of the Vail Chamber & Business Association. We are asking every resident to keep their eyes and minds open for initiatives that will make Vail a better community for all of us. Contact us; we welcome your input and advice.
The Vail experience is bigger than any one business, individual or organization. In order to make sure Vail continues a legacy of greatness and continues as a leader in all endeavors, we need to pull together in our community.
The Vail Chamber & Business Association is a business advocacy group in Vail and a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email email@example.com.