Yikes, it’s another blank page for the Vail Valley Partnership column
Vail, CO, Colorado
I’m submitting the copy for my column late this week. Not late for the Daily, but late for me. I usually write the thing a day ahead of deadline, just to make sure I fulfill my responsibility and that I have time, when the occasion demands, to ask my trusted advisors (spouse, knowledgeable staff member or third party expert as required) if the column is even remotely relevant, give myself a chance to reread the ones with a little too much opinion or proprietary viewpoint or venting and just to let it rest to see if it still makes sense an hour or two after the first draft. It works for me.
But sometimes, like today, the dreaded deadline creeps up and bites me on the backside. Of course that usually happens because of workload or rearranged priorities or in my case, just ‘cuz I forgot – an annoying senior moment with which many of you can relate.
So today when faced with another blank page it occurred to me as I sat at the keyboard, that every day we wake up is pretty much a blank page. Of course, there are some “pre-existing conditions,” as the insurance companies call them, that will determine what we write on the page each day – things like the status of your health when you drop feet on the floor, your emotional state, a mental list of the pleasant and unpleasant things that wait outside your door and all of that.
But for most of us, there are still unwritten words and actions that need to be filled in to complete the day’s journal. My friend and Vail Daily co-columnist Michael Norton is from the Zig Ziglar school of perpetual positivity, and has a great outlook on how one should approach the day. His optimistic, “I’m going to win or die trying,” approach is certainly one of the best ways to face the challenge of the daily diary.
Myself, I’m a little more structured. I think that first, you do what you’re committed to do, then do what you need to do, then do what you can do, then do what you want to do. That’s not a bad system, either.
Then, from the dark side of things, there are my friends Jeff, Jerry and Jorge. I call them the “three curmudgeons.” (Names changed to protect the guilty.) These guys face each day as if it’s another lofty pulpit from which they can vilify, blame, grouse about, carp on and debase any one, thing, government policy, politician (though, I confess, I mostly tend to agree with their assessments on that subject) or foreign dictator that rises to the top of the muck covering the surface of the FNB’s (fanatic news bureaus) teleprompters in the morning report.
If there is a spare moment in their day, their vitriolic emails pop up like mood-busting varmints on a Whac-A-Mole table – and there I am with my mouse trying to whack-delete them before they overrun my desk.
That seems a tough way to run your day. Maybe a good approach is to think about how to manage each day before you run headlong up against it. I like Michael’s approach, staple on a smile and challenge the world to find a staple puller. I like my approach, productivity-based and only demoralizing when priorities shift in mid-task. I can even appreciate the curmudgeon’s steadfast crankiness. At least when you start the day in full-throttled anger, a good thing is guaranteed to be a surprise.
Maybe you have a different way of doing things, a unique way of taking each day as an opportunity for a little accomplishment, fulfillment or sybaritic satisfaction. If you do, as my friend Carol says, “mahzel tov.” If you don’t, I wish you luck with your blank page. Myself, I’m terrified by the thought of a blank page and just have to write something on it. Maybe at heart I’m just a graffiti artist living in a sea of blank walls.
I can live with that.
Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.