Vail Daily column: Focus on things that matter

It is easy to fall into the busy trap — completing tasks, answering emails, running from one meeting to the next — and to forget to focus on the things that matter. Days pass by, weeks and months go on and before we know it, another ski season is quickly upon us.

We’re all reminded of this each year in mid-November as we’re busy staffing our operations, training employees to provide the highest level of service and generally getting ready for the winter months to maximize our business operations.

It’s no different at Vail Valley Partnership; we continue to focus on our programming, our member benefits, our events and how to add the most value to our member businesses and the business community at large. Our new member tiers offer exciting opportunities for businesses to leverage our assets and tools to increase their business, to build their brands in the community and to stay engaged with important, ever-changing issues and trends within the community and local marketplace. Community engagement matters and the Vail Valley Partnership offers numerous ways to help grow your business.

It matters and we appreciate the support of over 820 local businesses that make the business decision to join; we know that there are options on how to spend your time and your resources and we know that your business will grow by using our tools. We don’t take it for granted and we offer our gratitude for choosing to invest in your business by choosing to partner with us.

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Five years ago, these were the things that mattered most to me. Provide tools to businesses. Help our members expand their business footprint and grow their brands. Assist with building bridges in the community, be it geographic or industry segments. Work with stakeholders throughout the valley to increase our awareness of the importance of interdependency. Build programs that bring people together rather than segmenting ourselves into self-selected silos.

Basically, make a positive impact on our community by helping businesses succeed.

This remains of utmost importance to me on both a personal and professional level and it continues to drive me today. But my perceptions changed five years ago and I realized that while these things are important, they are not the end all and be all.


Five years ago this week, an early morning phone call awoke me from sleep. My first thought? “Why is the phone ringing before 6 a.m. on a Monday morning? That’s never a good thing.”

Sure enough, my first thought proved to be amazingly accurate. My morning wake up call was not a good thing, and it brought with it some of the worst news you can receive. This early morning call was to inform me that my brother had been murdered.

I wouldn’t wish that phone call on anyone; to make matters worse, my brother was a single father to a 2 year old. Suddenly, the things that matter were put into an entirely new perspective. Everything else becomes secondary when faced with the sudden (and completely unnecessary) loss of a relative. As is common in these situations, information continued to trickle in over the next hours, days and weeks and we persevered thanks to the tremendous support of the community, our friends and our Vail family.

Prior to receiving that early morning phone call informing me of the murder of my brother, I was typically buried in work at all times. Five years later, I’m happy to have been able to adopt my brother’s daughter and while I’m still often buried in work, I have also had a slight shift in my recognition of things that matter most.


This sudden change in my life caused by the murder of my brother and the adoption of our daughter has forced me to try to balance working hard at offering quality services and impactful programs to our business community with spending quality time with the people you love.

My intent in sharing the abridged version of this story is not to share a morbid personal story to tell everyone to run from work or to focus less on business (in my case, that would be the pot calling the kettle black). Rather, my purpose is to remind you, as we approach another Opening Day, the holidays and our busy winter season, remember to balance growing your business (which, by the way, really should include joining your regional chamber of commerce) with focusing on the things that really matter.

So take a moment in the next few weeks as you gear up for an exciting 2014-15 season to recognize how easy it is to get lost in the turmoil of day-to-day life and step back and focus on the things that really matter. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that doing so has the nice side effect of making you more effective at achieving your business goals.

Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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