Romer: Perspective matters at a time like this
A friend recently shared a story in which a man reported as missing joined the search party for a missing person not realizing the individual being pursued was him. The man went drinking with a friend in a forest and his wife reported him missing after he did not return home and she heard he had walked away from his friend, drunk.
He came across members of the search party in the morning and decided to help them find the missing person. He realized he was the focus of the search when they began calling his name; they didn’t believe him and continued the search.
Here’s the thing: he was just trying to do a good deed and help his community. The connection to be made here between those that think “society is going bad” and how their conduct in the world … might make it better.
I’d opine that we’re all wandering in the woods wondering how to solve this puzzle and the solution is … us. I maintain my belief that good is almost always happening around us. It’s simply that it rarely crosses the threshold of our attention, much like the man who joined the search party looking for him and the search party not believing that he was the missing man they were looking for.
The reason the world seems full of jerks rather than good people is those bad things are easy to do and good things are often complicated. Bad things grab and hold attention — our 24-hour news cycle doesn’t report the good things taking place and good things don’t often capture headlines. Good things are often taken for granted. Bad things are memorable – missing people, uncertainty, crisis (both real and manufactured). Too often, good things are easily overlooked.
The perspective that good surrounds us and that our conduct is the way to avoid negativity isn’t Earth-shattering. It might not make headlines but embracing the perspective that individuals can make a difference in their community through service is a way forward.
This is happening locally with several candidates running for elected office, and it is great to see so many people wanting to serve the community through board service. Getting involved, being engaged, and looking to solve problems through involvement and engagement should be celebrated. I am convinced that everyone running for local office has good intent as their main motivation to serve and it’s our job as voters to find those whose values align with ours.
Just like the guy lost in the woods who joins the search party looking for him, a good candidate understands how their passion and strengths can combine with an organizational mission to provide a good outcome. Like a search party, skilled boards are made up of individuals who each communicate in different ways.
Understanding how one’s communication influences both harmony and conflict is important for a healthy board. It is also vital to understand the diverse thinking, process, and learning styles of those “around the table” to maximize strategic strengths and the human capacity of those serving.
We’re all human and we bring our perspectives and background to the table. Eagle County is fortunate to have numerous nonprofits, industry associations, special districts, metro boards, town and county committees, and councils that give people the opportunity to be engaged, build board experience, and make a difference.
Volunteering for a board or running for elected office can often feel like you’re lost in the woods when in fact you’re just trying to be part of the search party. Involvement leads to engagement, which leads to better outcomes. That is something to celebrate.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.