Change won’t come unless you make yourself heard
We spend enough time at the China Garden in Angola for dinner that Tammy (the owner) pretty much knows what we’re going to order when we sit down. No need for a menu—we order by item number, pretty much the same thing each time we’re there. The fun comes in at the end when we go through our selecting of a fortune cookie ritual: You have to keep the first one you touch or it’s bad luck (no reality to that, just grins and giggles on my part when I made up the “rule”). Usually we each read them with an eye roll and a groan, but occasionally there’s one that makes us raise our eyebrows.
How eerie are fortune cookie messages?
The last three fortunes cookies I’ve gotten have followed a theme that’s almost eerie. Here they are:
- You are careful and systematic in your business arrangements.
- Executive ability is prominent in your make up.
- You are interested in public service and would make an outstanding statesman.
Like I said, eerie considering what I spend my days doing. I’ll have to say that #1 and #2 in large part resulted in my reason for pursuing the “public service” part of #3.
Voice your concerns if you want to see change.
I recall an incident over school policy a year or two ago that is a perfect example of something I would have pursued if it was an issue near and dear to me and mine. I was surprised to attend a school board meeting at the time to find that no one was present to address the policy concerns that had been such a hot topic of conversation on social media and coffee tables all around town. Change cannot be brought if concerns are not presented in the appropriate forum. If you want answers or want to see change, whether it’s with your school or your local government, attend the monthly meetings and voice your concerns.
I’ve approached both the school board and the town council over a variety of things that were important to me over the years because it’s not in my nature to sit back and not try to “fix” something that could be better. Sometimes those approaches resulted in change, other times not, but I made the attempt and felt better for it — regardless of the outcome.
You’d be surprised at how approachable people are when you are respectful and bring valid concerns to the table. Keep in mind that there is a process that needs to be followed, though. Trying to get something accomplished through the back door, for example, will likely result in unexpected complications and a negative outcome. Don’t try to shortcut your way toward accomplishing a goal or you may unexpectedly find the floor dropping out below you.
Focus on the big picture.
We have to remember that each step we take has a ripple effect, good intentions notwithstanding. If we move forward, narrowly focused on the finish line, consequences be damned, then what have we truly accomplished?
Offer suggestions, ask questions… but be reasonable. You may bring a perspective that hasn’t been considered before. Be open to hearing that there may not be an easy answer and what you want may not be possible. At the end of the day, good people have a common goal, and we all need to focus on the big picture.
From columnist to blogger, Tina began writing in 2015. She blends the various bits of her life — professional, entrepreneurial, and personal — and shares her experiences with you. Tina's Coffee Break became the means for her to express herself on seemingly random subjects, but subjects that are on her mind and in her heart at the moment — things we can all relate to many times. Simply put, Tina writes about life’s moments. Tina has managed her court reporting business for over 20 years. She owned her community newspaper for several years where she first discovered her love for writing through her weekly newspaper column, "Tina's Coffee Break." She was a member of her community's town council for six years, the last three presiding over it as president. Drawing from all facets of her life experience, Tina now provides business strategy guidance to others working to build their own success story. A mother of two, wife for 32 years, and businesswoman of 25 years, a piece of Tina is in everything she writes.