Springs Alliance

Elevating Life in Colorado Springs

On Working Together

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to write about working together and how Colorado Springs (and surrounding areas) do or, more honestly, doesn’t pull it off.

It is hard for me to put into words the feelings that I’ve had over the last few years about this without seeming downtrodden or negative. At the end of the day, we have incredible community spirit and so many wonderful people doing wonderful things here. There is, however, this permeating resistance that winds through the good and eventually ends up with those things simply not happening. 

Sometimes the good things are pushed along the wayside for BIGGER things.  Sometimes the good things get drowned like the person who dives in the water to save someone and gets pushed under the water from all the thrashing. Other times, like in many examples that I personally have crammed into my backpack of ideas, the voice is too small and doesn’t have the doers on board to complete the task and the idea flickers like a match that has tried to light, but never finds its spark.

The thing that probably bothers me the most is the need for ownership of the good ideas. I have seen time after time, really good ideas be born, only to flail about in the land of Not Happening, due to internal or external conflict. Much of the conflict has to do with the egoism that surfaces in groups who are trying to get things done.

In some instances, there is a person or people who decide that within a group who gathers to make something good happen, they must run the show or be the “lead” in order to show the shiny badge. The dictatorship model sinks the boat. The need for personal gain and satisfaction ultimately overrules the task at hand and soils the good. The result is frustration and cauterizing of an open flow of future ideas and communication.

Now, I don’t claim to know what is going on in the following example, but today I read Matthew Schniper’s blog on the Independent: Food fight: Manitou’s Local First Grocer battling internal tensions. Here is something I’ve been confronted with when exposing what is inside my backpack of ideas. I have long thought that we could have a most awesome and amazing Colorado Springs based brick and mortar shop for all things local. I’ve even let the cat out of the bag in order to share the idea and to get feedback, most of which was very positive.

I envisioned a warm store with wooden shelves lined with cottage foods, handcrafted alpaca yarn scarves, locally roasted coffee percolating, while people came in to sit and read books written by local authors, or inhale the smells of goat milk soaps. A cafe at one end with eggs from nearby chickens being scrambled on lovingly made bread

 

Being a self-employed stay at home mom with two kids has not lent to possessing much wealth.  I have not earned my monocle and bags of money to sit atop, and therefore have absolutely no means to open such a place on my own. So, I looked outward. How would I possibly make the idea happen?

It had crossed my mind that perhaps opening a co-op type organization would fit the bill. Though, I’m still not sure that I would have had the wherewithal to make it happen this way, the primary intimidation for not doing it  was fear that by opening up my idea to others and releasing ownership to others after growing my idea baby from nothing, would end in my ousting. Not because I’m a terrible person or have terrible ideas. I’d just been burned before by such things and really didn’t want to put my love and energy into something that gave others the power to kidnap my baby legally.

If I made her, I wanted to stay with her. I wanted to nurture her from infancy and raise her strong and healthy, watch her take off on her own and stand back while she became something that the community adored, not just an idea that I adored.

But I was too scared.

I have had experiences in the past with the egoism and the need to rule. The conflicts of even the most well meaning of community leaders in not bending or being willing to say THIS is our reason for being. Not my name on a plaque. Not my name in the newspaper. This wonderful idea is bigger than us or me.

Moreover, I have a personal fault in wanting not to be the star of the show or the ring leader. I don’t want to speak publicly or draw attention to myself. I am LLoyd Dobler. 

This personality trait has caused me to often times neglect to follow through. I don’t want to have to convince others that the silent self is better for the big good. Over time, I’ve been more neglectful than not due to my past experiences. Frankly, I’ve been steamrolled a few times. Some have even had the best intentions – in thinking that they were the better person for the job. Perhaps because they are more connected, better community politicians, or know more of the important people.

My only hope in all of my endeavors, which I hope that I have personified, is the willingness to not be the star of the show. On twitter, for example, I have aimed not at self promotion, but of community promotion. I do not wish to overshadow the community for the sake of my own badge of award or whatever might come with it. Though I have received commendation here and there, for which I am so grateful and proud of, that will never, ever overshadow the mission at hand. It is about us. It is about who we can be and what we can accomplish together.

I wonder what the resolution to this is because it often keeps me from my best possible accomplishments, which is certainly a personal roadblock.

I’d love to hear your comments about this topic and impressions on what I have said. Join the conversation? I appreciate you having read.

 

 

 

 

 

On Being Honest

So, here I am. Hello, world. This is my first blog post. I am optimistic, as many bloggers are, that I’ll faithfully post and write interesting content to be shared with your friends and neighbors.  I am actually tentative as this is my first stab at anything like this. I am not a writer in that I am not trained, have no degree, never went to college (well, a few semesters at community college), and sure that I will make grammatical errors, putting sinful commas in places the forefathers never intended them to be.

Besides these things about myself, I have friends who are amazing writers. Whether bloggers or professionals, I stand in awe of friends who are able to share their written thoughts so eloquently. I don’t claim to be one of these people. I am, however, inspired by them. I hope you know who you are. I’ve retweeted, favorited, and commented to you on Twitter. Because of your efforts, I feel welcomed to offer my few words as well.

Let’s start with the beginning, then.

I started this blog because first and foremost, I care about the community of Colorado Springs. I hope to have demonstrated this through my efforts. I have met some of the most wonderful people here. There are scores of people, flying under the radar, unseen and unknown, who daily work to make our little city better. There are plenty more whose names we know who are constantly in the forefront of community action. These are the rising stars, the best ofs, the sparkling achievers.

I wanted to write about my experiences in this town. Further, I wanted to be honest. Honesty can be a flowering and wonderful thing, unicorns and cupcakes and such. Honesty can also be hard, especially when it comes to looking at something that is loved and examining it in true light.

The first rule of Honesty Club is to keep it clean. I have no intention of disparaging or putting a rainy cloud over anyone or thing. I seek to understand how we work – together or otherwise – to make our community what it is. I will, however, attempt to shine the light on not only what makes us amazing, but what we don’t necessarily do well, also.

Why focus on things we don’t do well when I can burst with positive sparkles and dance in the beauty that is the good that happens every day? Because perhaps I am capable of more. You are, as well. We as a collective can do better! Now, I don’t claim to have solutions. Is that the damper on the whole attempt? Perhaps. But I feel like stifling the things that I’ve observed is part of the problem.

Am I a part of the problem? Yes, yes I am. I have big ideas and fanciful thoughts about what can be accomplished. But, like you, I have so much going on. I fail to execute my “Big Ideas” because of this reason or that. This is part of what I feel I should confess, and will do in future posts. The honesty will not only apply to observations made about the environment around me, but about myself, too.

So, come with me. Please share or comment if you like. I hope you do. I do talk to myself sometimes, but I hope that this is more, that you’ll play along and participate. You don’t have to agree! All dissenters are welcome and appreciated. My only request is that the tone be civil so that the discourse may be more rich.

Join me here, or find me on Twitter. Make suggestions, comment, argue your point – Just. Be. Honest.

 

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