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Which Choice Will You and Your Association Make?

You Have a Choice to Make

waves of choice

Which choice will you and your association make?

We talked about the disruptive changes barreling down on the future of associations - and people in general.

You can't stop the changes happening.

They are in the works and many already exist. They are simply growing into their potential such as robotic systems replacing humans in many jobs.

What is a leader (and an association) to do?

You've got a big choice to make... Will you be a victim or a creator?

Being a victim gives you a sense of powerlessness.

The changes are bigger than you are. There's nothing you can do.

It can be seductive to complain about how your life and your association is being usurped and damaged by everything going on.

You can meet in groups to see who is hurting the most. Who is best at predicting the horrors. And, a crowd favorite, seeing who can complain the loudest and most dramatically!

You roll around in the sticky muck of staying where you've always been.

You know it's the kiss of death - we had that chat earlier! But it's easier to pretend things aren't changing - and blame others for any challenges.

Perhaps you decide to go a step farther...

You pull out your contact lenses and destroy your glasses. After all, if you can't see the impact of the changes that means they aren't real, right?

The warm fuzzy blanket of ignorance gives you a false sense of security that hurtles you even more out of sync with what's happening to you.

It's all good... Just staying in the now you affirm to yourself.

You secretly relish being a martyr stretched so thin you don't have time or capacity to get enough sleep in a single day - let alone worry about the future!

Deep down, you know this blindness will not last forever; however being clueless or a whiny, loud victim feels good in a weird way.

You are more important because you are too busy.

If you peek up, you can always kvetch about how mean the companies driving the changes impacting your world are.


Besides, even if you looked up, you wouldn't know what to do or where to start looking - so why bother?

It doesn't feel good.

It's so much more relaxing to keep your head in the sand and pretend you are at a fancy spa getting a mud treatment.

Taking no action. Keeping your head down. Ignoring the world beyond your nose.

It's all still making a decision.

When you make a decision to make no decision you are choosing to be a victim in the world of change.

What's the alternative?

You (and your association) can choose to be creators.

Embrace the changes. Play with what's coming. Get creative. Discover new ways to serve your life and your members.

Get yourself in the game and play like you never have before.

Here's a little secret...

It doesn't matter if you don't know what you are doing.

Most of us don't - even those who say they can give you all the answers you need.

We are all guessing based on what we see and how we play with the information.

It's a new, never-seen-before world.

Change is coming at us like waves rushing the beach.

Some are gentle waves.

The changes may be tweaks here and there. They may actually be delightful to play in.

Some waves of change will be more significant.

The kind of waves surfers lie in waiting for as they watch what's coming their way - wave after wave.

The bigger waves can be a thrill.

Take you on a ride. Give you some challenges. Throw you for a loop. Some even practically drown you.

And what a rush!

The more you ride them. The more skilled you become. Bigger waves get you excited. Your confidence is strong.

You know you will at least have an amazing ride - even if the wave knocks you off your board.

(You may get so good the death-defying waves of the North Shore now call your name!)

And then, every so often, there are the huge waves...

The ones that wipe out life as you know it.

In mere minutes and hours, life is completely different.

Those who were not prepared may no longer exist.

The world feels turned upside down. Sometimes it happens.

As you learn to read the waves of change, your confidence in how to deal with the grows - and you become a creator of your experience - rather than a victim.

  • Do you stay in the water or get to safety?
  • Do you pop up to catch the big wave?
  • Do you swim through certain waves?
  • Do you use different surfboards based on the waves you notice that day?
  • Do you need different sustain lotion to prevent sunburn?
  • Do you eat differently because the waves are smoother or bigger that day?

The questions can go on and on...

As a creator, the world is filled with endless choices for you to make.

There is no one right answer.

As a creator, you are going to fall a lot - especially when you first start riding the waves.

BUT when you catch the right wave and get to experience the rush of riding on so much power - what a great day!

As a creator, your experience is up to you as you work in tandem with the waves of change.

You've got two choices to make...

The first is as an individual.

How are you personally going to live in the world of change?

If you've been in victim mode and in denial about what's happening, extra pressure still infiltrates your life worrying about when the big change will hit.

If you want to be a creator, but don't know where to start, that's okay.

Like surfing, riding the waves of change is a skill set that can be learned.

And you don't have to do it alone.

If you want to be a creator and have already started, good for you.

Jumping in early will give you time to sharpen your skills, learn your values - and train your mind to be more creative.

Your association will also take a position as the victim of change or creator of new opportunities.

The individual choices of your board members will influence which way they will lean as a team.

The churning of changes underfoot will create opportunities for new norms to be embraced or old ones to be further institutionalized.

Where does your board and thus your association fall on the spectrum of victim to creator?

If your association leans heavily towards ignoring the implications of change right now, your board members may be voting based on where they feel most comfortable.

The rampant strategic illiteracy we talked about earlier will skew boards to taking less action and being bigger victims.

Shifting from victim to creator as individuals and a board, needs people to feel like they are in a safe space to learn what feels a lot like a foreign language to them in the moment.

As a leader, you may need to build your own creator skills and confidence before you can encourage others to ride those waves of change with glee.

Shifting yourself and your association from victim to creators is doable.

It's a journey filled with all sorts of adventures. In other words, it's living large - and where you need to be.


Start with yourself, how strong of a creator are you?

Then look at your association board... where are they as individuals and as a collective voice on the spectrum of victim to creator?

Many of you will have your work cut out for you.

We've got this!

It's time to hang ten and hit those waves together.

Over the next few weeks, we'll explore deeper into riding the waves of change successfully.

Yours in Riding the Waves to the Future Together!

- Cynthia

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