This year I will resist the urge to spend New Years Day by routinely recapping the events of 2013 and trying to make sense of them. Instead, I will focus on the big picture learning and takeaways from the past year. I believe it is fair to say that we experienced significant change in 2013, and with that change came some discomfort. More importantly though, I think we must ask ourselves,
"What did we learn from those changes that will allow us to view 2014 through a new lens."
First, I think we need to understand that change still happens even if we choose not to participate. If we stand still, the world around us will continue to evolve and the gap between our reality and everyone else will grow. Simply put, a strategy of trying to maintain the status-quo is actually a plan that ultimately leads to devolution, the very opposite of growth and prosperity.
The world around us is a vast topic limited only by what we choose to pay attention to.My own definition includes the people whose lives I can or do affect and visa-versa. Focusing most of our energy on our circle of influence versus our circle of concern is one of the core teachings of the late Dr. Stephen Covey. The critical distinction being that our time and efforts should be focused on the situations and circumstances that we are able to influence, yet remaining mindful of those things that we cannot impact,but could still have an influence on our lives.
One of the biggest takeaways for me in 2013, is what I learned about the subject of effective communication. The key lesson being that it (effective communication) requires both clarity and repetition. Saying something once and assuming it was understood is a fool's errand. Telling one's story is a job that is never finished. In fact, effective communication is almost always an ongoing dialogue - not a monologue that stands in isolation. Listening to honest feedback and engaging with friends and critics alike can be daunting, but it is necessary if we wish to improve our outcomes and make progress. While this may sound like a self evident fact, I am not convinced that it is as common a practice as we would like to believe. Most of us believe that we are already effective communicators, but in truth - our human nature tends to err on the side of self delusion. In my view, the greatest source for honest self reflection can only come from thoughtfully considering the sincere feedback provided by our audience... our partners in the dialogue. While soliciting and taking heed of the gift of feedback is no simple task, it can provide us with the correct impetus for change, if we have the courage to listen. With the success of our public engagement booth in 2013 ,this is something I have committed to focus on even more in 2014 and we look forward to expanding it's use in the coming year.
Looking forward into the New Year, there are many projects and initiatives that the City of Trail will be embarking upon and completing. From the takeover of the Trail Airport, joint construction (with the RDKB) of a new pedestrian bridge, expansion of our municipal boundaries - to the completion of a second phase in the Downtown Improvement Project. All of this will be capped off with another municipal election in November and a referendum on a new Library/Museum project. All of these endeavours will require mutual cooperation, understanding and an open dialogue with the residents of Trail. I believe we are equal to the challenge and the continuation of this agenda of renewal is in the long term interests of all citizens living in the Lower Columbia Valley. A strong and prosperous Trail provides benefits and advantages to all of our surrounding communities that would be otherwise unobtainable. I am of the opinion that future generations will record this period of growth in Trail's history as not just a time of change, but a turning point that was critical to the long term sustainability of our entire region.
Please join me in welcoming 2014, full of promise and hope for a better future, as we build it together.