I Have To Ask The Question – Why?

 

You see things; and you say “why?”

But I dream things that never were; and I say “why not?”

– George Bernard Shaw

 

Last week, I was asked to explain what I do. I help create a safe place where older adults can be physically active and socially engaged.

Sure, I raise money, write articles, set up tables, introduce speakers and take out the garbage. But at the core of what I do – and why I wake up each morning – is to positively impact people’s lives.

A few weeks ago, a significant day came and went. No one baked me a (gluten-free) cake, brought me balloons or got me a card. That’s OK. I wasn’t expecting anything.

That same day, someone complimented a member of my team. It wasn’t a generic comment like, “you’re doing good job.” It was specific about why Ami was asked to speak to a group of potential members. That comment meant a lot to Ami, and I discovered – when Ami told me – that I’m a good coach and mentor but I’m not always great at handing out specific praise.

Ami probably wishes she’d never said anything, but I already knew that giving specific praise is something I have to constantly improve upon. Even more shocking – it is the exact same thing I desire. I want it from my family, BASC members, the board and even from my pets – who I know don’t talk.

Ami and I share some similarities. We both want to do a good job. So whether it’s a Bunco event, a newsletter or recruiting volunteers – we always want to do a good job AND we want to know specifically why it was good.

After the wake-up call, I took some time and reflected on exactly why the BA Senior Center board hired me.

I have vision – I see how things could be in the future (I’m not psychic). I know where the Center is today, and, in my mind’s eye, I can see exactly where the Center can be in 2022.

I’m driven by the achievement of goals and objectives. If I have a vision, then strategic planning provides the  structure for an organization to follow to get from where it is to where it will be in the future. I want to lead the BASC board, the members and staff forward to where we usher in an additional building with even more opportunities for older adults. To arrange things in the right way and to maximize the efforts to get there, I have to ask the question. … Why?

Part of implementing a plan is asking questions. I’ve always asked a lot of questions (ask my parents). I love to figure out why things are the way they are. If we feed 48 people lunch and have no more room for additional members to play bingo, why don’t we expand to 80 seats? Why do we go to the store twice a month for bottled water when we could buy more and make one trip? Why buy goods at an office supply store when they are 15% cheaper on Amazon and delivery is free?

However, the problem with asking “why?” is that many people don’t like that question. Much of the time, asking “why” results in change, and many people do not like change – they’ll even go out of their way to avoid it. I happen to love change because I’m flexible (not literally) and can easily adapt to new situations. Face it: We’ll never grow into a second building if we are unwilling to change.

Members who’ve spent time with me over the past year (hours – not minutes) understand my drive and desire. They understand that underneath the humor, sarcasm and purposeful strides, I’m deeply compassionate about others. I care about what the future holds.

After the last Birthday Potluck Luncheon, we received a lot of positive feedback from members – specific, meaningful feedback about programs, activities, speakers and the facilities. It was wonderful to hear and more exciting to see the difference that’s being made in people’s lives.

Earlier, I mentioned that a significant day came and went with no fanfare (or cookies). I’ve been at the helm at BASC for one year now. It is an opportunity that fills me with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment and adds meaning to my life.

So thank you.

Do me a favor and look back at how far we’ve come and then try and see – even try to dream – where we can be in a few years. And if you can’t, then ask me and we can explore the possibilities together.

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