News from the Top

Happy New Year to My IDA Friends


I know you. You believe in the power of places and community. You are a change agent. You will do the work and put in the hours. You spend evenings and weekends in service to your community. To you, this isn’t work; it’s just who you are. You are up early with ideas and plans and are still working through projects late in the evening. You care for people, the ones you work for and the ones you work with. You often feel responsible for things outside your control because if you don’t tackle them, who will? You have vision and passion, but you make mistakes – sometimes big ones – and we are all the better for it.

A few weeks ago, a colleague quoted this ancient Latin proverb to me during a lunch meeting, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.

This is what we do every day. We look for the wind to be at our backs, not because we are lazy but because we have enough battles ahead to take easy days when they show up. But we are masters at taking to the oars. We have backup plans. We know how to exert the extra energy. We don’t mind the blisters that come with the rowing. We also know that we must often disturb the peaceful waters to bring great things to fruition. 

At this transition point into a new year, I encourage you to take a minute to look at the waters behind you. I would guess that you move quickly through the wins and right into the next challenge. We don’t take time to recognize our accomplishments because there’s much to be done. We have big jobs, many people looking for us to deliver, and we are expected to wear all the hats. But just for a minute, sit in the progress and see it.

And then it’s right into the next thing. My colleagues and friends, I wish you a productive year ahead. I hope you have some days when the wind serves. However, I do not doubt that you have oars at the ready. Not only do you have them, but you are skillfully trained in putting them to use.  

Let’s do this!