Springfield, MO

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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

90 Ideas: Elise Crain

Community Volunteer and Construction Industry Retiree

Posted online

When you are given a hand up, your other hand should be reaching back to take someone else on the trip. My mentors have been many, beginning with my parents. They were examples of community responsibility, leadership and the willingness to search for ideas and ways to benefit others. One of my goals is to take the networking opportunities granted to me and use them to enhance the lives of others. Find a mentor, be a mentor. 

Care about other people. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It is not about you. It is about what you do. When you have a challenge, work, home or anywhere, explore how your behavior can change the environment for everyone involved. See how it plays for everyone. It may turn out you have a new life lesson and have made life easier for others. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care!

A dream is a dream until you write it down; then it is a goal. Written goals are vital! You can add, subtract and change, but writing them down (you do not have to share with anyone) keeps you focused. A review at the beginning of the month allows you to adjust any goal. What happens if your job goes away? Notice I did not say “lose your job” – that would indicate your actions prompted the change of status. Your list of goals will keep you grounded and help you prepare for your next job/adventure.

Don’t doubt your impact. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Think of the effects of school boards, city councils, committees and not-for-profit organizations. I’d guess most of the readers of this publication have been a part of a “small group” and will continue to be. Thanks to each of you. 

Make the pledge. Nancy O’Reilly said, “We have human rights thanks to the women who changed 10,000 generations of history in just 10 generations.” While most of my mentorship has been for women, I have assisted several men who have expressed interest in education and supporting others. First Lady Abigail Adams said to husband John, “If you do not give women the right to vote in the Constitution, it will take many years before they vote.” My pledge: Today I will bring up another person with a kind word, support and encouragement. May that become a pledge for you?

Go with passion. Mike Rowe said, “I do not follow my passion; I bring it with me.” What lights up your eyes? Nature? History? Art? Whatever it is, find an organization and become active. Many organizations are both virtual and in person. Remember that you are providing unconditional support and advice. You will be a worker before you become a leader. Ask me about the Bald Knobbers (the vigilante group, not the music group) and you will know right away you have pressed my “go” button.

If we do not know where we have been, how will we know where we are going? I am the fourth generation to be elected to public office in Christian County. My roots are deep. Local history is important to me, and I love sharing. Another opportunity to be involved is to be an election judge. It is worth taking a day away from your day job to serve and appreciate our election process. It is a long day; the results cannot be measured. It heightens your awareness of community issues and what is important to voters.

It is tacky to raise your voice to the only person who can help you. There is a story about a person who approached an airline ticket counter, then bullied his way to the agent who asked him to take his place in line. He replied, “Do you know who I am?” The agent, went to the microphone and said, “We have a person at gate number whatever who does not know who he is; if you know, please report to this gate immediately.” It is not a good idea to raise your voice unless you want to sleep in the lobby. It is not just about you!

Pay attention. All day, every day. In life, we do not have days off. We have days with fewer responsibilities, but we still need to be alert. We should take days away from emails and screens. We are all connected, as are our careers, ventures and adventures. 

Focus on the basics. Live simply, speak kindly, care deeply and love generously.


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