As autumn settles upon us, I have to admit I really like the cooler mornings and the rustle of the leaves as we ride through the woods. The colors have slowly intensified over the weekend and the smoke of the campfire is calming. The last couple of weeks I’ve been on the road to professional conferences that have stimulated my thinking in many ways. Everything from reminders that we learn what we want to learn, in the manner we want to learn them in, to a world view of agriculture by a photographer for National Geographic. The stimulation has give me new energy, given me a new perspective to carry on with the opportunities that I have in this wonderful job of Extension.
Another speaker talked about his perspective with Extension. He was the child of a sharecropper in the Mississippi delta and he came to know that there was a person who could make his life and the life of his family better, he was the county Extension Agent. He could help with the fields of cotton, the storage, the sale. He could bring information on canning food for the family and other topics as requested. The speaker talked about how we can “change lives when we connect with others” and that when teachers of information offer to reach out, that there’s nothing I can’t do to make life better in some way. He challenged us to “not be constrained by your present reality and how we need to accept some change to move beyond status quo”.
As we were listening, he offered the following ways to build community and reach out to others and it just resonated with me that with today’s technology, some things that I consider common sense might be worth revisiting or at least remembering as we work together in neighborhoods and workplaces.
*Give your word and keep it. “Say what you’ll do and do what you’ll say”…..that’s really my mother’s quote but it fits here as well.
*Be dependable. Take responsibility and be accountable for pulling your share of the work load whether you are at home or on the job.
*Create a future focused culture by listening and keeping in touch with the trends, but don’t forget the foundational values you live by.
*Establish friendship within the workplace by really listening to each other and offering a helping hand of friendship when needed. Always look for the good in people and expect the best from others.
*Reach beyond the comfortable. Stretching our minds and talents is a way to grow and learn from each other. Don’t be afraid to fail, you’ve just found one way not to do it. Find another.
*Look for ways to provide excellence for others, look for a new definition for success and embrace change by living beyond the past. Reach out with our hands and our hearts to realize the power of “us”.
I know there’s nothing new in the above statements, but I also know that in many places the work silos and expectations inhibit that potential that might be there. We all work in different ways and see opportunities instead of barriers. Might I suggest that as you reflect on these in your world, think about how you can contribute to a stronger community, better family or increased personal growth.