January 7, 2020
On 2020 Resolutions
This Tuesday Letter marks the first for calendar year 2020. I have never been one for making a list of resolutions. I believe that the time to make a positive change in one’s life is when you recognize that the change needs to be made. Waiting to implement a particular change on a particular day of the year is usually a recipe for failure.
Nevertheless, I do believe in the reflective power that this holiday and other holiday periods offers. The New Year season is one that affords us the opportunity to dream of a better future. The key to accomplishing that better future is to follow through. Dreaming is not enough. As Vincent Van Gogh stated in describing his artistic process, “I dream of painting and then paint my dream.”
In the spirit of Innovate!, I encourage you to dream of how to improve your professional life and the lives of the people you serve. To help stimulate those dreams and the innovation process, I encourage you to reflect and act on the following questions as they apply to:
• How can I be a more impactful Extension professional?
• How can I better understand the needs of the people I serve?
• How can I reach more people, especially those who need Extension but do not use Extension?
• How can I improve the impact of the programs I deliver?
• How can I better promote my upcoming programs and the programmatic successes I have had?
Then, once you have dreamt of how to do those things, paint your professional dream. Do not wait for the right time. If you need help to implement an innovation, ask for help. Talk to your colleagues, boards, program leader coordinators, and directors about your ideas. Incorporate their ideas and move forward.
You may have successes. Great! Keep moving forward. You may have failures. That is okay. Failures are only total failures if we do not learn from them. Learn from them, adjust, and move on, but move forward.
If each of us focus on how to be better at addressing the needs of the people of Kansas, wonderful things happen. First and foremost, the people we serve are better served. Second, successful innovations spread fast. Your colleagues will incorporate and start adopting them. The system will adjust to better promote the adoption of successful innovations. All benefit just because of you acting on your dream: the people we serve, you, your colleagues and the system.
Dream big. Dream bold, but remember to paint your dream. Follow through. Doing so will help to ensure a truly great 2020!