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Nothing is set in stone, and that’s a good thing!

When I first started at YOUR Chamber, I spent a lot of time listening. I listened to people talk about the past and the future, tried to sort out the names of everyone, and understand what events were important.


I messed up a lot. I mixed up dates, names, events, purposes, committees . . . pretty much everything. I still do sometimes.


But, one thing I knew was that I had to learn as much as possible before I could even attempt to support my new community properly.


A lot of people guided me through this time. They shared details, stories, and experiences. They answered my one million questions (shout-out to you, Susan Harris, and Angie Schwerdtfeger!), and they told me stories.


So many wonderful stories about this new home of ours. I wish I could make you a video of every single time someone's eyes lit up as they told me a story about our history, our citizens, our land, our influencers, and our business owners.


We truly are a lucky community. And, my family is lucky to have found you.


After a while, the ideas started to flow. Ideas about how I could possibly help with certain opportunities or events we could create to fill gaps. That kind of thing. The voice of our new travel and tourism marketing campaign began to take shape in my head, and I am excited to grow that in the coming years.


The thing about new ideas is sometimes they aren’t always just right. Sometimes they are flat, dead wrong. I have a few of those ideas. I did an event in one of the other communities I lived in. It was a simple concept, and the feedback leading up to it was exciting and enthusiastic. Two people showed up. Two. It was a flop.


But, those two people were the start of something that grew into annual festivals and events, a marketing campaign that transformed the business and community culture. And all of this is still happening today, with me hundreds of miles away. I’m completely comfortable with flops. They don’t stop me; they push me harder.


With that being said, I’ve recently flopped here in Council Grove. And I am going to share that with you now, because what’s the point of not succeeding if we can’t all learn something from it?


This year, our Council Grove Area Trade & Tourism Association made a brochure for our members with a schedule of upcoming events that we wanted to make happen in the first six months of 2023. We’ve already hosted many of these, and they have been received beautifully!


Later this month, we had hoped to produce our first Council Grove Area Drink & Dine Week!


Spoiler Alert : It’s just not coming together.


The participation rate of those that were invited to join in is 70%, which is a pretty solid number for a first-time event!


But, it took more time than I anticipated to wade through other Association priorities, and our membership drive, while simply incredible, has been more time-consuming than I allotted. Needless to say, my attention was not on Drink & Dine week as it should have been.


Now it’s February 16th, and I’m sitting here wondering, how do I pull this off?


The answer is, that I can’t. I cannot pull together this event, at this time, with the resources available to me, and make it the event our participating restaurants are deserving of. But, this is where that not-set-in-stone-thing comes in.


We can still have a Council Grove Area Drink & Dine Week, which can still be amazing. It just cannot be February 20-25th as I had originally hoped.


So we will pivot. Reset the course. And make it happen at a different time.


I’m learning about what works and doesn’t in this community. And I appreciate you all for giving me the grace to do so.


Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? Have you ever had to pivot last minute and struggle with the feelings of failure that come with it? It’s hard, but growth is. Thank you, Council Grove, and beyond, for sticking with me as I grow, learn, and do better for you. Do you know someone else in our community that is struggling to do their best? I can guarantee that if you know an entrepreneur, you know a person that is learning more about themselves and how to be their best every minute of every day.


Please reach out to them with a supportive gesture. It’s not easy to face our own screwups, much less face a community when you’ve messed up. Give them grace too, and more so, give them encouragement to keep up the fight. If they keep striving to do better, they will never really fail.


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