Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cadance ... (Guest Blogger Helen 2.0)

I would like to thank Kevin for inviting me to submit something to his blog. Trail's Cadance Brace is a beautiful, vivacious five year old's whose medical journey has mobilized an army of amazing people and the incredible support in our very generous community of Trail to support her and her parents Jeremy and Amy as she faces the road ahead.
On November 22, 2013, Cadance was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We now know she is BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver receiving treatment for her leukemia until at least March. On an personal note, Cadance is my husband's cousin's daughter and a sweet friend to many her age and her family, just by who they are as people, have really had an impact on the community of Trail. Jeremy and Amy are a young couple, just like many in our area who work hard, are kind, humble and private and proud to call Trail home. Cadance is in Kindergarten at Glenmerry Elementary.
It started with a Facebook group to send wishes of support, started by Pat and Jill Beauchamp, close family friends who also started the Hope For Cadance Trust Fund. That Facebook group has become our sharing place. I and another friend just wanted to know how we could help this family from afar. With Amy's permission, we looked at some fundraising like some raffle baskets, perhaps a dinner, coin jars and an online fundraising page.
The response has been nothing short of miraculous. We have had offers of help with other fundraising events which has allowed us to plan longer-term to keep this family together as Cadance goes through the next 4 or so months of treatment. Generous financial donations and donations of time have filled our hearts and sharing that wonderful news with Jeremy and Amy has completely overwhelmed them and they are eternally grateful. It helps a family focus on their child as she faces a tough treatment regime and an unknown path as time moves forward in how that treatment may change.
Thank you Kevin for allowing me to promote the following December events to support the Hope for Cadance Trust Fund: - Raffle basket ticket sales that will be available on December 4th. Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5.00 and you have a chance to win: 1) "Christmas Dreams" Gift Basket themed with gifts for a five year-old girl Cadance's age 2) "Christmas Rocks" Gift Basket themed with gifts for a five year old boy Cadance's age 3) "Christmas Wishes" Gift Basket filled with a couple of gift certificates (still being determined) and wonderful gifts akin to the season *Draw date is Christmas Eve: For more information , please call Kerry Vandermeer at 250-231-2508
Saturday, December 14th - "Hope For Cadance" Bake Sale and Raffle ticket day at Waneta Plaza from 10 am to 5 pm - you can always get your raffle tickets here and pick up some great baked goods made with love. For more information, please call Kerry Vandermeer at 250-231-2508
Saturday, December 31st - At the Trail Cominco Gym - 6:30 to 1 am - (doors open at 6 pm) "New Year for CaDANCE" New Year's Eve Benefit to support the Hope For Cadance Trust Fund. Dinner will be catered by Chef Darren Rossi including appies, midnight snack and champagne at midnight. Three bands: Green Avenue, Round 2 and Emerson. Silent Auction filled with great items for all budgets and also some amazing big ticket items! Tickets are $50 each and will be available to purchase by Friday, December 6th at Pharmasave and Maglio's Building Centre. Seats are first come, first serve, 19 years and older to attend. For more information: Helen at 250-231-7971. Safe ride home ensured by the AM Ford Shuttle Service
Thank you to the City of Trail, Darren Rossi, Hall Printing and AM Ford for supporting this NY Eve event by allowing us to keep costs at a minimum so more can go to help the Brace Family.
If you are willing to volunteer in any capacity for any of these events, please contact Helen at 250-231-7971 or reach me through the 'Hope For Cadance' Facebook group.
We will have more to support this family like our "Crownz for Cadance" well-wishes campaign at select businesses and coin jars throughout Trail and area.
The Hope For Cadance Trust Fund has been set up at Kootenay Savings Credit Union in Trail and the online fundraising page is
We will be holding other events in January, February and March to help the ongoing costs that the Brace Family will face and you can keep an eye on the Facebook group for more information as we move forward.
Trail and area, thank you so much for proving once again why Jeremy, Amy, Cadance and all of us are so proud to call this community "home." God Bless, Helen Bobbitt

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Eternal Quest - Humility

Six Principles for Developing Humility as a Leader...

by John Dame and Jeffrey Gedmin | 11:00 AM September 9, 2013

REPUBLISHED: Harvard Business Review:  (HBR) Blog Network

Whether we're looking at business or politics, sports or entertainment, it's clear we live in an era of self-celebration. Fame is equated with success, and being self-referential has become the norm. As a result we are encouraged to pump ourselves full of alarming self-confidence. Bluster and the alpha instinct, contends Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology, often get mistaken for ability and effectiveness (at least for a while). It may well be why so many (incompetent) men rise ahead of women to leadership positions, as Chamorro-Premuzic argued in a recent HBR post.

Yes, we have scores of books, articles, and studies that warn us of the perils of hubris. The word comes from the Greek and means extreme pride and arrogance, generally indicating a loss of connection to reality brought about when those in power vastly overestimate their capabilities. And yes, many of us have also seen evidence that its opposite, humility, inspires loyalty, helps to build and sustain cohesive, productive team work, and decreases staff turnover. Jim Collins had a lot to say about CEOs he saw demonstrating modesty and leading quietly, not charismatically, in his 2001 bestseller Good to Great.

Yet the attribute of humility seems to be neglected in leadership development programs. And to the extent it is considered by managers rising through the ranks, it is often misunderstood. How can we change this?

First, let's get a few things straight. Humility is not hospitality, courtesy, or a kind and friendly demeanor. Humility has nothing to do with being meek, weak, or indecisive. Perhaps more surprising, it does not entail shunning publicity. Organizations need people who get marketing, including self-marketing, to flourish and prosper.

Hubris, meanwhile, is not a fair label to apply to any person who thinks differently and has the courage to assert or act on their convictions. Studies show, however, that serious problems emerge when robust individualism commingles with narcissism — another term for which we can thank the Greeks (whose demigod Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection). Narcissism combines an exaggerated sense of one's own abilities and achievements with a constant need for attention, affirmation, and praise. While the label tends to be applied loosely to anyone behaving in a self-absorbed way, psychologists know narcissism to be a formal personality disorder for some, and a real impediment to their forming healthy relationships. The narcissist lacks self-awareness and empathy and is often hypersensitive to criticism or perceived insults. He or she frequently exaggerates contributions and claims to be "expert" at many different things. If you are part of an organization with a leader exhibiting such characteristics, you have a problem. (Executive search firms and hiring committees beware.)

But beyond refusing to hire or promote such extreme cases, can and should organizations try to cultivate more humility in their leadership ranks? How would that goal take shape in the context of a formal leadership development program? As a starting point, we would suggest a curriculum designed around six basic principles. If you're a developing leader, you should be taught to:

Know what you don't know.

Resist "master of the universe" impulses. You may yourself excel in an area, but as a leader you are, by definition, a generalist. Rely on those who have relevant qualification and expertise. Know when to defer and delegate.

Resist falling for your own publicity.

We all do it: whether we're writing a press release or a self-appraisal, we put the best spin on our success — and then conveniently forget that the reality wasn't as flawless. Drinking in the glory of a triumph can be energizing. Too big a drink is intoxicating. It blurs vision and impairs judgment.

Never underestimate the competition.

You may be brilliant, ambitious, and audacious. But the world is filled with other hard-working, high-IQ, and creative professionals. Don't kid yourself that they and their innovations aren't a serious threat.

Embrace and promote a spirit of service.

Employees quickly figure out which leaders are dedicated to helping them succeed, and which are scrambling for personal success at their expense. Customers do, too.

Listen, even (no, especially) to the weird ideas.

Only when you are not convinced that your idea is or will be better than someone else's do you really open your ears to what they are saying. But there is ample evidence that you should: the most imaginative and valuable ideas tend to come from left field, from some associate who seems a little offbeat, and may not hold an exalted position in the organization.

Be passionately curious.

Constantly welcome and seek out new knowledge, and insist on curiosity from those around you. Research has found linkages between curiosity and many positive leadership attributes (including emotional and social intelligence). Take it from Einstein. "I have no special talent," he claimed. "I am only passionately curious."

We can't imagine that an individual exposed to the six principles above and encouraged to take them to heart could become anything but a better leader.

But meanwhile, assuming your organization isn't already helping its leaders develop such habits of mind, let us leave you with two humble, and humbling, suggestions. First: subject yourself to a 360 review. Anonymous feedback from the people who surround you may constitute a mirror you won't love gazing into, but as Ann Landers wrote: "Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." 360 feedback pays off in two ways. It shows you how your self-perception deviates from others' perception of your leadership. (And in leadership, perception is reality.) And it gives you a valuable practice in receiving feedback and turning criticism into a plan for growth and development.

Second, get a coach. We all have blind spots, and there's certainly no shame in getting help with them. Fast Company reports that 43% of CEOs and 71% of Senior Executives say they've worked with a coach. And 92% of leaders being coached say they plan to use a coach again.

Resolve to work on your own humility and you will begin to notice and appreciate its power all around you. In a recent meeting we convened in Los Angeles, the accomplished Chairman and CEO of a major Hollywood studio shared the benefit of his experience with 20 young professionals and students. What did this leader emphasize with the group? He spoke of his own failures, weaknesses, and blind spots, and how they had spurred his learning and success. The fact that he spoke about himself in this way deeply impressed the group. He projected convincing self-confidence, authenticity, and wisdom.

He was a convincing example of the kind of leader our organizations should be trying harder to develop — the kind that knows it's better to develop a taste for humility now than be forced to eat humble pie later.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

An Interesting Read ...

Why Nice Guys Don't Always Make It to the Top.

Nice guys may not finish first, according to research coauthored by Nir Halevy of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In fact, taking care of others in your group and even taking care of outsiders may reduce a nice guy's chance of becoming a leader.

Article Redistributed from Oct 11, 2011

STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS - Typically regarded as a common virtue, generosity can also be a sign of weakness for leaders, according to a new study.
The research finds that contributing to the public good influences a person's status on two critical dimensions: prestige and dominance.
"People with high prestige are often regarded as saints, possessing a self-sacrificial quality and strong moral standards," said Robert Livingston, assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. "However, while these individuals are willing to give their resources to the group, they are not perceived as tough leaders."
The researchers define dominance as an imposed alpha status whereas prestige is freely conferred admiration from others. Al Capone, for example, characterizes a high-dominance individual, whereas Mother Theresa represents a high-prestige individual.
The study argues that people with high prestige are perceived as desirable leaders in noncompetitive contexts; they are seen as submissive compared to individuals who strive to maximize their personal gains. In times of competition, individuals who are less altruistic are seen as dominant and more appealing as leaders.
"Our findings show that people want respectable and admired group members to lead them at times of peace, but when 'the going gets tough' they want a dominant, power-seeking individual to lead the group," said Nir Halevy, lead author and acting assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Livingston and Halevy coauthored the research with Taya Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business and PhD student Eileen Chou of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Their study highlights the need to distinguish between different types of status in groups, as well as how intergroup conflict shapes followers' leadership preferences.
"There are numerous academic findings on status but we sought to investigate the antecedents and consequences of two distinct forms of status, depending on the context," said Livingston.
To test their theory, the researchers conducted three experiments where participants were given the option to keep an initial endowment for themselves or contribute it to a group pool. Contributions either only benefited the contributor's fellow group members, or simultaneously benefited the contributor's group members and harmed the members of another group.
The first two experiments found that selfishness and displays of 'out-group hate' - unnecessarily depriving the members of another group - boosted dominance but decreased respect and admiration from others. In contrast, showing in-group love - generously sharing resources with fellow group members - increased respect and admiration but decreased dominance.
The third experiment found that "universalism" - that is, sharing one's resources with both in-group members and outsiders - had the most dire net outcomes on a person's status. The researchers discovered that universal generosity decreased perceptions of both prestige and dominance compared with those who shared resources only with members of their group.
In short, being generous can boost prestige if an individual is selectively generous to his or her own group; this increases respect and admiration from others. However, being selfish or belligerent (unnecessarily harming members of another group) decreases respect and admiration from others but it increases perceptions of personal dominance.
The intriguing consequence is that dominant individuals were more likely than prestigious individuals to be elected as a representative for the group in a mock competition with another group. Thus, being too nice can have negative consequences for leadership.
"Being too generous often comes at a personal cost to one's position of strength or power," Livingston explained.
"This research begins to explore when 'nice guys' finish first and when they finish last, depending on the group context," Halevy said. "Nice guys don't make it to the top when their group needs a dominant leader to lead them at a time of conflict."
The study, "Status Conferral in Intergroup Social Dilemmas: Behavioral Antecedents and Consequences of Prestige and Dominance," will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Construction & Change ...

Well, after much planning, deliberation and volunteer effort, Phase One of the Downtown Plan Infrastructure upgrade is under way. Over the next 6-7 weeks you will see and experience construction in the downtown core of Trail. The finished product will be worth the effort and it will represent the beginning of the transformation that our community will undergo over the next few years. I take this opportunity to remind all that this is the first of three phases that are currently planned.

Phase One will see new entrance features created on Bay, Cedar and Pine. Crosswalks will be redesigned, curbs redone and islands created.Traffic patterns will shift and the general appearance of our Downtown Corridor will be greatly improved. More importantly pedestrian and motorist safety will improve due to some of the traffic pattern shifts. A general slowdown of traffic through the downtown corridor is also a typical secondary impact of renewal projects such as ours. What people will notice more than anything as they go about their daily business - is that a change has taken place. It may require some minor shifts in daily routines ,however I can assure you that the changes we live with today are the building blocks towards the community we all want for tomorrow. Change is the only constant in a growing and thriving community. Embracing this change and working towards a new Downtown Core with a true sense of place and community- is the path we must choose.

I want to thank all members of the DOAC Committee (past and present) for their input,work and effort in getting us to this stage. It has been a collaborative team effort from the beginning- between local residents, business owners, council and city staff. This cooperation will continue as we execute the plan and it comes to life. Patience will be required of all as the project commences and the sounds of construction are heard by many. This is the price of progress and I ask that we keep this in mind over the next few months. The City will provide timely updates and notices to the public of any changes to traffic patterns via Facebook, Twitter and traditional media. I look forward to seeing the plan take shape and our sense of community in the Downtown grow.


Kevin Jolly

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Home of Champions Monument - Renewal ...

Shortly after 9:00 PM on the evening May 9th, 2013 - the curtain dropped and the lights went up on the renewed Home of Champions Monument in Downtown Trail. With a  few special lighting effects and a modernized look, it was a quite a sight to see. A crowd of just over 200 spectators gathered in the dark to witness the long awaited event. Many had already attended the induction ceremony of four new Champions into the Home of Champions Society earlier that evening at the Riverbelle. Trevor Johnson was recognized for his achievements in International hockey, Grant Rutherglen for his involvement in skiing, Kevin McNulty for his lengthy and accomplished acting career. Lastly, Terry Yuris for his world class record in the sport of kickboxing. It was truly an exciting evening to be a part of. The biographies that were read aloud and the very candid and sincere acceptance speeches brought back memories for all in attendance. Most importantly, for me, it reminded me yet again what we are capable of and why I love this community so much. We truly are ...the Home of Champions.

A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated in this worthwhile project.

See below for the speech that was given at the unveiling.


Home of Champions Monument (Unveil)

May 9, 2013 

Thank you all so much for coming out tonight to witness the unveiling of - one of our region’s most famous symbols – The Home of Champions Monument.

It is truly an honor to stand before you here today as the President of the Greater Trail Home of Champions Society and tell you a little bit about what I believe it means - to be called a Champion … in a community that has produced more than its fair share of leaders, winners and worldwide achievers.

 But first -I am proud to say that earlier tonight; we inducted four new members into the Society;

1.    Grant Rutherglen for his accomplished resume in the sport of skiing.

2.    Kevin Mcnulty for his extensive resume in the arts as an actor.

3.    Trevor Johnson for his storied career in Junior and professional hockey

4.    Terry Yuris for his world-class record and pioneering efforts in the sport of Kickboxing.

 Their names were all added to the monument earlier this week during the final stages of the restoration project. Those brass plaques now have a permanent home where our inductees’ achievements can be showcased and remembered, alongside the names of over 140 other champions. This in itself is an incredible testament to the talents and abilities of our relatively small population here in the Greater Trail area.

It is hard to define exactly what that difference maker is, that separates us from bigger places with lesser accomplishments, but I will hazard a guess and say that it’s heart. It’s heart that drives the hockey player to get up off the ice and make that last rush in the dying seconds of a game. It’s heart that brings the actor back for the 7:00 AM curtain call after working well into the night. It’s that special quality that gives the skier the courage to hurl his frozen body down an icy slope at 70 miles per hour, because he believes that it’s that last run of the day – that will separate him from the competition when it matters most. Lastly, it’s heart that gives the boxer the courage to get up off the canvas and wade into his opponent with everything he’s got left – looking for that one perfect shot that puts his opponent to sleep and sees his hand raised in Victory.

Heart - ladies and gentleman, you can’t teach it, you can’t give it away and you can’t buy it. As Champions, you were all lucky enough to be born with it and have the right people in your lives to help bring it out of you when you needed it most.

As diverse in background and skills as our inductees are, they all must possess some similar traits and characteristics to meet the test of being declared a Champion … in the home of Champions. To meet this test, they must possess tenacity, courage, dogged determination and a desire to excel that cannot be extinguished by the temporary sting of defeat. In fact, a champion must learn from temporary setbacks and use them as fuel to propel them forward into the next challenge, acknowledging them but never fully accepting them …and still knowing in your spirit that you’re best performance always lies ahead of you.
 To borrow a saying from Winston Churchill (One of my favorites),

“Success is not final, and failure isn’t fatal. It is the courage to continue that matters most”

This is what Champions know.

Tonight we dedicate the renewal of this iconic symbol to the people of the Greater Trail area in recognition of the indomitable spirit of our citizens and our Champions.

Please join me and make some noise as we raise the curtain … on your new Home of Champions Monument.

Kevin Jolly

Greater Trail Home of Champions Society

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Boston ...

Just over two weeks has now passed since the tragic events of the Boston Marathon Bombings and surprisingly, we are already talking about the court proceedings that will ensue for the younger half of the terrorist twosome. Once identified, the two culprits were the subject of a 24 hr man hunt, that was a domestic show of force the likes of which we have not seen before. Over 9,000 police,military and alphabet agency personnel descended upon the city of Boston, fully outfitted for urban warfare in armed personnel carriers with weapons drawn. For a day, the traumatized residents of the original tea party city, (the day after patriot day) hunkered down in their homes glued to the television sets watching live coverage of the man hunt, while the survivors of this horrific act of cowardice lay in hospital beds all across the city awaiting their turn in operating rooms or in recovery rooms contemplating their futures. The older brother (Tamerlain Tsarnaev) now resides on a cold slab of metal in the city morgue,with a tire track on his chest and his body full of lead. His younger brother, (Dzoakhar) also wounded and scarred by the very same explosives he intended to use on more behind bars awaiting news of his fate. The death penalty remains an option under  Massachusetts common law.

It is hard for any sane person to imagine the inner workings of a mind that justifies the deliberate taking of innocent life in the name of any cause. The moral trade offs and self delusion that constructs a belief system where this type of senseless act is somehow seen as heroic, is twisted and perverse indeed. It is further complicated by a media driven world that gives place to the telling of these tragic tales and a brief period of infamy and notoriety for the criminally insane. Perhaps it is not something we really need to understand further, other than to call it what it is, evil. Plain and simple. This type of radicalism cannot be tolerated.

With regard to the implications of the attack, well,travel in and to the USA will change again in terms of the level of preventive security measures they take. We will learn to live with this. For the sake of our collective security and preservation of our free societies, we must, as the Canadian government's anti-terror strategy suggests; prevent, detect, deny and respond to any threat. Expect changes at the federal level in terms of our security policy as a result of this tragic event. Bill S-7 was taken off the shelf and reintroduced in The House of Commons last week and deals specifically with the treatment of terror suspects in a preventive manner. It subsequently passed and awaits approval in the Senate. While this makes imminent sense to do so, we must diligently balance our need for security and the pursuit of it with the preservation of our rights and freedoms because they could be the first casualty in a renewed war on terror, homegrown or otherwise.

What does all of this mean? Simply put,

 "We're not in Kansas anymore Toto".


Monday, March 4, 2013


As I sit and reflect upon the last few weeks, having just gone through budget deliberations for 2013, I am struck by the sheer quantity of decisions and prioritisation that goes into the formation of a municipal budget. While that may sound funny coming from someone who works in the financial realm, it is nevertheless a daunting task. Each group, project or person has legitimate reasons as to why their priority should be funded and why this project or that one is better than another.The simple facts are, most decisions we have to make are quite important, some are critical and some require further development before they can be funded. The bottom line is that the essence of a politician's job is to make those decisions. Few are easy and most have consequences that live far beyond the moment in which they are taken. The real trick is to have a solid read on the collective will of the public whom you serve. This too, is no small feat. With so many competing demands and worthwhile initiatives, knowing which area to focus on, can be more art than science at times. Having said all of that, the public rightly expects that we as politicians get it right - most of the time. I don't think anyone expects perfection,but we are expected to make the best decisions possible, with the information available. So it is with all politicians; municipal, provincial and federal. This leads me to two recent scenarios that I believe warrant some explanation.

The first circumstance is the issue of Trail's pigeon problem. You may have recently seen or heard reports that the City would be dealing with it's pigeon problem by capturing and relocating the birds to the lower mainland for other purposes. To most, this sounds like a very sensible response to a very challenging problem. Dealing with the mess that Trail's escalating pigeon population leaves behind is a significant issue for businesses, residents and pedestrians in the downtown core. Not to mention the problems on the Victoria Street Bridge. After reading the staff report recommending this course of action and double checking with our staff for clarity, it was confirmed to me that this was in fact the proposed plan and the preferred option. To me, this seemed like an easy choice and win for all concerned, our residents,downtown businesses and even the pigeons would be pardoned. So naturally, I voted yes and proceeded to inform the media of our decision and it's merits. Of course I was stunned to find out the following day that the company we were going to give the contract to,(Care Pest) had indicated to a number of media outlets that no such plan existed. In search of answers, I drove straight to City Hall after listening to the 8:00 AM news. Well, several days have now passed and the simple answer to my question is, we were given incorrect information in the proposal because of a mis-communication. As a result, our decision was based on a false premise and accordingly, it should not stand. This is why the matter will be reconsidered at our next meeting on March 11th. Simple? Not really, we still have the issue of the pigeons to deal with, minus one option. We will see what transpires, but from my current vantage point, Trail's pigeon population shouldn't be making any long range plans.

There is also the matter of the small piece of park land being sold in Glenmerry,my own neighborhood. This issue has been a real learning experience for me and somewhat of a blessing in disguise. As a freshman Councillor, I have sought to ensure more than anything that my decisions and deliberations are made in the interests of our community as a whole (not any single person or entity) and that I represent the wishes of the people. To do this, I seek constant feedback through impromptu meetings,phone calls, walking the streets of the downtown and frequenting local shops. This is the part of the job I love the most and I might add,the feedback isn't always positive. However, to put it in baseball terms, this particular circumstance is one where I believe I have "whiffed", with respect to knowing the pulse of the public. While I do not disagree with the fundamental concept of developing a small piece of parkland that is not frequently utilized as park (1% of available green space) and understand that the process we used has been  executed 100% by the book,  I now see that we could have chosen to raise the bar in terms of community consultation. Instead of just placing the legally required ads in the local paper, perhaps a neighborhood forum or mail out would have allowed us the opportunity to gain the pulse of the neighborhood, prior to voting on the sale. Now the process will play out with respect to a recently launched counter petition (this is how democracy works) and the residents have until April 2nd to have their collective voices heard.

In the instance noted above, the final outcome is of course not known at this time and more discussion will certainly take place prior to April 2nd. In the interim, I want to let our community know that while you may not always agree with the decisions made, I am always willing to learn from these experiences and your feedback is very much appreciated.

Please email me at  if you wish to express your thoughts on either of the two scenarios noted above, or any other municipal matters you wish to discuss.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Kevin Jolly

City of Trail

*It is important to note that I speak only for myself in this blog and that I am not attempting to represent the opinions and views of my Council peers.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Rear View Mirror ... 2012

As the ink is drying on the pages of history for 2012, one cannot help but take note of the dramatic news stories that dominated the headlines throughout the year. It seemed that one extreme event after another captivated our attention in 2012. On a local and regional level, it seemed to be the year of living wetly. From broken water mains in Trail and Montrose, to a raging Columbia that threatened to turn downtown Trail into a giant mud puddle. From a tragic mudslide at Johnson's Landing, to a freak summer storm (turned deadly tornado) twisting through Pines Bible Camp in Grand Forks, the residents of the West Kootenays and the Boundary - all experienced more of the backhand of chance than I think any of us bargained for. Of course we also heard the desperate chatter of doom and gloom prophets who brought us "The End of the World" predictions in 2012, and I hasten to add that no thinking person I know took any of them seriously. I chose to flout the doomsday prophets by getting married to my fiance, Jeanne Kim on 12-12-12, for which I am extremely greatful. The year then ended with the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, that has caused many to reconsider their views on the very thorny issue of gun control. What I can confidently say about this past year is that if nothing else, 2012 gave me and many of my contemporaries and fellow skeptics pause to consider that just maybe, the otherwise very cozy and safe existence we enjoy here in Canada,  is much more tenuous than anyone of us cares to acknowledge. 

On that prickly notion, consider the following; global weather events have steadily increased in frequency and severity for the last decade. Food shortages made the headlines around the world this year as did angry and violent protests against sweeping austerity measures in Europe. The Arab Spring and it's consequent political turmoil impacts not only the citizens of the middle east, but it also reaches right across the Atlantic, and up to the edge of the fiscal cliff on the  eastern seaboard. Reference the ever present instability of US equity markets and the lofty price of a gallon of gas these days.The only thing that seems certain lately is ,,,well, uncertainty. Is it all moving faster? Or are we all just paying more/closer attention? I am not entirely sure of the answer to that question,but I suspect it is a bit of both actually.

Having said all of the above, I still cannot help but be cautiously optimistic about the future. In spite of the apparent fiscal confusion and global disarray that regularly sits above the fold in our daily tab, human ingenuity still stands tall above old ideas and outdated thinking. While we may be the authors of the  many problems and quagmires that plague us, history shows us that we are also the solution providers,who through determination and critical thinking, overcome the very challenges we ourselves created. As I look forward into 2013 and beyond, I see constant change and challenge ahead ,but more importantly, I see opportunity. Each of us has the power to choose how we will view the future ...and also the obligation to ourselves to act in accordance with that vision. I welcome 2013 with anticipation and perhaps even a bit of trepidation, but not doubt. By all accounts, 2013 portends to be another roller coaster ride on many fronts and we can count on the instant vibration of social media to keep us all over-informed throughout the year. Perhaps the best way to manage the info on-slaught is to make a resolution (which I stopped doing years ago),to put the Blackberry in its proper place more often. That place would be ... the glove compartment of my truck, at the airport.A familliar refrain, but I digress.

On a final note, coming from someone who likes to make "quality decisions", instead of "resolutions", the one thing I have decided to do more of in 2013, is to "Tell my story, my way". .