In January 2018 I outlined a few goals for myself and I have completed one of the major ones so this is a good time for a post since there about 30 working days left in 2018 and it is time for people and associations to decide whether to say great job or if work is needed allocate more resources to the goals we have set for ourselves.
Just a note on the goal that I completed.
I am a MARATHONER!!! That is something that less than 1% of the population can say!!
I completed the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18, 2018. The time during the marathon was so special. I participated in the marathon in honor of my father who passed in October 2010 after a brave 18 month battle with brain cancer. Before my dad was diagnosed with his disease I had completed a half marathon and was set to complete a full marathon in 2009. With his diagnosis my life became all doctor’s appointments, surgeries, chemo treatments and just wanting to spend time with my dad so running took a back seat. In June 2017 I could hear him saying “You had a goal to complete a marathon and I have been gone over 7 years. Stop using me as an excuse and get to it.” So that is what I did. I trained, I ran many races (5k, 10k, half marathons), started running with a great group of like-minded people who wanted to push each other in a positive way AND my first marathon is complete.
Everything did not go as planned and I wish I could have been faster but I would not change any aspect of the run. I was one of the last six people to finish and I am proud of that because of how we helped each other from mile 20 (of 26.2) on. We encouraged each other, if someone needed a rest we all stopped and I was going to make sure we all finished together. Maybe it is the military training that is still in me but we were going to succeed as a team. All the people in the group were first time marathoners. People wanted to quit but that was not going to happen and at the end we crossed that line together and there was a big hug and tears all around.
How does this relate to associations? It relates in a few ways.
- As association volunteers work through the various challenges you need to know you can count on each other and your staff. The group of six rag tag finishers worked as a team and finished together. When one of us wanted to quit the others said “heck no” and we moved forward. We supported each other in a positive manner.
- Your association projects and work will not go as expected but stick with the project if it has value. You need to adjust and keep moving forward. My first marathon did not go as expected but I worked through it and finished.
- It is important that associations evaluate both successful programs and programs that could have done better. There is a great deal we can learn in failure. The key is to take that information and make adjustments. I am now reviewing what I could have done differently or better to improve for my next marathon. I know I did not stick to the training schedule as much as I should have due to the many work commitments. I also did not do enough strength training, hill work and speed work. I will adjust and correct in 2019 as I put my training plan together.
- As an association you need to set your goals and work towards them. Put a plan together (action plan, project timeline) and track your progress. This is critical to making adjustments. I tracked every mile, time and notes on an excel sheet so I could tell what I did right, what I missed and where I needed to change. There were days missed and days that as runners say “I was on the struggle bus” but as best as I could I stuck to the plan.
- Recruit good talent for your board and committees. An association succeeds or fails due to the energy, passion and knowledge of the volunteers. One of the best things I did when setting my running goals was to surround myself with people that were positive and encouraged me to do my best.
At the end of the marathon my daughter was able to put that medal around my neck and that made my year! The fact that these lessons are also applicable to the association management work that I love to do is just a bonus.
I hope that this post was interesting, entertaining and maybe even helpful.
In closing I will just add keep moving forward each day!!
As an additional note as I type this families are being devastated in California due to the wildfires and the American Red Cross is doing some great work. Below is a link a great article and a simple way you can donate $10.00 to the cause through text. I did it and it took an entire 15 seconds. So as we enter this holiday please remember those less fortunate.
California Wildfires – Red Cross Caseworkers Help with Next Steps
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Entire communities and families have been left reeling from these deadly wildfires. Help people affected by the California wildfires by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.