How are you feeling?
It's an interesting question, one I've been asked frequently since this time last month, when I had just lost an election. The answer? Just fine. Satisfied. Relaxed. You see, I believe it is always worth it to try something that seems like a huge challenge, even if it doesn't work out. That's because I subscribe to the Jim Rohn philosophy of, "You win or you learn".
So, I'm still trying to find just the right way to make a big difference in my community. In the meantime, I know that many small differences add up over time, just like compound interest. So while I'm working on the next big thing, I look for a way to do some small thing, every single day. And I'm confident that I learned something that's going to come in handy. I set an example for many people (they've told me so), so how can it not be worth it?
This week I was at a meeting with members of local agencies to discuss how we might build our community's economic engine. We were discussing who we need at the table to make sure both jobs and entrepreneurial ventures can thrive. During this conversation, I was excited to see that one of my community-minded colleagues was realizing that doors are opening up as his network is growing. (Porter Gale even wrote a book about it: Your Network is Your Net Worth.) Later in the week, I had another conversation with colleagues at the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, where I'm a Board Member. Again, the conversation turned to who in our networks could help us grow our various projects. During my recent campaign, I grew my web of community connections exponentially, and doors are opening. Now it's up to me to turn that potential into something. To that end, I have three asks this week:
First, how can I inspire you to stop waiting, and start building the network that leads to your next big thing?
Next, who do you know, who is an expert at creating jobs, who should be part of my community conversation?
What advice have you received, that changed your career trajectory for the better, that I can share with my network?
Looking forward to building together!
IThis week I was fortunate to have been invited to the University of Waterloo Planners' Dinner. The guest speaker was New York City's Parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver. He's an entertaining and engaging speaker, who brought a fresh perspective to how I think about Parks. The most important was his idea of equity, and how conservatory spaces need to be cared for on an equitable basis, regardless of the wealth of their particular corner of the community.
Silver talked about how New York's aim was to have everyone gain access to a park within 10 minutes' walk of where they live. While that's do-able in most of Toronto, he also pointed out that when he began his role, there were great disparities between the condition and accessibility of various parks - lush green spaces like Central Park were counted the same way as asphalt-paved compounds with a couple of trees to the side. This got me thinking about all our public realm entities - social housing, roads, pedestrian and cycling routes, transit...and I could go on. All of these should be cared for to an equitable standard, regardless of the means of those who live in the surrounding neighbourhood.
I also had an opportunity to meet another "recovering candidate" from the recent election. We agreed that since there is still much to do, we all need to find ways to keep working. How are you advocating, volunteering, or engaging others for a better Toronto?
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the most important event that will be happening in locations all over the country this weekend - often in neighbourhood parks: Remembrance Day. Lest we forget, the day is not a celebration of war, but instead, an honouring of a commitment to peace. Now, more than ever, that's something we need to work on. No matter how far the gap between us, let's look for ways to find common ground with those who are different from us. It may not be easy, but it is worth reclaiming some honour and respect in our world.
Change agent. Recovering political candidate. Committed to building community. Always looking forward.