Monday, August 2, 2010

Hello Again

Recently it was brought to my attention that it had been well over 3 months since my last post.  To tell the truth, I was surprised that it had been that short a time! The last three months have been a whirl-wind of activity.  We have learned and grown so much as a family and as individuals.

Looking back on these last many weeks, I can truly see Heavenly Father's hand in our lives and feel so blessed for the opportunities He has brought our way.  The blessings have been so abundant, that for the first time in memorable history, we (me) have been able to recognize the blessings in things that would normally have ruined the day, week, or month in the past.

The lack of blogging has come directly from our nearly full time involvement in planning and preparing for a statewide martial arts tournament.  Having only ever been to one tournament prior, I guess we (JP and I) were not mentally confined to the "traditional" ideas about how to throw a tournament, and we got crazy with an idea, and then the idea became a question, and then the answer to the question became "YES" and  I will admit at times I felt thrown into a roll I was not prepared to fill.  But when push came to shove, being urged to move forward and take the lead was the best thing to happen to me, JP, or our marriage, in a very long time.

What did we learn?  We learned that people like to help, and they want to say "YES".  The economy has not put a damper on excitement about new opportunities, unique ideas, or the entrepreneurial spirit.  We learned that small businesses can be incredibly generous, enthusiastic, and kind.  Corporations have a lot of red-tape, and can be difficult to navigate, but can sometimes still come through with surprising levels of generosity.

We learned that there are some amazing things happening in our community.  Downtown Mesa was once a thriving neighborhood and business center, but has been plagued by lack of quality housing to bring services into the downtown area.  The neighborhoods circling the downtown center have had their own challenges, and many businesses have not kept up with the neighborhood's needs, leaving empty real-estate and business' associated with a different quality of life than most would prefer.  But that's all slated to change as Mesa's leadership plans to renovate, rejuvenate, and re-invigorate the downtown area.  And that being a group who seeks to improve the landscape of lives through hard work and discipline, you become a really good fit for groups who seek to change the landscape of lives by literally changing the landscape.

We learned that sometimes you have to make somebody actually tell you "NO".  And that until they've said "no", either they're just putting off disappointing you, or they intend to say "YES" but they need more information before they can confirm their desire to help.

We learned to partner together, to know which one of us has the right attitude, personality, or motivation to get something done.  We've learned that we can trust each other to accomplish the goals we've set, but also that communication, clarification, and consistency are key to accomplishment.  We've discovered that just because Lisa knows what she's talking about, doesn't mean JP has picked up on the same vision and vice-versa.  We've learned to say to the other "This is what I understand you to mean,_______________ is that correct?" (and have discovered at least 50% of the time, one of us has completely misunderstood the other!)

We've learned that we can't make other people share our vision.  We've learned that sometimes safety measures appear to be barriers to success.  We've learned that there is a balance to be met between safety and success.

We've learned that we need not just one checklist, but many.  We have a plan to create a "control binder" of sorts for tournament planning.  That binder is the reason I'm awake right now as thoughts began to flood my brain after I turned the lights out to sleep tonight.

We've learned that sometimes people will make you responsible for their success...and that we cannot shoulder that responsibility.

We've learned that some people will over-invest, others will under-invest, and both will be disappointed in the results.

We've learned that it might be interesting in the future to relay more demographically specific information to help those prone to over investing understand what an appropriate investment might be for a group like ours.

We've learned that when it comes to small businesses, the owner's personality has far more influence on our purchasing decisions than the product.

But we've also learned that Heavenly Father wants to bless us.  That He will bless us, and He will bless our efforts when we are engaged in something unselfish which suits His purposes.  We've learned that He will use anybody willing to do His work, and not just members of any specific church.  We've learned that our peers like us, that hard work is more respected than talent, and that its O.K. to not be 100% the winner 100% of the time, and that joy can be found in the success of others.

We've learned that a dead-battery at the end of a long and exhausting day (week) doesn't have to be a gut-wrenching stress inducing problem, but that we can ask for a jump and be grateful we can make the necessary purchase the next day.  We can be grateful we weren't stuck in a rainstorm, at the side of the road, or in the middle of a bad money month.

Mostly, I think, we've learned to be grateful.  Not just for the success of the tournament, or the blessings of friendship we enjoy, but for each other, our health, and the unique opportunity we found ourselves with this summer.

And speaking of being grateful:
Big thanks go to POOL together, Arizona's first collaborative market (seriously you guys, the day will come that you won't visit the greater Phoenix area without visiting POOL together. Its going to be that cool)
All of the POOL merchants, especially those who made generous sponsorships, and or donations to our silent auction.
Grand Master Han's Martial Arts of Arizona, but also of Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and California, plus other's I can't remember off the top of my head.
Vic Villont for putting in the good word for us at Pepsi Co/Quaker, and Liberty Lumber.
But most especially for all of our friends who let us do what we thought needed to be done without worrying about rank, or experience.  There were a number of times we were not sure if/how we should proceed, we worried that we might step on toes, or be seen to think we were more than we were just because we were having some success with the task at hand.  As it turned out, we were the only one's worried about being too successful.  Which leads me to my final thought: Being fearful of success is a CROCK! and I've been living in that crock a long, long time.  I'm glad the crock has been broken and that lump of stinky cheese has been set free.  Some things just don't get better with age, and fear of success is one of them.


Kristina P. said...

I saw your FB status yesterday, and I realized how long it had been since you blogged!

But it sounds like the tournament was a success. Congrats.

Chef Tess said...

Amen to all of that you awesome girl!

Anonymous said...

I'm even behind on catching up with you! Sounds like a great experience. I am very impressed. xo