Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Lynn Kelly-Lehner. I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn!
What I’m Reading: The First Ninety Days by Michael D Watkins and All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols
What I’m Listening To: Side Hustle School with Chris Guillebeau
What I’m Watching: Old episodes of Top Gear
In recent days, I have begun winding down a project that has been a highlight of my career. I was tasked to implement a program to support our small business community utilizing CDBG funds allocated to the City through the CARES Act. Oh, and do it in nine days. Oh and manage it after that too. Please and thank you.
Of course! We do what it takes to get things done around here. We are from the government and we are here to help! The final product was the creation and implementation of two small business grant programs, collectively known as Temecula Assist.
When I was a few weeks into this adventure, running on little sleep and a lot of coffee, things started to get really difficult. Not the type of difficult where you think – “oh yay! Fun! A challenge!” The type of difficult where it was hard to get up in the morning. Where you feel sick. When you lost any work/life boundary. (Are we working from home or living at work?) When you forget to eat. When you think that there is no hope in succeeding. And when you are pretty darn cranky. I was deep in the weeds at this point and burnt out.
In an act of procrasti-working from all the crankiness, I decided to count just how many people I had worked with on the implementation of this program. In true Lynn fashion, I listed them all in a spreadsheet. I admit, I don’t actually know what the original point of this exercise was, but I am glad I did it. I counted them all up – fifty people. Huh.
I looked at the list. There were consultants, attorneys, City Council members. Staff from the City Manager to entry level, to executive staff, to administrative staff, to mid managers, and everyone in between. Almost every department or division was represented – Planning, Code Enforcement, Building and Safety, Community Services, Economic Development, City Manager’s Office, City Clerk’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, IT, Finance.
It takes a village.
Still deep in procrasti-working mode, I thought a little more carefully about each person on that list. I thought about how quickly they stepped up to the plate to help. How they volunteered to support the program without hesitation. How they put aside their own projects to work on this one – even if they weren’t entirely sure what they were working on. How they called me up for impromptu pow-wows on how we can overcome (yet another) obstacle in the road. How they cheered me on. How they celebrated milestones. How they offered to take over some of my usual tasks. How they asked if there was anything else they could do. How they brought me snacks.
I felt quite grateful. And honestly, a bit overwhelmed with emotion. (So, I took a nap.)
Refreshed, my spirits started to lift. I took some time to reflect upon the impact all of these people had made on the project, and then how the project had made such an impact on the community. What this made me realize is that when you are feeling lost in the weeds and can’t see the forest through the trees, I’m here to tell you that your work matters. Your contribution matters. You matter.
That spreadsheet you created? You are helping a family.
Those outreach efforts? You are giving someone hope.
That research you conducted? You are saving someone’s job.
Those funds you deposited? You are helping a small business stay in business.
That information you put on our website? You are changing someone’s life.
That advice you gave me? You are improving the community.
Those applications you approved? You just made someone’s day.
Lending a shoulder I could lean (or cry) on? YOU. ARE. MAKING. A. DIFFERENCE. (and also, thank you.)
Our work in local government can be grueling in normal times, let alone during a pandemic. It is easy to get overwhelmed with it all. We don’t tend to celebrate big victories, let alone reflect upon the steps it has taken to get there. But, when you can, take a step back. Look at what has been accomplished. Acknowledge those who have helped you. Let them know that they are part of the bigger picture. YOU are part of the bigger picture.
Special shout out to the amazing team in Temecula for your hard work and dedication, especially towards this project. THANK YOU. I am proud to work with such a talented group of people.