I think I got it wrong

All I know is what I read in the papers. 

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I got asked to list a belief that holds back growth in rural areas. I said it was the idea that somehow we could go back to the way things used to be. You probably hear some variation of that one about twice a week. “I remember when this town was….” Or “We’ve always done it this way.”  Seems like it’s always used as a way to hold back growth and progress. So I know you face that one, but you don’t fall for it. 

But I think there is another, more insidious belief that may creep into your thinking, one you might believe sometimes. It’s also holding back growth and progress. It’s us vs. them. When you face opposition or CAVE people (those Citizens Against Virtually Everything), it’s easy to think of it as us vs. them. But that’s wrong. It’s a limiting belief. 

There is no them. There is only us. 

That was hard for me to learn. I’m still learning it. 

What does it look like? 

You don’t wait for “them” to fix it. There is no “them.” There is only us. So you fix it. 

When you’re threatened and you feel like hitting back, you try to remember the person you want to hit is really part of us.

When you get that email or text with criticism, you try to imagine it as a message from your best friend. Let’s take that whiny complaint of “No one told us about the concert downtown!” Your immediate reaction is to grit your teeth. You talked about that a thousand times!

But what if your best friend had said that? Would you get mad that they didn’t pay attention, or would you be glad they let you know about a communications problem? (Read more about this trick. It works.)

It’s not about engaging the CAVE people in debate. It’s about remembering that we’re all in this together. And moving forward. 
Keep shaping the future of your town, 

PS –  Has your town lost a big employer? My friend Mark Riffey is going through this in his town right now. He wrote some really wonderful advice, and I thought you might want to hear it or share it with a town you know needs it: 
When a big employer is bought out, or closes and leaves a small town



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Hopeton, OK 73746

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