“It’s not about bringing your town back. It’s about bringing your town forward.”
Last week I promised we would talk about what that looks like.
Imagine you had to start a town from scratch on the same piece of land where your town sits now. The catch is, you don’t get to keep anything. You have to start from the dirt and build up.
You’re going to need a lot to get started. You’d need to attract people to work with, build a bunch of basic infrastructure, and start creating businesses and organizations.
This is going to take awhile. In fact, it took the whole history of your town, with all its ups and downs, to get to this point.
It’s intimidating, isn’t it? It’s meant to refresh your thinking about your town. We tend to think too much about how things used to be. If we take everything from the past away, and start from nothing, it changes our thinking.
OK, now what if you got to keep the people you already have?
Or the streets and utilities and buildings and all the infrastructure?
What about if you could keep the businesses and organizations you already have?
Wow, already this seems better! Instead of having nothing, we have assets! Look at all these assets we have! We are way ahead of a blank piece of ground.
That’s how you need to look at your town to actually start from here and go forward. Every place has people and assets to build on.
It’s not about bringing your town back. It’s about bringing your town forward.
With what we have right now, what can we build?
With the people we have right now, what can we do together?
With these assets, what do we want to become?
What kind of town do I want to live in? And what action can I take tomorrow that attracts other people to create it with me?
That last question is the essence of being Idea Friendly.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – What hours should retail stores be open in small towns? That’s probably the most common question I get, or some variation of it. Here’s my best answer