You can change the trajectory of your town

If you drew a line that represented the history of your town, what would it look like? Don’t just think about population, but the overall prosperity and liveliness of your town. 

Mostly up: /
Mostly down:
Peaked and fell: ^
Pretty flat: –
Never grew: _ 
Up and down and up: ~
Backtracked: &
Hard to say: ? 

You’re not limited to the keys on the keyboard here. Grab a pen and a scrap of paper and actually draw a line or a curve or a squiggle to represent your town’s history. 

Got it? OK, that’s the past trajectory. Now, let’s change that trajectory. 

If you drew a line that represented the path your town is on to the future, what would it look like? Grab that pen again and draw a new line for the future of your town. 

That’s a harder question, isn’t it? Based on what is going on right now, where is your town headed? Do you like where it’s headed? 

You can’t change the first line, the history, but you can change the second. You can change the trajectory of your town. The path you’re on now isn’t the only path available. 

When Deb Brown moved to Webster City two years ago, the recent history line looked something like this: (Down, in a big way.) The town had lost a major employer several years before and was still depressed by it. Today, they’ve decided to go a different direction. I think if we asked a dozen random Webster City folks to draw their line now, it would look more like down, then up again. ~

What did they do? Deb and a team of dedicated people gave the town new things to talk about. They launched the tour of empty buildings and that sparked round after round of positive change that they are still riding today. 

Your town will never go back to the way it was. You have to start here and move forward. 

We’re all going to spend the rest of our lives in the future, so we have to start getting ready now. 

Here’s the Plan: 
Ask 10 people you meet to draw a line to represent the history of your town and another line to represent the future of your town. Then talk about how you both see it differently. You’ll be building bridges for new conversations and kicking off a new way of thinking. 

Link for the week: 
How do you say no to donation requests? That’s a hard but necessary thing to learn in a small town. You can’t say yes to them all, so you need a plan to say no to some. We have a hot discussion going on it here

Keep making your town better,