Every week there are meetings and discussion groups happening all around us. Ideas are being hammered out, and decisions are being made with and without our individual input. In many cases the “without” is a good thing. How many people really need to be involved in the discussion of changing a stop sign to a stop light for example. But many of the issues and ideas that get discussed could be of interest to you, and maybe you do want a say in how that intersection works. Unfortunately, there is a limited resource which we all have called time. How we divide it up between our families, our work, and our hobbies can leave limited amounts of this precious commodity to spend on special interests. Special interests are the behind the scenes players that affect the main three characters of our lives; family, work, hobby.
Let’s be honest. We don’t have time to be involved in everything. It really is that simple, and it is okay. There can be moments however where special interests and family, work, or hobby may intersect. For me, labor and political activism come together with my work life during breaks and lunch with my fellow brothers and sisters on the job. If they would let me, and I would soapbox about an issue everyday. I limit myself to speaking out with everyone once or maybe twice a week. During this weekly soapbox, I present my personal abbreviated minutes from the most recent union meeting and or talk about contract or safety issues.
It is in this moment that a number of things are occurring. By limiting the number of times I speak, I am giving the speech more importance and heightening the sense of value for those receiving the message. Who wants to listening to someone speak out everyday during their lunch break anyway? I’ll be the first to ask you, seriously, please don’t interrupt my lunch everyday! The members that are actually listening are learning about what is happening, and it is kindling their interest, potentially arousing them to spend some of their precious time on being involved. In the long term, it is also helping me personally to become a better leader and public speaker.
Consider how limited our time is outside of our daily lives of work. If you cannot attend those meetings that seem to just keep happening, how can you find out what is going on, or speak about them yourself during your lunch breaks? Maybe you don’t have to attend those meetings to get the information. What if there was a place that you could go to read, print, or download redacted minutes from the meetings that have drawn your interest? Our lives are too busy, and we trudge along in the dark on so many issues. Maybe if we can put our minds together we can provide a space where redacted minutes can be uploaded by those with the time, and shared by those without.