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90th Anniversary

#71: Stop! Look! Listen!

by Marcia Merrins

Dear League Leaders,

There are things we know for sure are going to happen. Winter turns to spring (finally),  to summer, to fall, to winter.   There are  biological, weather cycles that allow you to accurately anticipate the future. You understand cyclical change and use it often, even if you are not aware of it. There are also League cycles which are highly predictable.

There is another kind of change that is not cyclical. For example,if you are using a cell phone or portable phone, you will not go back to a rotary dial.   No! This is non-cyclical change that has a profound impact.  Think about how this one fact has changed the way we run Leagues.

Knowing this, what if you could predict the challenges your League will face and stop them from occurring? Impossible? Hardly. You can solve tomorrow’s problems…today. You simply have to know what you’re certain about. 

Stop, Look, Listen

Stop: As change accelerates, the tendency is to work faster. But rather than speed up, we need to slow down, stop, and think. Put aside all your problems temporarily. Make the decision to devote some time, on a regular basis, to become anticipatory.

Look: Make a list of cyclical and non-cyclical changes you know about. What are the problems you are not having today, but will have in the next three to six months? The next one to three years? Those are the problems you need to solve. To get ahead of the curve, shift your focus from solving today’s problems to solving tomorrow’s problems before they happen.

Listen: What is certainty telling you about those future problems and ways to approach them? Listen to clues lying just outside your range of vision. As you learn more about how to use certainty and foresight, solutions will appear almost instantly.

When I talk with League leaders about becoming anticipatory, they often say, "That sounds fascinating—but we don’t have time to think about the future. We’re too busy dealing with today!" Of course they’re busy. We’re all busy. There will never be a time when we’re not busy—which is why we keep flailing about in our uncertainties.

Nobody has time to explore the future. The only way it will happen is if you make time for it. You will find it to be time well spent!




Marcia A. Merrins
LWVUS Board of Directors
Trainings and Meetings Chair

716-672-5472 FAX



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