What Difference Do You Make

by Kevin MacDonald
As one of the leaders of your chapter, what difference do you make?

My job as a coach is to help my clients gain clarity around their goals and then gain awareness about how they can reach them or reach them quicker. I have a game that some club managers are participating in that really helps them to gain this awareness. One of the lessons in the game is that our success is greatly impacted by the environments that we put ourselves in. For a club manager, CMAA is an environment.
Of the seven environments that we talk about in the game there are three environments that membership in CMAA has the ability to enhance dramatically. They are the relationship environment, the network environment and the memetic environment.

The first two are pretty obvious. For some people they will, by the end of a career, build some of their strongest friendships from the relationships they build through an association. Secondly the connections that can be made to support a career or get information or support club members needs are amazing. I would like you to consider the power of the third environment that I mentioned. The memetic environment is really
about the concepts, ideas and information that is assessable to us. Club managers have so many ways to change a memetic environment. They can read articles and books, they can take courses, go to seminars, learn from leaders and peers, work with a coach, use Clubnet as a resource and on and on. There are so many ways to access information, consider ideas and find information.

Over the holidays I read two books. I read “Me to We” by Craig and Marc Kielburger and “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

I was very moved by “Me to We” which is a brilliant book where two young men talk about the power of taking the focus off ourselves and being of service to others. This is hardly a new concept to people in the club management field but the example that these two young men are setting for youth and people of all ages is inspirational.

Craig Kielburger at the age of 12 loved to read comic strips in the newspaper. One day he picked up the paper and read a headline of a child laborer in Pakistan, also 12, who had been murdered. He hadn’t been aware of child labor and he barely knew where Pakistan was but he wanted to find out about it. He did research and asked university students to help by researching in the university library. He was so upset by the stories of children forced into bonded labor that he decided he needed to do something. Craig approached his classmates and friends to help and together they founded an organization called “Free the Children”.  That was 10 years ago. Now at the ripe old age of 22 Craig is the chair of Free the Children, an international children’s charity that has improved the lives of over one million young people in 35 countries. He was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and is the recipient of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Medal and the State of the World Forum Award. He attends the University of Toronto where he is pursuing a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. He has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mark Kielburger is a Harvard Graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and Oxford-educated lawyer. He co-founded Leaders Today in 1998 with his brother, Craig. Its programs, which provide leadership training to young people, reach over 250,000 youth annually. The thing that struck me about Marc and his parents was that when he was starting his last year of high school he was bored and told his parents that he didn’t want to spend another year in school. Knowing that he was an excellent student they agreed that he could leave school with the understanding that he would attend night classes and volunteer during the day. He agreed and volunteered his time tutoring street kids at a downtown shopping mall. He was hoping to educate them but found that he was the one getting the education. He didn’t know that there were kids who had parents that didn’t take care of them or worse actually harmed them. He thought every kid grew up in a loving environment like he and his brother did.

Now you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with club management and the leadership of a chapter. I guess for me it is challenging. It challenges the way we think about things. It challenges what we believe in terms of the difference that one person can make. It challenges us to think and play bigger. It challenges us to reconsider the view we have of people who are young or don’t have much experience. I know for me personally it challenges me to reach out to the association and support more people this year.

The Alchemist is a book that proposes that everyone has a purpose or a personal legend that they were meant to live. The story is told in the form of a parable and follows a young shepherd boy who is given some insights, signs and harsh lessons on the way to finding his treasure. His journey was not unlike the journey that many club managers have on their career paths.

As a one of the leaders of your chapter it is possible to change your memetic environment by reading and learning, engaging in conversation and having an open mind. These environments can support you to be a better manager, chapter leader, parent, mentor or coach. I would also challenge you to consider yourself as a memetic environment for people in your chapter. You have the ability to make a difference by supporting them in achieving their goals or helping them with the insights, signs and lessons they encounter along the way. Please contact me if I can support any of your chapter members or if I can support you in supporting them.

P.S. If you are going to make a difference in your chapter or your association, why not make a big one?

Kevin MacDonald
Clarity Success Coaching
Contact Kevin by phone at 604-507-1288
Or send your question to him via email
[email protected]

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