I have the good fortune of escaping the inferno that is known as Texas to spend some time working from a quiet mountain town in Colorado. This morning, I am in a kayak on a crystal clear lake. The water is so still that you can see the mountains perfectly reflected. A friend shared a special inlet with me where I love to kayak. It is where the snowmelt makes its way through the Rocky Mountains down into the stream that pours into a crystal clear lake – the deepest in Colorado. There’s no way to make it into this inlet in the kayak at different times of the year because the current is too strong. However, this is the perfect time – with enough water to keep the kayak from bottoming out, but it still requires effort to paddle upstream.
After struggling against the current and carefully steering the kayak down the middle of the inlet, I encounter a bridge that forces me to lay flat while paddling to make it under. Despite my lack of athleticism, I persist and eventually reach a small, secluded cove surrounded by majestic mountains, beautiful aspens, and the occasional moose. After taking in the splendor of the cove, the way back out of the inlet is easy and fun. The current slingshots me out at a speed four times as fast as I was able to get in. The end of the inlet requires major attention because the current can send you on one of two paths. The way you want to go is directly into the lake – a smooth, straight shot. The other, less desirable route takes you directly into the rocks.
Sad to say, I’ve taken both routes based on how much I was paying attention and paddling. There are so many analogies here, but I’m thinking today about how The Policy Circle is a place for people who paddle upstream – willing to make an effort. It is a community of women willing to leave the serenity and ease of the lake behind because they are not satisfied with the status quo and feel compelled to do more. They put in the time and energy to get informed by reading Policy Briefs, watching TPC programs, and asking thoughtful questions. They exert real effort through the CLER program and build the skills they need to be civic leaders.
Our community attracts women who see the challenges (bridge) and are willing to take some risks and go for it. TPC is here to boost that confidence – we help guide our members through the challenges, provide encouragement, and happily go under or over the obstacles together.
Sometimes, it gets discouraging when we see people and organizations who are content riding the currents of discontent, fear, and anger. This route is often swift and satisfying – especially for those more furious and less curious. Many candidates and groups raise significant money and secure national attention by riding these waves of discontent, but will they last? Do they actually put forth effort and solve problems?
I cannot help but wonder how many of these folks will find that the current takes them into the rocks and what damage will be done along the way. For now, I will enjoy this kayaking adventure and take satisfaction from the fruit of our labor at The Policy Circle – all this effort is for the long haul and 100% worth it.
CEO, The Policy Circle