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Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Power of Forgiveness

The other day I had to forgive someone for something they did that offended me. I have been on both sides of the spectrum. There are times when I have had to ask someone to forgive me as well. It is a humbling measure that keeps things in balance. No one is always right or without mistake no matter how together they may seem. Besides it is human nature to do things that are common to you that may be uncommon to others. The very act of doing what seems perfectly fine to you may in itself offend someone else unintentionally.

Forgiveness is a tool that when utilized can help heal, mend, and repair broken relationships. Any amount of healthy communication is going to involve forgiveness at some point. Have you ever been in an offensive situation at the office, school, or at home? It alters the work environment, class situations, and daily living. You tend to do everything you can to avoid or stay away from people that offend you.

From the work place to family life, forgiveness can be a key to remaining healthy and keeping your business and or the community healthy. Offenses come in a variety of ways. When masked or not dealt with they tend to fester into other less manageable situations that leave people hurt, scarred, and alienated for years.
Studies have been done more recently that highlight the physical impact of unforgiveness. Health researchers (from Mayo Clinic) have defined forgiveness as a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of the action of revenge.
Forgiveness lessens the stronghold of the offense and gives the individual that hurt you less power to manipulate your life and well being. Everyone benefits from one person’s decision to forgive.

How many people do you know that are still holding a grudge against someone else? They carry that baggage from year to year and build a wall that won’t allow them to communicate with certain people without intervention by individuals who understand the need for a change.

Forgiveness needs to happen on several levels within our own community. It needs to happen in our homes, and at our places of employment.
What would happen if in a small town like Anderson people would begin to forgive each other? Forgive each other for past wrongs, for offenses at work or between companies or employees, and for offenses committed between feuding families. What if instead of talking to others about the individual that hurt you, you went to them with your offense?

If I could start an epidemic that was far reaching it might just be that somehow I influence you and others to forgive more often. It is a challenge that would cost us all something, but the benefits far outweigh the cost.

Does Anderson need its own Convention Center?

Every city has a heart!

In architecture my desire is always to find a building’s heart. Finding the heart means finding the thing that makes the building unique, its signature, something that gives it presence, its soul. The guiding principles that lead me are executable anywhere there is a need for a plan or blueprint. From conceptualization to a tangible facility the theme that drives design and gives a building life is its ability to showcase its heart.

There is a life-giving force in every community. This is a force that stands out as a rallying point for people to believe in and stand behind. A place where regardless of contrary influences proves out to be self-sustaining and beneficial to the livelihood of its citizens.

What is it for our community!? Is it Anderson University or Hoosier Park? Is it downtown Anderson or the west side? How about the Interstate 69 corridor or Scatterfield Road or even our school system or our churches? Is it our current and past professional athletes, musicians, or our location to Indianapolis? Or maybe it is our past? What is the center of our community? I would like to offer some food for thought.

What if our local mall was that rallying place? Not as it exists, but with the addition of a convention center, a conference center, or meeting halls. As a place where a joint effort between our local university/ Church of God and Hoosier Park teamed up to bring together the two distant anchors of Scatterfield Road? It might just be the place where this community starts to rally as it takes on the Goliath of everything that represents the past.

There is a need for a rallying breakthrough. Yes, of course we need jobs, but what about national companies acknowledging that we shop at their stores by investing in our community. Do you remember when Starbucks came to town? I rarely go there, but I remember thinking “Anderson has a Starbucks” — really?!

A food and beverage tax of 1 percent was initially started to build a convention center downtown. The effort failed! The money ($500,000 to $1 million raised annually) now goes toward economic development in our community. Convention centers need a collective body of activities surrounding them to be viable. Market studies have been done for downtown.

I wonder what a study with the mall as its location would yield. With an $8 million to $12 million price tag it would have to be a joint effort financially, but could benefit this community with business conferences, church conventions, potential hotel development, national retailers, car shows, semi pro teams, Colts and Pacers rallies, just to name a few activities.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts

When is the last time you have taken inventory of your life?

I have been evaluating at a bare minimum what it takes to equal my personal goal of success. Success means different things for different people. Regardless of what it means to you the journey isn't without obstacles whether growing a business, advancing at your work place, overcoming insurmountable odds, silencing your critics, or simply finishing a project.

When was it that you last looked at what is most important to you and measured your progress as related to where you want to be in life? I have encountered a number of what I would consider failures. Those failures have represented mile markers of change in my life. Along with those failures, I have also been fortunate enough to enjoy success, accomplishment, and completion of goals that I set for myself in certain areas.

In a broad perspective, determination is the key to success. It represents the focus and persistence it takes to achieve anything worth working toward. Determination takes courage. When the odds and or situations have mounted themselves against you the courage to remain focus and exercise discipline will always yield positive results. If there is anything that I have been exposed to as a result of writing this column it has been the society of individuals in this community who have been scared by failure. The wounds run so deep that their view of the world has become so skewed that they are critical of anyone with hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Failure is inevitable at times. It ties itself to bad decisions, but determination is the pathway back to success. When this community does reach its goal of success it will be because of individuals who acknowledged the problem but remained determined to find and follow the way of a solution. To have a vision of promise there has to be a goal or a target for achievement. You canĂ­t hit the mark that is in front of you if you spend all of your time looking back.

The boundaries that failures set are kept together by our memories of what those failures represent. Success sees beyond the failure and looks at every conceivable option to get from point A to point B. With every new day there ought to be more opportunity to gain new perspective. Instead of focusing on what we don't have it is much more advantageous to focus on what we have and utilize it as best they can. Determine to make the best of your day and don't stop until you accomplish your goal. Winston Churchill once said Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.