Next week is the 2020 presidential election. Politics have been a tad bit toxic during this election. That’s unlikely to change next week, regardless of who wins or loses.
That can be a depressing thought, especially as we head into winter. Seriously: We’ve had snow on the ground for a week already, and even here in Minnesota that’s not normal.
Never mind that we’re in the midst of an ongoing pandemic that seems to be getting worse.
Life can be a bit of a downer. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work to make things better.
Better Politics, Please
The title sums up my feelings—how can we make civics civil again?
The book seeks common ground by profiling 35 politicians on both sides of the aisle and trying to find something to celebrate even in people we disagree with.
That’s a tall order. As the book’s writer, I can tell you that I’m not a perfectly non-biased and impartial person. I have opinions. And I personally did not like all 35 of the people I profiled. Some of them annoyed me. Some of them let me down.
But in the process of researching and writing, I was still able to find something worthwhile to share. I may disagree on policy—sometimes vehemently—but I could still find something to cheer.
Work to Make Things Better
I bring this up not tell sell a book (though that’d be nice), but to talk about the importance of making your little corner of the world a better place to be.
That’s what I tried to do with Better Politics, Please. I looked around at how caustic and divided things are in politics and tried to share a different perspective. It’s hardly the final word on the matter and it’s highly unlikely it will change anything. But it’s still worthwhile.
For more than 15 years I ran Church Marketing Sucks, a blog dedicated to pointing out how terribly churches communicate and helping them do better. It’s true that churches can still be pretty bad at communication these days, but the thousands of blog posts and dozen books we created made a dent. The conversation changed and there’s a real effort to help churches. That little blog helped make that happen.
My little suburb of West St. Paul has a near-total lack of public art, especially compared to the vast wealth of public art in the surrounding Twin Cities. I always complained about that. But last year I decided to do something. I helped organize a sub-committee and we secured a grant and raised some matching funds and next week we’re installing a mosaic sculpture the community helped create.
There’s always more work to do, but it is possible to make a dark corner of the world a little brighter.
What Can You Do?
Your business or organization can make the world a better place. Two of these three examples were things I did as a professional as part of my job. The third was a volunteer gig, though several businesses supported the project.
Too often business and marketing is simply about the bottom line. It’s about making money. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that—in fact it’s kind of vital. But we can also make the world a better place while making that money.
Most businesses and organizations probably do that already. Maybe you don’t see being an accountant or selling tires as changing the world. But how you do that work can make an impact. (By the way, a tire shop in town donated to that art project, so yes, selling tires can make the world a better place.)
Whether you’re a butcher, a barber, or a banker, you can have an incredible impact on your community:
- Selling high quality cuts of meat and helping people learn how to cook fantastic meals can be transformative.
- Giving people really good haircuts can make their day. Plus barbershops are a wonderful hive of conversation and community connection.
- As someone who hates dealing with finances, having smarter people handle my money makes my life a lot easier. Plus loans and assistance to small businesses can impact countless lives.
Share Your Stories
Yeah, I’m a bit of an idealist (guilty as charged). But it can be easy to get down in the weeds and lose sight of how your work is making an impact. In these sometimes dreary days, it’s important to see the light.
Simply sharing those positive stories can do wonders. For you, for your team, for everyone else. If your company is doing good work and neglecting to talk about it, I can help.