“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” These words come from Helen Keller who famously challenged us Lions at Cedar Point, Ohio back in 1925 to become the Knights of the Blind.
As I have visited clubs around the district over these past months, all I can say is wow. You Lions are pretty incredible, and you do such amazing things. And most importantly, you make such a difference to your communities. It’s pretty remarkable that Lions are still such a well-kept secret. Our stories are so powerful. Who wouldn’t want to be part of what we do?
But that’s the key – the story. Are you telling your story? It’s not something we Lions do well. We tend to tell about meetings, pancake breakfasts, chicken barbecues, ticket and broom sales, and vision screenings. But Lions is so much more than that. It’s about why we do these things. It’s that feeling you get inside when you are helping someone, when you know you are making someone’s life better, when you know that every single dollar you raise will be used to support those in need. And we all have stories about how we’ve been touched as Lions in seeing our hard work pay off and help others. Have you shared your story with others as you tell them about Lions? These stories are positive, inspirational, and help people see the difference we make and perhaps make them want to join our mission.
Norman Vincent Peale was an American author and clergyman who became known for popularizing the concept of positive thinking. His book, The Power of Positive Thinking, helps people tackle day-to-day problems and still inspires many to believe in themselves and succeed. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “If you put off everything till you’re sure of it, you’ll get nothing done.” I think the reason I relate to this quote is because I am a planner, but at some point you have to start doing something to see results. A plan doesn’t bring results on its own it’s just a plan.
So…. As Lions, for the rest of this year, let’s adopt a positive mindset. Let’s focus on opportunities instead of problems. We all have challenges as clubs and individual Lions, but these challenges present us with opportunities…. Let’s focus on those opportunities. Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, wrote a book called Positivity where she said, “Making small changes in the ways you appreciate and frame the events of your day can turn positivity on…you have more say than you think about whether you feel positivity or negativity and when.” Similary, Zig Ziglar, the famous salesman and speaker, once said, “Your attitude not your aptitude will determine your altitude.”
As we approach this season of hope and good will, let’s focus on what’s going right, not what’s going wrong. Instead of trying to find out why some things are not going well, why not reverse that and try to find out why the things that are going well are doing so good? Do those give us any ideas we can apply to the things that are not going so well?
Here’s an idea for an upcoming meeting. Do a roundtable discussion with your club. Ask everyone to tell the story of the best project they’ve been a part of as a Lion and their role in that project, ask them what made it so great? It’s a great way to reflect on past successes, let new Lions learn about past projects, and find out what members enjoy. Learn to share your stories, practice telling them, discuss the value of the projects and who benefitted rather than just describing the project itself – share the impact it had. It should be an inspirational meeting!
As a final thought, Norman Vincent Peale also said that, “There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”