Concentrating Our Efforts;
Itís encouraging to see so many recreationists getting involved these days in the land use/public lands access battles. In fact, now we face a time when some of us old land use horses are starting to sag under the burden of doing this so long. We canít afford to lose any of our activists to burnout, so Iíve come up with a cure to keep our fighters fighting.
found that a key to avoiding burnout and staying effective is to narrow
your focus; concentrate your efforts.
I like to think of our land use battles as a quail hunt. You ever hunted quail? Well,
a typical hunt consists of hours of walking, wearing yourself out, then
all of a sudden blazing away at a flurry of birds, usually missing most of
them. The only one who gets
any enjoyment out of this is your dog Ė who canít stop dog-laughing at
your new-found state of frustration.
land use battles have reached such a flurry that many of us donít know
where to start. So we take
the shotgun approach. We try
to get in all the games. Of
course, we want to help out all our partners in other states; other
regions; other clubs. So we
assist with letters, phone calls, emails, etc.
Pretty soon we have an extensive little filing system that may
cover many subjects and many letters and many meetings.
Then all of a sudden, we realize weíre up to our ears!
hey, what about that lawn that needs mowing?
And that car (4wheeler?) that needs detailing; the significant
other that is tired of you being at the computer half the night; and the
trails that need riding? Next
thing you know, burnout sets in. There
are just too many battles to fight and soon you begin to drop off in
friend of mine told me once that in his mind, this tactic of having too
many battlefronts is JUST WHAT OUR OPPONENTS WANT.
Just like in military maneuvers; if you spread the battle lines
thin, pretty soon youíll find a way to penetrate and overwhelm the
STOP! If youíre a land use activist whoís been doing MORE than your
share, itís time to concentrate your efforts, increase your
effectiveness and avoid burnout. Hereís
some ways to do that.
Step: Re-affirm your
commitment to fighting the land use battles.
We all need to keep fighting the good fight.
You canít let burnout take you out of the battle.
Every letter we write; meeting we attend; run we run; new member we
recruit; we make a difference. People
we keep in the fight, no matter what their role, we make a difference in
the outcome. So STAY IN THE FIGHT. Tell
yourself youíre going to do your part; just maybe a different part from
here on. Thatís ok.
Step: Decide what youíre really good at.
Are you a letter-writer; a meeting person; an advisor to others; a
volunteer leader who organizes others; a writer in general; or just
someone who wants to give money and stay in the background?? Find your niche. This
may take some soul searching.
all of us like to write letters, but we want to help. Not all of us can lead a run or meet face to face with some
bigwig bureaucrat and feel comfortable doing it. Not all of us can take the time to attend all these seemingly
endless meetings; but we still are interested in many of the meeting
topics. The answer is to
narrow your efforts and focus on those things you can be good at (your
Step: Drop those things youíre not good at.
Yes, itís like the old management system called ďMonkey
ManagementĒ from the 1980ís.
In that system, everything on your chore list is a ďmonkey.Ē
Your objective is to either feed the monkey (keep it happy); get
rid of it (if itís not yours); or shoot it!
if your list of things to do, letters to write, meetings to attend, etc.
etc. is way longer than you can handle, (in other words some of those
monkeys just arenít yours or youíre not keeping them happy), GET RID
Step: Help others pick up what you need to drop. The sensible thing to do is to help someone else take over
those monkeys for you. Find
another activist to jump in where you left off (or never really got
started). Donít just leave
your partners hanging. If
folks are depending on you, find a way to transition out of something
youíre not good at by helping someone else pick up where you left off.
It may take some ďcards on the tableĒ talks, but thatís
better than letting something fall off the table.
Step: Focus your efforts on your niche.
Now that you know what monkeys you want to keep, and have gotten
rid of the rest, begin to focus. Concentrate
on getting really good at those things youíre now doing.
Make every effort count. Take classes if appropriate to improve
your chosen niche. Get
the paybacks. Make a
all need to be fighting the land use/public land access battles; but we
all donít need to fight all the battles.
We must find ways to avoid burnout in our fellow club members and
keep everyone doing their part. Of
course, this assumes weíre all already out their joining organized
recreation and recruiting new members every chance we get.
Thatís always a given. If
you follow these steps, I think youíll find we can stay in the fight and
make our efforts more effective.