Thursday, April 30, 2009

Taking Credit

Sitting in a meeting the other day, I heard an individual state that he had been here nearly 10 years, had served on some committees, and that Durham had finally really “turned around.” He said it as a way of dismissing some decisions made 20 years ago as antiquated.

It made me cringe because frankly, everything we see being done today is due to the framework established decades ago. In fact, what we’re doing today--while more visible--may be cosmetic compared to all the great things done through the decades that made Durham what it is by laying the groundwork for transformation. He isn’t the first person I’ve heard paint himself as the cavalry riding to the rescue of Durham. He obviously doesn’t exemplify one of Durham’s deep brand values…unpretentiousness.

It also reminded me that we’re all human and we sure can sound stupid at times.

With my retirement (I call it repurposing) a little over 8 months away, people have being saying some very kind and generous things to me and it would be easy to take it as credit. But while I believe this organization has worked long and hard to fulfill its role as a change agent, especially the part about driving demand to make improvements sustainable…I really can’t personally or even organizationally take credit for anything. I did my job. I did it with passion. I didn’t back down. I didn’t give up.

But credit? That’s a word that would fall on far too many other shoulders…

Anything I’ve done has been part of a team effort with deep respect for Durham’s inherent and historical nature. A community doesn’t rise and fall with the actions of an individual or a group. It is the synergy of many, many individuals and groups, all fulfilling their role over many, many years.

I say and believe that, not because I don’t have an ego. Believe me I’m reminded often that I do. I make the statement, because guys making statements like this remind me, that we all need to be a little more humble and just a little less assuming.

As you know I dabble in genealogy. I’ve been surprised to find several lines of my heritage on both sides that go back to kings and nobles of Wales, England, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Turkey…even an emperor or two in both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires.

Shows you how much the gene pool thinned out by the time it got to me. :)

And I smile because my parents loved each other deeply but they were also as different as night and day. And if they knew they are more related than they think, whew! Well I guess that’s why there is some mutation, at least in male genes.

But it has also taught me incredible respect for the unpretentious people my parents, grandparents, great and great, great grandparents were. They left those countries, many to flee religious persecution, only to find some of the same on this continent. They fought in wars, not as knights as their ancestors did but as regular folks. They built cities. They went west, colonized and homesteaded farms and ranches and built businesses.

But to them, they were just doing their job and not for a second did they think that sitting on a few committees or solving a problem or two had turned the world around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You go Reyn! You have said it.