I’m getting off my rear end!

Shelly Gibson

Shelly Gibson (LL ’14), chief legal officer/general counsel, Thorntons Inc.

by Shelly S. Gibson, Leadership Louisville Class of 2014 –

A few years ago, one of my best friends from childhood, Jennifer, moved back to Kentucky after about 15 years of living in various far-away states.  After seeing each other only on rare occasions, Jennifer proposed that we find a regular activity to do together. We agreed to start walking once a week before work.  I quickly realized that I have the time and my family is just fine without me for that weekly, early morning hour. Sometimes life gets in the way, such as travel, a nasty cold, or last winter’s polar vortex.  However, we manage to get past those obstacles and pick up where we last left off – a morning walk between friends committed to spend time together.

During our walk last week, Jennifer told me that she was going to a conference – actually, museum camp.  I was intrigued, because it sounds like way more fun than the legal seminar conferences I attend.  By the time she told me that everyone sleeps on the museum floor, that the showers are two blocks away at a local gym, and that she had homework to do before she even gets to the conference, my legal conferences didn’t sound so bad after all.  Then, she told me about her homework.   She has to study and write about how art can be used to incite passion within people and a community to tackle societal issues.  Interesting!  From there, we started discussing how exactly you get people who know of problematic issues in their communities to get off their rear ends and actually do something about it.  So many good people know about problems and issues, but they continue to go about their daily lives leaving those problems and issues for someone else to fix.  If everyone does that, nobody tackles those issues.  How do you incite passion for action?

I’m wondering how do I incite that passion within myself?  I spent 10 months going through the Leadership Louisville program, loving every minute of it.  I want to be a leader within our community; yet, our class graduated two months ago and I still haven’t dedicated myself or my time to a particular cause.  How do I get off my rear end?!

Perhaps I can take a lesson from my regular walks with Jennifer.  I just need to commit!  I just need to tell someone that I’ll be there.  I don’t have to commit a ton of time.  I have to accept that sometimes work and life will get in the way.  However, I just need to commit that I will dedicate regular time to a cause, a project, an issue within our community.

With Jennifer away at her conference this coming week, I have about a week and a half until our next early morning walk and talk.  Knowing her as I do, she will come back all pumped up with some great ideas.  I want her to know that she has already spurred my passion for action.  This week, I commit to making some phone calls, choosing a project, and telling someone that I’ll be there.

 

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