I imagine many of you, like me, watched closing arguments on the Chauvin trail this morning. I am so grieved. Almost unbearable. How do we make sense of this? Today is historic. What happens after these closing arguments will characterize who we are and what we stand for.
This was a weekend of thinking and deep conversations for me. On Saturday I was listening to my favorite podcast as I organized my garage. I felt compelled to write down something the speaker, Greg Boyd, said: “Choices become habits. Habits develop our character. And our character becomes our destiny. We become the decisions we make. Whatever we do, we get good at doing. We become solidified. In the end, we choose good because it is our character. We aren’t merely people who choose love. We are loving people. It’s our identity.”
Fast forward to a conversation I had with my son on Saturday evening. He is a 20-something young adult and college graduate, still trying to figure out his first steps in establishing a career. It’s scary stuff, and he doesn’t realize that this “bumping around in the dark” is part of the process. Indeed, it IS the work. He thinks he’s failing when, instead, he’s developing new habits. Growing. He’s inclined to retreat to what is comfortable, to a job he can easily understand, when he needs to push instead towards a career path with a future. He’s got to start building new habits. I shared with him Greg Boyd’s words and encouraged him: in order to build his character, a future he wants to solidify, he must begin the work. And beginning anything is painful. He must trust that stumbling isn’t failure; it’s part of the process. Context is everything.
On Sunday morning, then, I was reading the paper. More upheaval, overly empowered anarchists creating chaos out of tragedy, businesses are on tenterhooks. My heart felt heavy with the loss, upheaval, unrest, fear. Paradoxically, I also thought about all the work being done by good people to make this a better, more equitable, more caring community. Some people are choosing to tear down, while others are choosing to invest, encourage, support, reimagine.
And so I come full circle. I can choose too. Every day I am practicing new habits, advancing my thinking, my understanding. I can trust that the work we all are doing, though we, too, are “bumping around in the dark” at times, is building our collective character. And that character will solidify our shared future. Whatever we do, we can “get good at doing.” Let’s get good at doing community, inclusion, business development, youth investment, caring for one another.
Each of us can be more than merely a person who chooses to do good (read: sometimes). We can BE good. So, in a word, persevere!
See you in the trenches.
Last week’s update:
Dan Huff, of MDH, provided his weekly update on COVID-19 spread: case numbers are not going in the right direction. We are doing an amazing job of vaccinations, but positivity rate is now at 7%, up from 3.5% a month ago. Case count is growing among young people. The variants seem to be especially impacting youth and teenagers. The ask from MDH: we are in a tenuous place, and we need time to complete vaccinations. Please hunker down for another 6 weeks or so, to give vaccinations time to change the tide.
How are we doing regarding vaccinations?
PPP conformity: Senate has passed PPP tax forgiveness legislation; House is choosing to wrap it up in an omnibus bill that includes the Democratic tax increase proposal. So one is being held hostage by the other…. While the rest of us wait. Have an opinion? Please take time to visit our website, find your state representative, and ask them to get this done – before tax day comes and goes.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
Today is the final day to add your input to the latest Minneapolis Fed survey, which closes at the end of the day today.
March jobs report: Minnesota’s job recovery sped up in March with the addition of 21,600 jobs, pushing the state to its highest employment level thus far during the pandemic. We currently are at 4.2% unemployment rate, compared to 6.2% nationally (unemployment levels in Black community = 9%; Hispanic community = 7.7%). We lost 416K jobs since the pandemic began, have recovered approximately 225K. READ MORE
COVID-19 SBA Economic Aid Office Hours
Have questions about your options for economic aid from the SBA?
Please join the Minnesota District Office for a COVID-19 Economic Aid Office Hours, on April 21 at 2 p.m. where we will review:
And, finally: “Death of the office? Not so fast. Read more.
4. Cultivating Relationships
Here’s a thought for today: this past year has been isolating for so many of us. I don’t know about you, but my world has shrunk. A lot. I had coffee with a friend on Sunday that was really nice. I was reluctant to go, just because I tend to hibernate at home, but I’m glad I went. When I headed home again, I felt refreshed. So my challenge: if someone has been on your mind, take a chance and reach out. Invite him or her for coffee. Or a Zoom, if you prefer. Cultivate a new relationship. That person just may need to connect even more than you do!
5. Driving Progress
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a once-in-a-generation, visionary reinvestment. How is St Paul thinking about how best to capitalize on this opportunity? Council President Brendmoen and Council Member Noecker wrote an article for Sunday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press article, sharing their thoughts. The City is thinking strategically about how to use it collaboratively, equitably, towards the most lasting impact, and – key, I think – without creating spending “tails.” Worth a read: Brendmoen, Noecker: There’s a lot of money coming St. Paul’s way. Here are guiding principles for spending it.
6. Growing Leaders
Again, from Vistage (clearly, I like their stuff!): 6 traits every CEO should have in tough times and beyond.
7. Building Capacity
The value proposition for chambers of commerce is stronger than ever. The St. Paul Area Chamber is committed to supporting and partnering with other chambers and business associations in service to the employer community. Through our WorkStream Consulting Services, we provide professional association management services, to share services/costs/resources – all to ensure the network of chambers continues to grow and support you. Please give us a call if we can help. We’d love to!