When I was in high school, I had an opportunity to travel with my parents and play tennis in Europe one summer. We started in the Netherlands and worked our way through countries like Germany and Switzerland, spending a few days training, playing matches and sightseeing in each city along the route. As a young tennis player, it was an amazing experience. I met phenomenal players from around the world, played matches in places that were awe-inspiring and challenging, and gained a better appreciation for diversity of cultures and how sports can bring people together, who might not even speak the same language.
While I don’t remember many specifics from the trip (it’s been more than 24 years), there’s one detail that I do recall vividly. We were visiting a city in Germany and walked into a building to try and find a map or something with a list of sights to see. As we walked in, there was a model of what the city would look like in 2020. Keep in mind, this was like 1994 and before our ability to “google” everything. What was so neat about the replica is that it showed where things like a new university would be built, where restaurants and retail would blossom, and where homes, parks, streets, and more would be developed. Everyone we talked to knew the master plan and could point out where renovations or construction would take place. It was inspiring to see a city with such vision. Citizens were on the same page and understood there would be short-term sacrifices, as the city strategically put resources into one area and then the next, for long-term gains that would benefit all.
As a city and as in life, it’s a combination of taking what comes at you and creating your own vision and opportunities. You’ll have businesses, like fast food restaurants and apartment complexes for example, which want to locate in your city; but just because they want to be there, doesn’t mean it fits your masterplan. You might have to go out and sell your city to get what you really want. You’ll have bad and good come your way personally, like the sad passing of my mother-in-law and then my brother and his family moving here recently, which is exciting. The hard part, yet the most important and rewarding is taking the time to set a vision and to craft a plan for your life and the New Year. As we look ahead to 2018, let’s take the time to write down our vision and set our plan. That way, we can be proactive in going to get what we really want versus waiting to see what will come our way. The more clear our vision, the easier it will be to make decisions and find ways to continually step closer to accomplishing our plan and fulfilling our dreams. So, here’s a wish for all of us to realize a dream in 2018!
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