This week, I was talking to Jessica from the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust. They’re our local 1% For The Planet donor, after all. She called to thank me for our #givingtuesday donation and answer any questions. In our conversation, she shared with me some of the history around the trail network that the CDLT has been able to develop throughout the Wenatchee foothills.
During her telling of the story, she mentioned how difficult it was initially to bring together all the various land owners who owned property where there are now trails. How folks back then had said it would be impossible to get everyone to agree, to come together and see the value of a local trail network. The proposed trails would cross all sorts of private property, from orchards to farms to rolling sage-covered hillsides.
Always, with change comes some fear.
Listening to Jessica, I thought of a question: What was the thing that led to their success in ultimately creating what is now the foothills trail system? Her reply brought a smile to my face. ‘Taking the time,’ she explained, ‘to build trust and relationships.’
Yep. I smiled because I had learned the value of that lesson years ago when I was the guy wanting to bring in a new line of business to REI. It made total sense to me and was a win-win for everyone. Why didn’t they all see it that way!? Over time and after doing a lot of reflection on that effort, I realized how much better my chances of success were if I took the time to, as Jessica shared, build relationships and trust. That meant I had to start prioritizing the little stuff. Like making time to just grab a coffee and catch up, or asking someone how their family was doing or about the vacation they just came back from and were still glowing over. In a lot of ways, the cool stuff.
Jessica’s answer was a good reminder it’s not just me. That the patience and acceptance of taking the time to get to know others is the way to go.