Changing Colors

Fall, that time of year when we eagerly anticipate the changing colors on the trees and experience crispness in the air. While we may enjoy the beauty of the bright colors for a few weeks, once these leaves fall from their summer place of residence, the work of raking begins.

I’ve often wondered, how do trees feel about this process we call photosynthesis? After all, they put in a lot of effort in the spring to grow new leaves and endure the heat of summer to provide us shade. They face drought, lightning strikes and strong winds and, for the most part, remain firmly grounded. Then as the summer heat fades and the weather becomes more comfortable, their leaves change colors just before falling to the ground. They spend a few months looking rather dreary waiting for warmer weather so they can begin the process all over again. Trees seem to handle change quite well.

Each of us probably approaches change with differing attitudes and perceptions. Change can be exciting and yet disconcerting. 2017 has been a year of change for me. On January 12, I took on the responsibility of serving as Chief Executive Officer, and I have worked hard these past few months to grow leaves that provide shade and comfort for the employees and members of East Mississippi Electric Power Association.

The leaves I’ve worked to grow this year are excitement, encouragement and enlightenment, and while trees experience a changing of these leaf colors and eventually drop their leaves, my hope is to follow the evergreen tree’s example and hold on to them. I do not want to lose them but instead, add to their number.

Encouragement does not seem to come naturally to humans. We are so much better at finding the problems of the world and obstacles to solving them than we are the solutions. I’ve made a conscious effort this year to become better at encouraging those I encounter each day. I must admit, it takes a lot of work and it doesn’t come naturally. But something interesting has happened. The more I encourage others, the more they encourage me. Now I am beginning to see a forest of trees with encouragement leaves.

Enlightenment is another area I have focused on for my personal growth. By using the DiSC profile analysis, a behavior assessment tool designed by psychologist William Moulton Marston, and some training about the different characteristics we as human beings exhibit, I understand better how others view me and the need to work to communicate with them in a manner they understand. The DiSC profiles have also helped others in our organization gain a better understanding of themselves and others. The more we understand about what makes each of us tick, the better our organization will function and meet the needs of our members.

It has truly been exciting to serve in this role this year. Someone asked me the other day, “how are you liking your new job?” I responded that I am still showing up each day excited to be at work and leaving exhausted each evening. That is as it should be for all of us. My dad always told me, “If you aren’t happy going to work each day, you are doing the wrong work.” As always, he is correct, and I am so glad he encouraged me to join the EMEPA team so many years ago.

As you see the leaves change from green to bright colors to brown, I hope you will remember that we can choose to keep our green leaves of excitement, encouragement and enlightenment all year long and continue to make EMEPA the best it can be for many years to come.

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