We sometimes get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we overlook the obvious. On my morning drive to work last week, I received a call from a client. He wanted to discuss a business opportunity involving the purchase of an office space in Lakewood Ranch. As I listened to him explain the details of the transaction, I found myself struggling to focus; my heart began to race, my palms were sweaty — something wasn’t right. What was I suffering from? Perhaps it was the early signs of the flu or maybe an early morning caffeine deficiency.
No, this was something much worse: road rage.
I was astonished. You see, I wasn’t commuting to downtown Bradenton or even Sarasota; I was in Lakewood Ranch. As I tried my hardest to maintain my composure during the conversation, I noticed but a few of the culprits. Commercial trucks carrying materials and supplies to local construction sites filled the roads. Snowbirds tried their best to beat the crowds as they headed toward their favorite breakfast hotspots. Surrounded by a sea of countless fellow commuters, we jockeyed for position in an attempt to make it on time. And that’s when it hit me — I was not only blinded by the hustle and bustle, but I was looking at things all wrong.
The signs are all around us, from the companies that have recently made Lakewood Ranch their corporate headquarters to the existing companies based in the Ranch that have outgrown their space and are expanding and the new businesses that will soon be moving onto Main Street. It’s not only encouraging but also exciting to see measurable growth occurring again in our community. As crazy as it may sound, we should be thankful that multiple construction projects are going on simultaneously, and that our snowbird friends are back, both of which contribute positively to our local economy.
This brings me to the reason for sharing my experience with you — and the very point of my message.
Have you heard the saying, “As within, so without?” Or perhaps, “Our life is what our thoughts make of it?” With so many signs of encouragement, why do we waste time and energy engaging in negative thoughts and conversations? Yes, we have seen challenging times, and yes I, too, have been involved in the discussions centered on questions such as, “Do you think we’ve hit the bottom yet?” or, “Do you think it’s going to get worse before it gets better?”
But I challenge you: Look for the positive signs that are often found right in front of you, perhaps in the midst of an episode of road rage. Ask yourself how you can affect positive change here in our community. Economic recovery begins with our state of mind; it begins with you and me. We must not squander our time on that which we cannot change but instead align our thoughts toward our vision.
What better place than here, and what better time than now?
Brian Volner, a senior vice president at Community Bank & Company, is the chairman of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.