If You Want My Time and Treasure

Rural regions abound with the enterprising. I have a personal reason for exploring the problems of rural regional economic development as we’re doing in the Building a Region series on Handshake 2.0.

I have been operating my company not just with an attempt to serve the greater good, but with particular attention to serving the local good.

I concur profoundly with Morrie Schwartz – written about by Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson - who, upon being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, began making highly conscious decisions about how he would spend his last days.

He chose what mattered.

Based on genetics and health factors – I have a twenty-five year-old daisy wheel dot matrix printout from a health service reporting  I’ll live to be 83.3 years old – I anticipate 25 more years of full-tilt, passionate work life.

To what cause, enterprise, or undertaking shall I give those years?

Currently, regional economic development has the best effort of my heart, mind, time, and treasure.  I see the growth of my company and the growth of the local economy as interrelated and interdependent.

And yet. 

If rural regional economic development initiatives want the time and treasure of this local company founder, what regional economic development is, how it will be achieved, and how we'll know when we've gotten there all need to be very clear.

If not, regional economic development will ultimately receive my best wishes, but not my time and treasure.  I won’t give my last days to amorphous rhetoric, however well-intentioned.

I want to give my days to what matters.

Photo credit:  Jennifer Greger

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