Published On: Thursday, 23 May 2019

Saanich Peninsula Chamber: We Are Blind to Our Own Blindness

I recently collaborated with a group of Chamber members to develop a member recruitment brochure. And while I don’t recommend design by committee as a method for getting things done quickly, it was an illuminating and rewarding experience. One of the components of the collateral we created, was to list the member benefits we offer that are most meaningful to our members. Our biggest challenge initially was in narrowing the list down to the number of benefits that could fit on the brochure.

One of the reasons it is challenging for me to answer the question of why people might want to join our organization is because every one of our members has their own reason(s) for participating. When we asked some members the question recently about why they are members, the answers were as varied as I expected, and, more surprising than I anticipated. Whether it’s our staff and board thinking about our organization or our self-awareness as human beings, we are mostly blind to our faults, and to our brilliance.

I have written about the power of testimonials before. They can be compelling stories that speak to potential clients, or in our case, members. I was reminded of that, after making the difficult request of members to provide them for us. We are not wired to ask others to speak positively of us. And yet, what we received was so genuinely and generously provided, that I am beyond glad I asked.

It can be an incredibly humbling, instructive experience to hear the unvarnished truth from someone whose intent it is to be both honest and kind. The truth can be the juice that sparks you to continue what you are already successfully doing and it can send you in new and potentially more fulfilling directions. 

Give it a try. Find someone who has a useful frame of reference, whom you trust, to tell you the truth. Be prepared to hear that which might be difficult to hear. You might also receive surprising, wonderfully uplifting feedback that reaffirms your worth and the path you have chosen. Either will be a gift! 

Denny Warner is the Executive Director at the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.