This morning I had the pleasure of speaking to the Centerville Rotary Club about the work we have done over the past five months to support our business community. As I covered some of the milestones and pivot points of our efforts, I realized that whether it was business success stories, initiatives we led, or efforts we just helped spread the word about, the commonality was that “different made the difference.” And I’m not talking about the cliché’ different for the sake of standing out. I’m talking about the great intentionality to think and do things differently to create a different (and hopefully better) outcome. As we move forward as a community and as organizations, it is important to remember that if you wait for things to get back to “normal” you may just wait your life away. Things are changing, some temporarily, some permanently; and approaching change with an open-mind and “how can we make this work” mindset will prepare you to see what’s possible even if things never return to “normal.”

Last week, I wrote about school starting back ; and regardless what option parents choose, it is different, unfamiliar. What works for you may never work for me, and the same goes for how you run your business. Fear of the unknown is something none of us can afford right now, so I want to leave you with this encouragement. Dare to be different. Celebrate the difference in others, and support one another in the days and weeks ahead. Pressing forward requires us to embrace a different way of communicating and getting things done, but it sure beats the alternative of sitting still and waiting to see what happens.
So what can you do? There are many ways you can support local businesses and the chamber even if we can’t meet in person. Shop with local businesses in the store or online. Get dinner from your favorite restaurant in-person, pick-up, or delivery. Give a positive review online. Share a business’ post on social media. Pick up the phone and call someone you need to connect with. Attend the virtual meeting even if you’re sick of Zoom because it’s better than not getting the content at all. Even when it’s all different, there’s so much you can still do to make a difference. Will you dare to be different with us?