by Larry Parman
“Stymied”. Golf historians – or those of us old enough to have played by these rules – remember its impact. First, the lesson. The scene: two golfers are playing in a match play tournament. The winner is determined by who wins the greatest number of holes rather than the lowest total score for the round. Assume both players are putting. There were occasions, even strategies, where your ball would sit directly in line between your opponent’s ball and the hole, thus blocking your opponent’s opportunity to sink his putt. Players became very creative at overcoming this obstacle. The practice was eliminated from the rules of golf in the early 1950s.
The point is not golf. The point is, I was stymied…mentally blocked in my commitment to write this article. Could not think of anything I thought would be of interest or value to members. So, I was late in submitting it. Out of integrity. I heard myself saying, “Larry, just start writing.” It did not happen. Then, as I was working with a client on a business issue she was facing, it occurred to me.
She was struggling with her ‘Why’. Not her ‘How’ or ‘What’. Her ‘Why’. She was stymied.
Why are we members of this great Club 29? To be seen, to network with others; to be thought well of; for the great lunches; for fellowship and connection; for the opportunity to hear great speakers share their experiences and what is making a difference in their lives; perhaps to feel we are part of an organization making a significant impact on other people’s lives.
The likely answer is ‘Yes’ to most, if not all, of those reasons.
Our individual contribution to Club 29 is strengthened when we pause to consider why we chose Rotary membership. Most religious organizations frequently repeat a creed during every service. It serves as a re-affirmation of belief. Rotary International has the 4-Way Test, an ethical guide to apply in our personal and professional lives. We should not forget our Why.
On the Rotary website (https://my.rotary.org/en/learning-reference/about-rotary/strategic-plan),
we see this aspirational declaration for the organization:
“Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves:
We can hitchhike on those powerful words and create our own Why for membership in Club 29. A re-affirmation of belief in Rotary. You know how we sometimes become self-absorbed, wrapped up in our own ambitions, our own problems and difficulties that it’s as if the outside world doesn’t exist? Rotary re-connects us with a world larger than ourselves; a world where people do come together and through action create the possibility of making a difference in the lives of others. That’s my Why.
Rotary International proclaims its Why. If each club and each member proclaim theirs and live into it, we will continue to enjoy a growing, thriving club that shows up in people’s lives far beyond great lunches, great programs and great members.