I have been watching and listening to guest presenters at our club meetings for literally years. Almost without exception the guest has commented on the Optimist Creed once the club has recited it in unison. Comments over the years have included, “that’s amazing”, “I love your creed”, “your creed is so special and meaningful”. One comment that has been offered more than once and has stuck with me over the years is the comment, “If only we all lived that, we would all be better people”. They are even more impressed when we present them with our symbol of gratitude for their presentation in the form of a coffee mug with the creed embossed on the back of it in gold.
It is from this casual comment of a guest or so that when offered the opportunity to present a theme I chose, “Promise yourself…to live the creed”.
As Optimists we have dedicated our lives and our free talents to the betterment of others. We have shared ourselves through mentoring, working, speaking, and doing. We make promises to everyone in our family, our workplace, our community, and our neighborhood. But how many of you actually make promises to yourself? Why would you suppose the creed starts with, “Promise Yourself”?
I believe the guest who has provided us with our theme this year actually believes a person who lives by this creed will actually become a better person. I know that I believe a person who lives by this creed will become a better person. I think of how many different ways this better person would present themselves. I know that as a previous supervisor and employer, a neighbor, and a taxpayer that I want to see a person who is so strong that nothing can disturb their peace of mind. I know I enjoy being with a person who always talks health, happiness and prosperity. I want to work with someone who works only for the best and then expects only the best. I want to be with a person who is enthusiastic about the success of others. To forget the mistakes of the past is to me the vision of Brett Favre throwing a touchdown minutes after he sets a new conference record for interceptions.
I have found strength in these words, especially in my business world. So often in larger bureaucratic organizations, competition is so fierce for promotion and status that the ongoing practice of back stabbing has become common place and almost an expected ritual amongst colleagues. How much better would the work place be if each person were just as enthusiastic about the success of others as they were about their own? The upside of that is, if you find someone doing so well, tag along, learn, watch and listen. If they are doing well they know something you may not yet have learned. All too often those celebrating the success of others soon find themselves celebrating their own successes.
Let me take the choice of theme and the reintroduction of shirts into our annual celebration here and explain them further. When I was recently in St. Louis attending training for Governors Elect, I took the opportunity to ask one of the organizational officers if Optimist International had an official color. The response was no there is no official color so to speak. I was perplexed since I had always seen the banners in purple and gold and many of the award vests and achievement patches. Still the answer was no.
My response to that was a decision to make this year’s shirts and logo purple and gold. If you encourage others as well as yourself to live the creed then be proud and stand out as being the banner bearing our creed. Our banners are purple and now you, too, may stand out in a crowd to live the creed and show others how it is done.
Why live the creed? It will make you a better person. People will see your commitment and those successes brought about by your abilities to live the creed. People enjoy being with others who are successful, happy, optimistic. Those people may become so happy being with you they may want to join in with the source of your creed and join an Optimist Club. You become a living and breathing symbol of the success experienced by one that has chosen to live the Optimistic way of life and “…to live the creed”.