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Ghosts & Legends: Overcoming Fears and Focusing on the Good

Updated: Apr 18

As humans, we all have fears that prevent us from trying new things.

In the same way, organizations can be held back by their fears of failure, negative experiences, and fixations on past mistakes. However, it is essential to understand that failure is part of the learning process and should not stop us from achieving our full potential. This is particularly true for associations, which rely on the emotional commitment of their members.

In the most recent episode of Membership IQ, I share a little bit about my first snorkeling experience. I’ll be honest — I panicked. I could not relax and enjoy the experience at all.

But by the third time I gave it a try, I had the absolute time of my life swimming alongside sea turtles. The moral of the story is that, sometimes, it takes time and practice to overcome our fears and focus on the positive.

As an association, it is essential to identify what is holding you back from reaching your full potential. This is where the “Ghosts and Legends” exercise comes in handy. The ghosts are negative experiences or fears that prevent an organization from moving forward. Associations need to acknowledge their ghosts, face them, and overcome them. It is only by doing so that they can learn from their failures and move on.

The legends, on the other hand, are the things that associations are proud of. They are achievements, successes, and positive experiences that bring joy and pride to members. Sometimes, associations are so focused on the day-to-day tasks that they forget to talk about their legends. It is crucial to bring these legendary stories to the forefront and celebrate them. It is only by focusing on the good that associations can inspire their members and build a strong community.

Membership is an emotional commitment. It is a relationship between the members and the organization, its mission, and the community. Associations need to understand this and be intentional about building positive relationships with their members. They need to learn from their fears and focus on the good to create a vibrant and engaged community.

The “Ghosts and Legends” exercise can be a powerful tool for associations to identify what is holding them back and what they are proud of. By acknowledging their fears and focusing on the good, associations can overcome their limitations, learn from their failures, and build a strong community. As I shared in the podcast, there are things that we try that don’t go so great the first time, but we have to keep trying and focus on the positive!


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