Aim to be yourself instead striving for perfection


Can I view the world from your perspective?

No. I can come close, but I can’t completely see it as you do because we do not have the same past. We may have many similar experiences and even some shared experiences, but we will both have our own views that keep us from the exact same results.

How about some updates on this week before I finish my thoughts on how not seeing things exactly the same makes us better.

The Indiana General Assembly should convene around Jan. 5. I say should because with COVID, things are quick to change. This is an odd-numbered year, which means they will be tackling the budget.

I share this information because Accelerate Indiana Municipalities provided local elected officials a chance to sit down and chat with state officials. We covered many different topics during our Zoom meeting and I believe helped them understand our point of view as local officials. I will take this moment to wish them all the best for the session. I hope you are granted the wisdom and leadership to make the best decisions with the information you have available.

At our weekly staff meeting, department heads update each other on what is going on in their department. Oftentimes, this leads to discussions of how to help one another accomplish more. This week was no different as park and recreation discussed current projects and what equipment or staff would be useful to complete them with water pollution control and department of public works.

Mind you, this is dependent on if the other departments have available resources. At the end of the year, everyone is short-staffed due to employees taking those last vacation days or in DPW’s case having several double days due to the holidays. Still, with everything going on, they were coordinating on how best to lend a hand as needed to each other.

The last meeting for the week was with the city’s financial adviser. We took a look at how COVID will impact us as a city. We also discussed when we would need to start various pieces for 2021. Things like five-year capital plans from departments will need updating early in the year to keep us on track.

I will also be reviewing my goals for the upcoming year and making sure we do our best to stay on target with growing cash on hand to help us go the six months between payments from the state. Many years ago, Seymour was as low as 13 days cash on hand, and now nearing the end of 2020, we are near 120 days. Before my time is done serving as mayor, my goal is to get us to 180 days of cash on hand.

One of my favorite shirts from my days as a business owner was a shirt that simply said, “Be yourself.” The graphic wasn’t overly flashy. It was just a simple reminder to be who you are. Don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t stress over fitting in. Don’t be upset if someone doesn’t understand you. Just be yourself.

Many of my customers were cyclists and skaters, both sports that don’t fit into the mainstream. Being a part of any community helps shape us into who we are. For me, I like being up on two wheels enjoying the world around me. Seeing the world at a slower speed allows me to look around and see our aging infrastructure. It allows me to notice the litter along our roadways is changing.

Being myself and riding a bike allows me to relax and think. I am also comfortable being myself in the world of travel sports, owning a business, raising a family, speaking at Toastmasters or any of the other areas I am involved in.

I don’t have to be perfect in any one area. I do, however, have to be myself. When we are all ourselves and bring knowledge from our past to the table, we can accomplish so much more than when we focus on trying to get everyone to think like we do.

American author Anna Quindlen summed it up best when she said, “The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

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