My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that 'achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that's nice, too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.'
Helen Hayes (1900 - 1993)
Last spring I was asked by a neighbour if I would become a member of the Board of Directors for the condominium I live in. Now, I’m not exactly up there in the “involved in my community” category, but since I do hand over a significant chunk of change to these folks each month I figured it might be good to understand better what it was being used for.
I arrived just in the nick of time – for the first special assessment the owners here have ever had in nearly 30 year of existence. Turns out our roofs are leaky and the best long term option is a membrane roof. Cool! The money has been collected over the last few years and we are good to go!!!
Or not, since it seems that our attics do not have sufficient fire inhibitors and to upgrade them to meet the building code is going to cost each unit owner $2400. As a member of the board, if we do not do the attic upgrade, we would be liable if there is a fire – not to mention the havoc played with personal home insurance. So now, on top of the usual monthly condo fees, we have had to ask owners to cough up another $70 per month over the next three years.
So, you say – why go with the expensive roof? Why not shingle it instead? Well, every time we put on shingles the damn thing leaks – it’s a structural problem based on bad initial design that affects property values.
The owners are now staging a revolt, or coup or mutiny. However you want to characterize it, its ugly and involves words like “corrupt” and “misleading”. Everyday my neighbours are scurrying around and talking in hushed tones. People who normally don’t give each other the time of day are uniting in anger and pointing fingers at a group of volunteers that unfortunately includes me.
So I have achieved a couple of interesting first for me: first time on a Board of Directors, and probably a first time being kicked off one.
Clearly, success will have to wait for a little while longer. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep on knitting these.
Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)