By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
“We DO have to say this,” Mayor Ronnie chuckled as he pointed to a particular chapter heading. If you are “just joining us,” every other Monday when the mayor and I get together, we work our way through another bit of Steve Gilliand’s humorous and hard-hitting book entitled, Hide Your Goat: Strategies To Stay Positive When Negativity Surrounds You. The name of the chapter to which he pointed was “Discover Your Goat—The Courage To Recognize Who You Are.” I answered him by saying, “Ouch!” And then, “OK, let’s do this.” My response was one of those that you make by faith when you don’t really want to. I mean, I think it’s safe to say that MY goat tries to “bleat” me to death and chew on me every day, doesn’t yours?
Gilliand’s point in this chapter is that before you can successfully hide your goat so no one can find it and get it, you have to discover that you have one in the first place. Fearlessly “taking an inventory,” as it’s called in most 12-Step programs, is never easy. This chapter has quotes in it from everyone from philosopher James Allen to famed entrepreneurial mentor Zig Ziglar. It could be the subject of many more Ronnies, but for this installment, we will highlight a few observations that really stood out to us both. Gilliand starts out by asking some questions, some positive, some negative, to help with the search-and-discovery of one’s goat. Are you a worrier, a giver, a faultfinder, or are you humble? Are you a gossiper, a jealous person, or an attention seeker? Are you controlling, do you get too angry, and what do you do when no one is looking? Mayor Ronnie had done a lot of underlining and highlighting in the section that asked the question, Are You A Giver? Being a true giver brings the greatest joy, but is exceedingly rare. As Zig Ziglar said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will always eventually get what you want.” That is one tough walkout, whether you are a mayor, a mail carrier or a mom.
While the commitment to embrace this kind of personal growth should never expire this side of heaven, all of it occurs in steps. Gilliand gives a reason to keep after it when he says, “Until you have the courage to recognize who you are and the willingness to develop areas of your life that need to be changed, someone or something will always get your goat.”
Mayor Ronnie knows that something that got our collective Athenian goat, and rightfully so, was when Pilgrim’s Pride bailed and left behind what has become an inarguable eyesore. He has been dealing with the Pilgrims as well as their pride, the many other people who have everything from ideas to demands as to what should happen there, potential developers, and the folks who want no money spent to remedy the situation, period. He has been working on the Pilgrim’s Pride Chicken, er, Goat situation for years, and I have no doubt that he won’t rest until there is an excellent solution for our city. And then there’s the upcoming budget season; dealing with that topic tends to make my goat have triplets, but the mayor actually looks forward to boxing with the budget. More on that soon! Clearly we had lots of goats that needed herding, and much to pray about, so we did, and then it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner