When Russ Marsan heard about the Come Alive Outside movement, he got into it. He really got into it! After hearing about other leaders in the landscape profession that had turned their hometowns into Come Alive Outside Communities, Russ and his team at Carpenter & Costin decided to go even bigger and tackle the whole state of Vermont! In five short months, Marsan has already inspired other community leaders in five of the state’s fourteen counties to embrace the message of Come Alive Outside and start coordinating events. That’s nearly half the state in less than half a year!
This newsletter is about the power of getting excited. But even more than the importance of getting excited about something, this newsletter is about the power of turning passion into action. Inspiration is priceless, but it’s what you do with it that changes the world or your family or your bottom line. When you hear a great idea, whether it’s Come Alive Outside or a better way to cook green beans, how long does it take you to put it into action? How often does an idea die while it’s still in the gestation period? How often does inspiration fade while you’re still waiting around to do something about it?
– Andy Paluch
Inspiration in Action
Marsan and his team set a goal to hold one Come Alive Outside event per quarter and what better time to get started than the middle of winter! On February 22nd, Carpenter & Costin hosted a “Snow Fun Day” in the community of Rutland, Vermont. “I honestly don’t know why, other than, why not! It’s fun to create!” says Marsan.
Being inspired to action doesn’t mean rushing into things without thought or throwing things together on the fly. The first step is taking that seed of inspiration and sharing it with the people around you. Infect them with your own enthusiasm, and before you know it, you’ve got a hundred times the brain power and number of hands lending their strength to the creation of something great. “I have such a great support cast!! They have helped in every way possible.” From creating this particular event, to the larger mission of Come Alive Outside Vermont, the initial spark of passion that Russ felt has clearly caught on in his company and his family.
The idea for the Snow Fun Day was inspired by trips to visit Marsan’s grandmother in the nursing home. “When my wife, Renee, and I take the kids to see their grandmother, visiting my own nana is a guarantee! And like clockwork, upon making our way to Nana’s room, it happens. The smiles, the waving and the ‘You’re so cute’ comments begin. The residents really love to see the kids.” The Carpenter & Costin team wanted to facilitate this interaction between generations with their event, so they worked in coordination with The Meadows Assisted Living Center in Rutland to have a bunch of children and their parents build snowmen and other snow sculptures where the residents could watch all the fun.
“As the kids began showing up, so did the faces in the windows. The courtyard, where Belgard’s Mike Day was also workin’ the Chicago Brick Oven making pizzas, was like we were in a fish bowl. Some opened the windows (who cares if it’s 35 degrees out) and were talking to the kids, thanking them for their hard work and exchanging names. Some took it a step further and ventured out to make their way around the campus to take it all in. As I made my way around, talking and taking pictures, I was stopped by a woman and her daughter. They invited me over to see the cat sculpture they created for their mother/grandmother. The grandmother was so excited; she sat in front of that open window and watched her daughter and granddaughter laugh, have fun and work together. It was very inspirational to be a part of that moment.”
The Proof of the Pudding…
… is in the eating! Unfortunately the scope of a newsletter is rather limited. Ultimately, we talk about a lot of pudding. You can either take us at our word, or you can take what we say and run with it. We really hope you choose the latter. When it comes to spreading an idea or sharing your excitement about something, there really is no substitute for eating the pudding!
Whether you’re a business owner trying to get your team to embrace a new financial system, a parent trying to get your kids to clean their rooms, or a lone nut trying to start a movement, we buy into things based on our experiences, not based on what people tell us. If you can prove what you say with an experience that is meaningful, fun and exciting, then harping on about things quickly becomes obsolete. Employees latch onto new systems because they help them save time and make more money. Kids clean their rooms so they can have a proper tea party or have enough space to create a spaceship out of their bedsheets. People start spending more time outside because they’ve already come alive and they like the way it feels. This is what turns new ideas into habits and inspiration into action. We keep doing things because we’ve tried the pudding and we want some more!
No one talks about Come Alive Outside with more genuine enthusiasm than Russ Marsan. His passion is spreading to every corner of Vermont and every open mind he comes in contact with. For him and his team, the ability to turn this energy into action is not only changing the way that people in Vermont think about the outdoors and putting smiles on the faces of all of those folks in The Meadows Assisted Living Center; their action transforms Come Alive Outside from a suggestion into an experience.
“The individual efforts all came together in a team effort and things just happened. At the end of the event, the Carpenter & Costin team was very proud of what they had accomplished and been a part of. Jack Welch once said, ‘An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.’ I saw that first hand in our team and am proud of what we continue to accomplish together.”
Check out Carpenter & Costin’s website for more photos.