By  Penny Brown, Public Affairs Director

A tired theme of many an article around this time is often something about tossing old habits and ushering in a whole new way of being. This is the year we will get fit! Save more money! Get organized! Learn to play the banjo/speak a new language/make the ultimate Beef Wellington!

You get the idea. Ending one year and starting a new one gets us in the mindset of change and motivation. We set goals and raise expectations. Maybe we even put it into writing and make a concrete plan. But I’m probably not the only one who’s started a new habit, hobby, or entire “way of being,” only to find myself back in my old routine before long, fitting into it like my favorite jeans. Raised expectations make way for comforting rationalizations.

So beyond being realistic (and not too hard on ourselves when we fall short of lofty goals), maybe the secret to a new season of  “change” is to not change all that much at all, but rather to find one thing (or a few things) that you really, really love and focus your energy there.

I struggled when coming up with a topic for my column this month. And I worried about my lack of inspiration. In Advocacy, our job is to be inspiring! We want our members to get involved with the political process and be part of a strong voice for manufacturing. We want our elected officials to draft, support, and ultimately enact legislation that will boost manufacturing’s fortunes. We want the rest of the world to know why our industry is great and the reasons why they, too, should root for a strong manufacturing base in the United States.

But as one person, it’s easy to say there’s no way I can make that big of a difference. Sure, I can plow through my day-to-day work and complete it to the best of my ability. I can share ideas for how things can be better. But to actually create change? The sheer thought of what I could and should be doing to get there – professionally and otherwise – is daunting to say the very least. 

My goals for 2016 are far from modest, but it’s also been an exercise in determining where I can realistically have the most impact. But I want to know what other people think about that too. So now I turn to ask: Where do you think that you as a manufacturer can have the most impact? 

It’s just your luck that 2016 is a great year to be asking that question. It’s an election year, and while right now it might seem like an eternal cycle of candidate rhetoric, voters will take to the polls on November 8. While the presidential election is grabbing the lion’s share of headlines, there are many important congressional elections too – and more still on your state and local level. 

You want to make an impact? You do it every time you walk into a voting booth. 

AMT will soon be rolling out a campaign to educate our members about the elections. From finding out where to register to learning about where candidates stand on the issues, we’re here to act as a resource as the nation elects its 45th president and 115th Congress. 

We want YOU … to get inspired! The right to vote is not something to be taken lightly or taken for granted. It’s one of the most impactful things you can do all year.

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