Know Thyself

"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."    — Polonius, in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Back in September, I adopted a new dog. She's grown—5 years old—because I know better than to adopt a puppy. (We have no time for a puppy.) When you adopt a grown dog—or really any dog—you have to be prepared to work with their existing personality. But you also have to know yourself—what you can and can't do, what you are willing or not willing to deal with.

Bella the Boxer is aggressive toward other dogs. That's OK. My last dog (rest in peace, old friend) was also dog-aggressive, so I have plenty of experience and understanding to work with that trait. New to me, she suffers from some separation anxiety, and we're learning how to make that better for her. (She thrives on routine.)

Other dog traits, I know I can't handle. I know I don't have the time, energy or patience to deal with training a puppy from scratch, I also know I don't have the physical strength to handle a bully breed. I know I do best with dogs that want daily exercise. And so on.

While I was out enjoying the woodland flowers yesterday (spring is finally here!), it occurred to me that this kind of self-knowledge can be extrapolated to just about anything. Take facility design and planning for example. Here, also, you need to know yourself. Or, more accurately, you need to know the context you're aiming to fit. Who is your audience? What is your budget? Do you have the team in place with the right skills and knowledge to make it all happen? What are your aspirations? What are your limitations?

Once you know, approximately, where you want to go, you can assess whether you currently have the skills and team in place to get there, or if your expectations are reasonable, and adjust accordingly.

In this issue, we're covering design from a bunch of different angles, to hopefully help you narrow down your own choices, understand the trends, and see how the things other facilities are doing apply to your own organization.

Dream big! But know yourself to understand how to get there from here.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]