Community

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Thanks to my strengths-guru friend Maureen Monte, who recently reminded me of the essential place that community has in my life, I thought it would be fun to explore the concept of community. Below I’ve posed a number of questions to which I’ve shared my answers. I invite you to consider the questions and to contemplate your answers.

What is community?

My first cut definition had 2 dimensions: 1) a group of people with a shared interest or purpose and 2) a feeling of togetherness with others. A google search expanded the definition to add that a community includes a group of people living in the same place (that part might have been so obvious I didn’t think of it!), and that the feeling of fellowship with others is often the result of shared common attitudes, interests, and goals.

What does community look like to you?

When I think about community, I visualize people connected together. It might be tens of thousands gathered in a venue for a cause they are passionate about. Or, it might be people attending a seasonal festival in their neighborhood to share the experience of joy. Or, it might be just two friends together, maybe they are having a picnic or talking on the phone, or even texting each other. The feeling of community happens in a moment when those engaging together are present with each other.

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Why do we create community?

We create community because, as human beings, we have a need for connection, we seek meaning in our lives, and we hunger to make a difference in the world. I’ve created community to move through challenges: I remember when I decided to run a marathon, how my family and friends came together to cheer me on, beyond my wildest imagination.  That was the building block that enabled me to find the support I needed when I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. I’ve also created community to generate energy and fully engage: by seeking out and making time to be with others who share similar interests and passions at work, I am more engaged at the office and my creativity and ideas expand.

How do we create community?

I find that community doesn’t just happen. With the marathon, I was clear about my goal and shared it with others, even though I wasn’t entirely sure I could accomplish it. With cancer, my community began to take shape when I honestly shared the fear that I was experiencing. At work, I find that I need to be in action, seeking out others so that we can benefit from each others’ experience and perspectives. It can take an incredible amount of courage to build community – we have to be willing to be vulnerable.

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Community takes shape when you are in action toward what you believe is possible. To me the key ingredients for creating community include:

  • Connection with your heart energy
  • Clarity about passions
  • Being vulnerable
  • Sharing feelings, ideas and beliefs
  • Taking action
  • Asking for help
  • Helping others

What’s possible when community exists?

Community changes the world. While we each have incredible power to have an impact on the people and things we touch, there is such energy and possibility when 2 or more of us gather together, especially when our intentions are clear and we begin to take steps to create what we envision as possible.

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6 thoughts on “Community

  1. Hi Vicki! Reading your blog is one of my first actions of the morning today, and I’m so excited to see how you’ve defined it (and glad I played a small role in triggering it!) I love the idea of the small stuff counting, and I also love and agree that it’s not just a group, it’s a feeling. I tried to make a small difference yesterday. My neighbor’s husband had a liver transplant just over a week ago, so she has her hands full. The leaves are beginning to fall here in Michigan, and Gail (my friend) rakes daily (to be clear, I do not rake daily). I saw the leaves on her lawn yesterday afternoon, so I grabbed my rake and herded them into the street for pickup. It felt good to make a small difference (even if she doesn’t notice) because I am too often focused on the big bang. Also, your post reminded me of how much I’ve lost since I began to work at home. My communities have truly shriveled up, and I have allowed that to happen. It’s on me to fix it, even if it’s one small step at a time. Thanks again!

  2. I am so grateful for YOU in my community. Many times our community of 2 has lifted me up, and we have created so much individually and collectively together. What a lovely story about raking and the small ways we build a sense of community. As you transition your work full time strengths work, I see you building new communities all the time – each potential client you reach out to, each tweet you make or blog you write, you are creating community. As you look at where you feel the gap and identify the steps you want to take to fill them, don’t forget to notice all the delicious place where community already exists in your life. Lean into those and let them support you as you move powerfully forward, my friend!

  3. Great post. There is a lot to think about. For those of us who work from home that sense of community can be elusive. Staying conscious is key. Thanks for the reminder. I already feel more connected!

    • Thanks for coming by, Mike. I just realized that we have a shared experience of working from home. It does seem that having a sense of and creating community requires intentionality and being conscious of your needs. Smiling at how we’re connected, even though we are so far apart. Love you, Vic

  4. Pingback: 2015: The Year in Review | Leading With Intention

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