So how are you doing in the process of building a personal foundation? In this series of ten articles this is the eighth. If you haven’t been following the series, here is a quick overview of the ten topics:
Clearing Unresolved Matters
Getting needs met
Seeing the Positive Side
Strengthening the Family
Building a Strong Community
Reorienting around Values
If this is the eighth article I am submitting then it should be about Strengthening the Family, but as I sat down to write this, I felt compelled to do number nine in the series. It is not that it is more important than strengthening the family but due to current events it is very timely. Number nine is entitled “Building a Strong Community.”
Let’s start by defining what a Community is. A community is a group of people that we coexist with. A community is a group of people that we care about and that cares about us. The members of a community have a vested interest in supporting the members of that community.
So, are you part of a community? Well, most of us are members of many communities. We live in a community, a neighborhood, a city or town. We have a community at work made up of members and staff. Our clubs have communities that live around them; many may be members, many may not be. We may have an ethnic, cultural or spiritual community. We may have a community that we have built through participation in a sport, a hobby or a special interest. Of course CMAA is an obvious example of a community that is industry-based. Our state or country is a community and for that matter humanity is a community.
Why do people put effort into building and supporting a community? Well there are lots of reasons. Many do it to make a difference or to affect the lives of others. Some do it to show gratitude for all that the community has done for them. Some do it because something needs to be done. When you look at it from a foundational perspective the reality is that sometimes the challenges we face are bigger than something we can or would choose to handle by ourselves. Knowing that we have a community to hold us up when we are feeling vulnerable, hurt or powerless can make a significant difference in our rate of recovery or in some cases our survival.
I have personal experience in the CMAA community as a member, a chapter leader, and, for the past thirteen years, as a coach for its membership. The fact that coaching services were set up is another example of a community providing a service to enhance the professionalism and security of its members and provide support when one of its members is in need. One of the motivating reasons to have coaching services in the beginning was to create another level of support for club managers who have lost their jobs. If you have ever lost a job you will know that your community can play a huge role in your efforts to move on to your next opportunity. My observation, from all of the vantage points that I have seen this organization from, is that there is a direct correlation between the amount of support you receive from the community and the amount of effort and support you put into the community. In this community there is a lot of support that you have access to regardless of the amount that you have put in, but it is quite amazing to see the way people reach out to support those who have reached out to them, stayed in touch over the years or simply were open to building a relationship if even for a moment.
Think about the different possibilities for a club manager who is going through a transition alone versus a club manager who is going through the process with the support of many people from his or her CMAA community. Now think about that person being supported by four or five communities outside of CMAA.
About a year after I lost my job as a club manager I was asked to speak at a local chapter meeting. Before I spoke I saw the list of 25 club managers that would be in attendance. I made note that 24 of the 25 had reached out in some way to support me. The one who didn’t had only been in his new job for a week and we had never met. I was supported with notes, phone calls, invitations for lunch or golf, introductions, information on possible jobs, encouragement, recommendations and perhaps most importantly, interest in how I was doing. I had one CMAA member who called me and told me that he would be calling me once a week to see how he could help me and that he would continue calling me until I told him to stop.
I had one person from my CMAA community say, “I am about to say something to you and I do not want you to respond in any way. I would just like you to hear this. If you and your family find yourself in a situation where you need money all you have to do is send me a note with an amount of money written on it and a cheque will arrive.” I never needed to write that note, but knowing that I could gave me the realization that years earlier when I accepted the position as a club manager of a club in Canada, my community expanded well beyond the suburbs of Vancouver.
How are you doing at building the communities that you are part of? There are so many ways! It could be a big effort in the wake of a disaster like a Tsunami or a Hurricane. It could be by opening checkbook and helping financially. It could be staying in touch. It could be spending time with the elderly person who has lost a spouse or coaching a child’s team. There are so many ways to do it, but just know that building community is an integral part of building a personal foundation.
Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin email@example.com or Shelley MacDougall firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.