With the end of the year closing in fast I thought back to some of the highlights from 2005. Almost all of them have something to do with a “community”. A community is described as “A group of people having common interests.” I belong to a number of communities. At home I’m part of my family community, at work I’m part of the “technology” community, while in my spare time I’m part of a Toastmasters community, a church community and a blogging community. Some of the great things I’ve found out about community are…
1. Your family is your most important community.
Sometimes life becomes so busy we forget about our “family” community. Don’t let outside things steal away your relationships with your family and friends. Communication is very important in family communities and especially during the holidays. A phone call or letter to family members can really pull together your most important family asset.
2. A community is a place to share your heart.
As part of a small group at church I have found a great place to share and pray with others. We meet once a week and share worship together, have an uplifting study and then pray for each others needs. There is incredible power when 2 or more people pray together. I can’t tell you how many miracles we have seen as a result of prayer and sharing each others needs.
3. A community is a great place to solve problems.
I work with a talented group of technology professionals who are very helpful and open to discussion. As technology becomes more and more complicated having a group of peers that you can share ideas and strategies becomes more important than ever. I am lucky to work with a group of people that are insightful and not condescending and the synergy that results has solved many complex problems.
4. A community is a great way to meet new people and develop new friends.
In almost every community I have ever been a part of I have met interesting people and many have become lifelong friends. There is something about having a “common interest” that breaks down barriers and brings people together. Smaller groups of 10-20 people seem to be the best for networking and getting to know one another.
5. A community is a place to grow in knowledge and skills.
My life has been profoundly changed with leadership and speaking skills I have learned at Toastmasters. This is a place that you find yourself surrounded with talented people from all walks of life. The great thing about Toastmasters is the camaraderie as you progress in giving speeches and learning new skills. A group where you see people do better week after week is very encouraging.
As you write down your goals for 2006 and develop a life strategy make sure to include “community” in your plans. Here are a couple of guidelines that have been helpful to me in the past when joining a new community.
1. Look for a positive group of people. If your first group meeting is divisive and negative stay far away and find a different group.
2. Look for people with skills that you admire. If you can find a group with helpful and knowledgeable mentors you will find your personal growth greatly accelerated.
3. Look for a group with vision. Where is the group going should be one of your questions on your first visit. If they don’t have a destination or goal in mind you might want to look elsewhere.
4. Look for a fun group of people. If there is no laughter or merriment allowed the group will be a tough place to visit on an ongoing basis. Look for smiles and humor to make your visits bright!
I just want to say a special word of thanks to all of my blogging friends that I have met in 2005. The blogging community has been a very supportive and positive place for me this year. I just want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Wonderful Holiday season as we all look forward to an incredible 2006!