Creating Community: Our Sustenance & Our Responsibility

By: Robert White Tuesday August 27, 2013 comments

Community.  The origin is from the early Greek “communitas” which directly translates to “held in common.”  I like this definition and wonder, do we, you and I, hold our fellow community members “in common?”  And when I speak of community here, in addition to our place of residence, I include our workplaces, our church, temple, ashram or mosque and our service organizations.   Do we hold the people, mission and activities of all of our gathering places “in common?”

A dear friend and a very bright guy asked me “Who won the Presidential Debate?”  We had a nice discussion and then later I realized I had fallen into a common trap – the “winners and losers” trap where I do not consider my role in a larger community and how I need to hold both candidates and their political parties “in common.”

There’s an e-mail circulating about the qualities and objects connected to growing up in the Fifties …. my era.  It reminded me of lusting after the delicious looking (and tasting, as it turned out) apples growing on a neighbor’s tree.  I finally surrendered to the temptation, climbed over his fence and helped myself to his apples.  After all, he had hundreds of apples and I had none …..

Of course, there wouldn’t be a story here unless the caught me and he did.  His next step was taking me roughly by the arm and dragging me home to have a “chat” with my Mother.  It did not turn out well for me that day though the lessons learned were invaluable.

My point here is that today no thinking neighbor (at least in theUSA) would dare to do what our neighbor did with and for me.  We’d fear a lawsuit or disapproval or we’d just not care enough.  We might call the police and “let them take care of it.”  What we probably wouldn’t do is to clearly see our role in our community including the discipline and training of ALL young people, not just our own.

Another USA example, sadly, is our declining voting rate – now under 50% in most elections and as low as 30% in non-presidential elections.  Our founding fathers set up this marvelous system where we can choose our leaders and we sabotage the entire game by not participating.

Number six of my “Eight Principles for

Extraordinary Success” is ….


How is your level of participation in your family?  Your work?  Your neighborhood association?  Your town or city?  Your service club, religious organization or children’s school?

 I have learned through my own experiences and from myDenver executive coaching that life is not a spectator sport.  It’s only through our active participation that we create the extraordinary life we all want to live.  Our families, communities, jobs and everywhere else where we “connect” need our 100% involvement – they need all of us, individually and collectively.

You can learn more – and participate 100% -- by completing our Extraordinary Living Action Steps.


My recommended approach to living an extraordinary life is to take a look at your Awareness, Responsibility and Communication regarding community:

Become more aware

Do an inventory.  How are you “showing up” in the important areas of your life?

Your family, with friends, at work, in your community, at clubs and civic organizations, as a citizen and as part of the greater world community?

Should you identify one or more areas where your participation is not what you want it to be or is not what is really wanted and needed …. clearly decide what successful, 100% participation would look like, feel like, sound like.

Take Responsibility!

The old one liner that applies here is simple and profound:

“If it is to be, it’s up to me.”

Only you can be the difference that makes a difference.  The only choice that you can 100% guarantee is your own. 


To your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, club members – wherever you want to improve your participation in community – put your words out there in a positive, affirming and action-oriented way: 

“I’m aware I’ve been a bit (a lot?) silent about _______ and I wanted to let you know that has ended today.  This is important to me because _________ (be very specific and positive here).  My action commitment, what you can count on from me in the coming weeks and months is ___________ .

Then deliver on your promises.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and how you’ll feel about you.

All that said …….. to my American friends, get educated on the issues and candidates ….. and VOTE in every election.

And, email me anything you learn about you and others in this process – your experiences inspire and motivate me.  [email protected]

Robert White

About the Author: Robert White

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