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Creating Community

Have you ever thought about where community fits into your life?

Yesterday was absolutely wonderful as we had a chance to meet some of our neighbors. I don’t know if this is a Costa Rican thing or simply true in the beautiful community where we live, but around 3:30 in the afternoon, we heard a knock on our door and a mother, her teenage son and young daughter were there to “present themselves” and welcome us into the community. It was so lovely! While we all chatted outside (ten feet apart, of course) other neighbors walked by with their dogs and joined the conversation and drove by and warmly greeted us. Later, my husband and I walked down to meet another neighbor who had generously advocated for us to move into the community and received the warmest welcome and tour of his lovely home. We walked back, beaming, filled with joy. This is “home.”

I’ve only experienced the power that a neighborhood can have one other time in my life. When we moved to Dallas, our two year old in tow, we were greeted by one of our wonderful neighbors the day we moved in with a Texas sheet cake and a bottle of Texas wine (how could it not be love at first bite?!). That neighborhood became our extended family as we had weekly “wine on the porch” while our young children played. It was beautiful. Our kids, now teenagers, are still best friends to this day.

Growing up I had never known what that was like. We lived far out in the country and my family was pretty insular. We kept to ourselves. The thought of people popping by was horrifying! Nobody would drive all the way out to our house to simply pop by and say hello, so it was something we never worried about because we never experienced it.

But now that I have… Now that I have experienced it, I can see it for the gift that it is.

Surrounding yourself with people who care about each other and want to support each other. Who want to keep their children safe and watch them play and thrive. Who long for rich connection and lifelong relationships. Wow!

I also recognize that true community is a rare and special thing. That it takes people who are willing to initiate the relationships and receive the relationships. That it takes cultivating and nurturing. That it takes giving, not just receiving. That it requires an investment of heart and time.

What I’ve learned is that the investment is returned 10-fold.

What we have here, on this page, is similar to a neighborhood. People pop in and out to say hello. You give of your hearts and share your insights. We remind each other that we’re not alone.

We cannot measure the power of human connection. It transcends measurement. It is immeasurable.

But it is the greatest gift there is.

Create community where you are. If no one has initiated, be the initiator. Give of yourself without expectation and see what happens. Imagine if everyone did that how different this world would be…

Our world is what we make of it.

©A Thoughtful Company, LLC

Kimberly Davishttps://www.braveleadershipbook.com/
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Kimberly – I am smiling as I write this… those insurance commercials that are out right now about the guy advising people how NOT to become their parents is what is in my brain right now. One of his bromides is “The waiter doesn’t need to know your name…” Which is a true fact, and I get that, but he’s probably going to know mine. I know that you are an introvert, but you have inspired me about making every interaction a meaningful one, and I can’t help embracing every conversation as if whoever it is that I am talking to might be the most important person that I will meet. You hold that up for us, as there are no throwaway conversations, no throwaway days, no throwaway anythings. I mentioned this last week in our writing seminar with Mark O’Brien – and the entire group couldn’t have been more supportive of that sentiment (you should’ve seen Laura Staley nodding furiously…)

    Community is not a defined group, it’s not anything other than whoever we encounter Every Single Moment… Is anyone surprised that the community that you now claim as your residence has come to embrace you as their own? No one that I know would be. We can’t complain about the lack of community if we haven’t exerted ourselves too much to help build it… we all are architects of our communities, brick by brick, smile by smile, interaction by interaction. How do I know that? You live it every day – you preach it and espouse it and model it for us, all the time.

    • Tom Diezler, I have the biggest smile on my face. I love picturing you on the Gulf of Mexico chatting up the waiters! My friend, Tom, leaving his legacy in every conversation! The fact that you attribute that to me is just silliness as I think that’s in your bones, friend. From the moment I first encountered you (wasn’t it a million years ago?), I felt as if I had known you a lifetime.

  2. Dear Kimberly,

    You describe community, neighbours and friendships as being vital for a life of engaging harmony.

    Living in a ‘close’ of 13 dwellings I know how important it is.

    Your community is fortunate in having you and your family as neighbours.

    Enjoy the sunshine and beautiful views!

    Simon

  3. I love this. The sentiment is, well, so different than what we experience in our little corner of NYC. Our co-op neighbors are courteous, as are we, but everyone keeps their distance even pre-covid. That may be a result of living in a very congested area. Physical space is at a premium, and so mental space becomes as critical, I guess. We’ve had a neighbor couple to our apartment once in almost 10 years. I don’t want to generalize too much. This may not be a typical NYC experience.

    I appreciate NYC for its almost unparalleled cultural opportunities, but I long for a time when I can hear birds instead of honking horns. (We live here now because it’s convenient for my wife’s business travel.)

    “Community,” of course, doesn’t have to rely on physical proximity. I’m a small part of Synopsis 360, and I’m enjoying our little community of content readers and watchers.

    • I always thought that was fascinating, Jeff. I noticed the same thing when we lived in NY. I think you’re absolutely right. There’s so much stimulus there that you have to “bubble” yourself to survive. But the same was true in Seattle too, for different reasons (I think everyone was slightly depressed from the weather there).
      I love that you’re in my community, however far you may be! Hugs to you!

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