Time to Think Differently | Ask Not What Your Community Can Do For You
Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community!
I’m sure many of you will recognize the spin on that famous line from a John F. Kennedy speech. For me, this version is really resonating right now. And the timing is pretty good too.
I have spent the last few months meeting people that I would call Social Catalysts. I didn’t know or appreciate that term until one of my colleagues brought it up and it really clicked. My friend Marc describes Social Catalysts as people that “give huge amounts of time and dedication to improving where we live, without asking anything in return. They are the people who switch off their televisions, get out there, and spend their time, energy and resources on solving the problems they see in their communities”.
I’ve chatted with Social Catalysts from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, Fargo North Dakota, New Zealand, San Francisco, Florida, and other parts of the U.S. and they all seem to have something in common. None of them are doing it for recognition, they’re not doing it for fame or fortune, they’re simply doing it because they can see that there has to be a better way and they don’t want to be the ones that looked back and said “I could have made a difference”.
I had a vision of what a Social Catalyst looks like the other day. Picture a pioneer or an explorer. They are at the front of a ship, they’re leading the search for newfound territory. They know their mission, they’re not afraid to lead, they’re not afraid that they might fail, but there’s something that they do need. They need the support of the people that are with them. They need the people that are asking questions, providing input and support, encouraging them to take that next step. They need resources. They can’t do it alone.
I mentioned my friend Marc above, he recently wrote a blog entitled “Sponsor Me a Private Jet and an Unlimited Credit Card” that talked about the journey of many Social Catalysts he has connected with. It has a humorous slant and a very good message about the value of Social Catalysts within a community.
I have met many, many people in my community that are bound and determined to make a difference in the community. Whether their focus is on mental health, poverty, physical health, education, social issues or otherwise, they are doing their best to get involved in making a difference. And you know many of them in your community too.
If I think back to that vision with the pioneer on the ship, the realization is that we’re all on the same ship. Each and every one of us has the option to sit on the ship and hope it reaches the destination, or to get involved to ensure that the ship gets there. We’re all crew members and we can accomplish so much if we all get involved.
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are meant for.”
I believe that it’s time for us to come together. While what each of us do can make a big difference, the power of the collective forces within our communities can move mountains. We can change the things we don’t like, we can solve each and every issue that presents itself. We can create Healthy Communities. And we can do it in our lifetime.
Are you on the ship?
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