Originally posted in Dan Hawkins Leadership & Life blog.
The LIFE community has gone to a whole new level! With the launch of the Mental Fitness Challenge and the incentive trips more people than ever before are ready to get to work and move forward!
One of the most attractive things the LIFE Team offers is community. What is community? Here is the definition from Wikipedia:
The term community has two distinct meanings:
1) A group of interacting people, living in some proximity (i.e., in space, time, or relationship). Community usually refers to a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion. The term can also refer to the national community or international community, and,
2) in biology, a community is a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment. A community is a group or society, helping each other.
This is one of the biggest assest the LIFE community offers to its members, “a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion. A group helping each other out!”
I recently was able to attend and speak at a LIFE business launch with a few hundred LIFE members excited to learn and move their lives and businesses forward.
This video is just a small part of the LIFE members in Southern Wisconsin that have decided to come together and win in business and in life! There is something very powerful when a group of people learn to succeed as a team. LIFE has created a business that in its very operation begins to restore social capital (community) in a world that desperately needs it. Listen to what Robert D. Putnam has to say about the importance of social capital:
If community exists, both freedom and security may exist as well. The community then takes on a life of its own, as people become free enough to share and secure enough to get along. The sense of connectedness and formation of social networks comprise what has become known as social capital.
Social capital is defined by Robert D. Putnam as “the collective value of all social networks and species (who people know) and the inclinations that arise from these works to do things for each other (norms of reciprocity).” Social capital in action can be seen in all sorts of groups, including neighbors keeping an eye on each others’ homes. However, as Putnam notes in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000), social capital has been falling in the United States. Putnam found that over the past 25 years, attendance at club meetings has fallen 58 percent, family dinners are down 33 percent, and having friends visit has fallen 45 percent.
The same patterns are also evident in many other western countries. Western cultures are thus said to be losing the spirit of community that once were found in institutionsincluding churches and community centers. Sociologist Ray Oldenburg states in The Great Good Place that people need three places: 1) the home, 2) the office, and, 3) the community hangout or gathering place. With this philosophy in mind, many grassroots efforts such as The Project for Public Spaces are being started to create this “Third Place” in communities. They are taking form in independent bookstores, coffeehouses, local pubs, and through new and innovative means to create the social capital needed to foster the sense and spirit of community.
I love that on at least a weekly basis the LIFE Community gathers to learn, share and expand the community! When people are evaluating your community they usually have at least three components:
1) What are the values this group stands for and believes in? The LIFE community is a group that understands that you need to believe in something or you will fall for anything! We share our values and beliefs through audio training, web cast, videos and, live events where the top speakers in the LIFE community share with members and customers.
2) Who are the people that are part of the community and what are they like? LIFE has weekly opportunities to get around the people involved and get to know them. We have live events every other week where someone can come and associate with other like minded people and build strong relationship and social capital.
3) Can I add value and contribute to this community? LIFE has launched small groups on a bi-weekly based called challenge groups. This is a place where all members can learn great principles and then share how they have or will implement them in their lives. Everyone has something to share to help all of us get better!
In the book Grouped by Paul Adams he shares why we like to talk and share with others:
When researchers have studied why people share, they have consistently found that many do it to help others. This is an altruistic act with no expected reciprocity. For many, it is important to them to be perceived as helpful, and so they try to share content that they think other people will find valuable. This is especially clear when we see people share information that may not reflect positively on themselves.
The LIFE Challenge groups give people a platform to share from personal experience and help others.
These are just a couple of thoughts on the power of community and what LIFE is doing to restore better ideas and social capital back into our local communities!