May I Join You?
Last week when talking about community and the value of “tribes” as defined by the brilliant Seth Godin, I stated the following:
“By whatever name – Godin calls them “Tribes”; we call them a Neighborhood- they are one and the same. Vehicles of connection. Opportunities for change.” At least 2 women in our Facebook group The Neighborhood noted they found this observation “insightful”.
And I found their observation interesting. Why? Because I wonder if somehow we’ve lost the sense of “neighborhood” so much so that when someone – anyone – equates it with what Seth describes as a tribe; it’s considered deeper, richer, out of the ordinary. Deeper, richer and out of the ordinary because we’ve lost the sense of “neighborhood”.
And yet “neighborhood” is about diversity within a common set of values everyone in the neighborhood holds dear! The same is true of tribe even when described as folks sharing a common mindset. Isn’t “mindset” just another name for values?
However, when I think of neighborhood, I think of folks large and small; black, white, and in between; young, old and middle-aged; from different ethnic backgrounds, but all desiring the same life outcomes. . . personal and professional success; safe passages, peace and a sense of belonging to something that enhances the value of their life journey! For all of us in the neighborhood!
When I was growing up and a new family moved into our block, we took something good to eat to their door; introduced ourselves and welcomed them to the “neighborhood“. If there was a neighborhood event; they were included from day one. They didn’t have to wait to be invited. They were already part of our small community within a community!
More Than Just Social. . .
“By whatever name – Godin calls them “Tribes”; we call them a Neighborhood- they are one and the same. Vehicles of connection. Opportunities for change.”
Neighborhoods are “vehicles of connection“. They are places where we meet others, get to know them well and form bonds of friendship that enhance the value of our lives both personal and professional.
They are also “opportunities for change”! Relationships change us – for the better or worse, depending on who we bond with and why. That’s why choosing our neighborhoods of affiliation are extremely important. I’m less likely to join a tribe, community or in our case – neighborhood, whose members hold diametrically opposite views on important life topics. Diverse population is important; diversely conflicting viewpoints are not! While diverse populations build rich communities; diversely conflicting viewpoints destroy the sense of camaraderie one seeks when entering into the neighborhood experience!
The old adage “It takes a village to raise a child” is equally true for women in business who seek to become all God desires us to be. The neighborhood experience is the opportunity to be raised up by those who have wisdom we need to acquire; as well as the opportunity to share the wisdom we’ve gained with the young and eager in our sphere of influence (our common neighborhood experience)!
A Safe Place. . .
In last week’s post, I noted as well that, “in a world where being Christian is becoming a challenge in many sectors of society; it’s good to know we have a safe place to which we can run when the going gets tough. And rest in the knowledge that being among others who love the Lord and seek to grow in wisdom and knowledge together is a blessing beyond measure!
We live in an increasingly secularized society. And if we identify ourselves as a ” Christian” in business; then the expectations on us are heavier than might be expected of the average business person. And just let one of us fail to live up to the what others identify with “Christian” and the ridicule to which we are subjected is tough to handle personally as well as professionally!
If, as I noted, that “neighborhoods” are vehicles of connection and opportunities for change; then they must provide a sanctuary of safety where members know they have each other’s backs. The world’s marketplace is rough and tumble. It can as easily chew you up as it can elevate you to the pinnacle of success. In fact, being chewed up is often required if one is to reach the pinnacle at all.
I Came & I Grew!
When I know that I am safe in the company of others – others who respect me and have my best interests at heart – I grow. My neighbors may challenge me; in fact I won’t grow unless they do. But when it’s done out of love – I grow. The kind of neighborhood that insures a safe place in which growth is valued and testing the limits is encouraged is the kind of experience where I will become the best version of the woman God designed me to be. The name by which it is called is irrelevant. It’s the environment that matters and makes the difference! Choose wisely . . .
It Bears Repeating!
I said it last week and I’ll say it again because as we march up to a relaunch of AWI online, it’s important we make known who we are and the purpose for which we have come: We are – a “Tribe”, a “Neighborhood” of Christian business women uniquely linked together because of shared values. We have a desire to congregate together because we can learn from each other and enable each other’s growth, development and success.
In a world where being Christian is becoming a challenge in many sectors of society; it’s good to know we have a safe place to which we can run when the going gets tough. And rest in the knowledge that being among others who love the Lord and seek to grow in wisdom and knowledge together is a blessing beyond measure!
The words are the same because the challenge is the same. And the intent and purpose remains the same. Come together because we can. Come together because that’s the calling to which we have responded on behalf of Christian business women across the world!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Building a Community for Christian Business Women
The Neighborhood at Facebook
Affiliated Women International
AWIBoutiques at Facebook