UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Compassionate Leadership Starts Early

Diverse Teen Leaders Group

A recent Mastermind Group meeting of civic-minded business leaders took an unexpected turn. A sidebar conversation turned toward social emotional learning. Ironically, the conversation started between two members who shared a common background with an organization identifying more with manhood, than anti-bullying. They surprisingly discovered that they also shared a passion in equipping youth with tools to build self-esteem and coping skills. Together they explored how their resources could jointly leverage greater contributions to healthier student communities. How do you inspire youth communities to build a more cooperative foundation? Start with developing leaders who understand how to respectfully engage their community!

Compassion
Compassion is not typically connected with leadership initially. However, for effective leaders to move followers toward results, they need to connect emotionally. Obeying because the leader said so, is a dangerous tactic. Empires fall when leaders demand blind faith and receive it. But connecting emotionally with a team is essential to gaining clarity for achieving the group’s vision. Emotional connection establishes followers who buy into group goals. High performance results because the group believes, not because they are compelled.

To establish such trust, communicating is vital. Effective listening is essential. Social emotional skills cultivate individuals to express their honest needs and expectations. Toxic leadership traps like groupthink are exposed and neutralized by honestly sharing ideas and priorities. Effective leaders can then embrace their groups’ needs, and benefit from their input and contribution. The best leaders understand the importance of intently listening before forming strategies. Imagine building communities based on fulfilling the growth of its members, rather than egos of its leaders.

Strength
“A leader without followers is just someone out taking a walk.” Effective leadership is truly strength with compassion. It involves vision. It focuses on service. By definition, a leader must have followers. For influencers in any particular community, identifying power brokers with a following is a common tactic. So is discerning where to locate available funding. Networking among ambitious changemakers often follows that path. However, connecting with pockets of influence that share an emotional bond also wields power. To harness strength in numbers, create alliances with the strongest bonds.

Nevertheless, to sustain strength, communal needs must be met. Communal needs prioritize the needs of the many, not just the powerful. Long-term strategies seek to cultivate the masses in advance of any rise to power. Therefore strategically, give future leaders the skills that they need to maximize their community’s potential. That community’s future resides in civil communication, then building emotional bonds. Teaching tools to communicate intellectually, as well as emotionally, creates leaders that cultivate engaged followers by serving their innate priorities. Subsequently, their strength results from aligning them with their broader good.

Takeaway
Functional and compassionate youth have a higher likelihood to become functional and compassionate adults. By giving leadership opportunities earlier in the youths’ development, communities improve the likelihood of growing through a spirit of cooperation, rather than fear. The local high school’s quarterback who also trains as a youth group leader acquires the capacity to develop skills to listen and lead into future service. The neighboring school’s chess champion and lead cheerleader can easily channel her developed skills in strategy, leadership, and enthusiasm into a path leading to legislative greatness. The social emotional tools are available for delivery. For those unconvinced of the importance of developing these skills, try not holding your belongings closer, or confirming that your weapon is accessible, the next time a group of raucous teenagers walk toward you at night.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

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September 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get On The Lifeboat

Titanic Band

According to historic accounts, the band played until the Titanic sank. People’s lives are at stake, and these musicians did their jobs. Jobs are important. But, priorities have a hierarchy. Preserving life is more important than hitting your note. Flatteringly, history acknowledges that the musicians provided a noble service. Still, an individual possesses a higher calling than their occupation. Each individual must take into account their entire contribution for every community where they participate. Then, maximize it. If the ship is sinking, make it a priority to help others get on the lifeboat. Life is precious. Consequently, by all means get on the lifeboat, too!

Your Job
Receiving value for individual contributions is part of the economy of humanity. When money enters the equation, quantifying the contribution’s value and discerning comparisons, become measurable, if not easier. Roles as parent, sibling, companion, mentor, bridge partner, or golfing buddy also matter. Fulfilling the highest contribution takes many forms. Understandably, work demonstrates economic and psychological worth. But, what happens when a worker’s replacement is identified? Is the predecessor rendered worthless? What about the boss who benefited from extraordinary efforts from previous staff? Is that contribution marginalized by the inability to maintain productivity? To the contrary, effective leaders constantly develop talent for contingencies. Inevitably, needs emerge for replacements. Hopefully, contributors evolve and grow. No rational individual should confuse their entire personal value with their organizational position, or economic contribution. The job is important. So is individual self-worth.

Your Responsibility
Saving and comforting perishing passengers is a noble duty. However, every individual has individual gifts to perpetuate. The Titanic’s exceptional musicians admirably performed their jobs and tragically left gaping holes with friends and families. Ultimately, responsibility is contributing to a greater benefit than the individual. The job is important. Fulfilling each human’s potential is also important. A higher responsibility is to contribute to family, community, and mankind. That greater purpose features assorted talents. Develop and deliver diverse and evolving skills that greater purpose. Seek opportunities to grow and contribute more. Ignoring that personal responsibility empowers someone else who will gladly use the value of such individual gifts for their own personal improvement.

Try naming ten martyrs. How about five? On the other hand, quickly name five lives that you presently enhance! Your personal gifting, not your professional role enhances those lives. Clearly, establish a purpose and fulfill it. It can certainly coincide with professional duties. Performing a job well is important. But, it does not qualify as a life purpose. Account for the impact that an individual’s successful performance delivers. Recognize the difference between a duty and a calling. A duty is the performance of a task for a specific benefit. A calling is the application of individual passions and skills to maximize contribution for many. No one can save another in the long-term, if the first person sinks in the present. Yes, you have a job. You also have a responsibility. To maximize your personal contribution, choose which of your attributes impact the lives or community that most matter to you individually! Prioritize and deliver on that calling.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bloom Where You’re Planted

bloom-where-planted

Community gardens uniquely reflect growth! The location’s inherent beauty and the unconquerable human spirit jointly emerge regardless of the surrounding environment’s condition. The individual may suffer. Aggregately, life thrives despite the surroundings. Whatever conditions may dictate the environment, in the presence of community, life perseveres. Similarly, great ideas are birthed wherever the human spirit intercedes. Today’s dilapidated warehouse becomes tomorrow’s technology hub. Like the garden in a field of asphalt, the result demonstrates that life, people and ideas have the capacity to bloom where they are planted.

Breakthrough
Before the garden spreads, the first seeds must have their breakthrough. All the seeds have the genetic capacity to emerge in harsh soil. However, certain seeds have either genetic tenacity, or a fortuitous crack near their germination which results in their breakthrough. People, and subsequently communities, must take advantage of breakthroughs as soon as they happen. Blooming never gets the chance without an available opportunity. Call it luck; call it favor; call it destiny. But to bloom where planted, the individual has to answer the call. Whenever someone emerges successfully from squalor despite nearby death and destruction, that individual seized their breakthrough and then absorbed a disproportionate amount of radiance and nutrients. Another nearby person may have had more innate talent. Yet, they failed to seize the resources that were available to all. Blooming requires grabbing resources where seeds take root, then expanding beyond the local boundaries. Do not wait for the next turn. Fight for resources that provide individual transformations.

Spread
Greatness is not a singular event. The bloom that emerges in their desolate environment needs to spread seed in the environment so that additional growth can occur. The garden is not successful with one stalk. Success requires a community of vegetation to make the soil healthy enough for more growth. The goal is to bloom where you are planted. It is not bloom, then wait to be transplanted. Even with expanding growth opportunities, no guarantee exists that every new seedling has a breakthrough. Bloom where you are planted requires cultivating a more vibrant and fruitful garden which enriches the soil to reproduce additional growth. The pockets of life interact. Their networking strengthens their aggregate opportunities to benefit each other and grow. A community does not grow one individual at a time. It grows and flourished when multiple pockets emerge in the same general location. The groupings share resources and nourishment, then the garden eventually changes its characters. The asphalt gives way to fertile growth.

Creating a vibrant community requires a symbiotic, pro-growth environment. Tilling, seeding, watering, pruning are all components of growing a garden, even a community garden. Spreading ideas and opportunities into pockets of growth facilitate the next generation enduring the same routine. Blooming is not a singular event. Growth demands time and replication. To change the environment, the enriched soil must be maintained. Remove weeds that choke the growth. Also, introduce outside influences that understand how to grow gardens so that they benefit from proven practices. Blooming communities require the ability to develop and nourish each other. It is difficult, but it is worthwhile. But to start, the first intentional cultivation must bloom where it is planted.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Never Go Back, It Changed

homecoming_2012

A friend told me they no longer visit their old high school. It changed. Well, he did too! The story in no way advocates living in the past. It is not a plea to “go back home” and change the old neighborhood. The point is to recognize that an individual is a composite of all their experiences. The successful person has more experiences and embraces them all. The past is part of an individual’s legacy – for good or for bad. The legacy is a byproduct of the changes that occurred. Change is a choice. Make the choice. The past is static. Go forward to a dynamic future.

Embrace Change
Regardless of the foundation, growth is based on new inputs and experiences. Revisionist history can reveal new insights, or perhaps tell an entirely different story. But, it does not change the events, or how they may impact an individual. The individual who continues to grow beyond their foundation, acknowledges the prior events, then embrace changes toward progress. Education is an easy example of this phenomenon. However, trials and tribulations are more powerful. The process of overcoming difficulty builds character, commitment and a chart toward triumph. Accept life challenges. Improve based on new experiences. Dare to be great. Upon escaping the furnace, the individual does not have to return to prove their mettle. But, he ignores character building challenges at his own risk.

Launch Change
Change is not inevitable. People stay stuck all the time. But, progress is impossible without change and a leap of faith. Some individuals deny the opportunity to go back because they never leave. But, leaping from any foundation propels forward. Each experience, each introduction, each risk brings a new set of potentially positive outcomes. Positive outcomes are not guaranteed. But, stagnant existence is fairly certain, if no movement exists at all. Risk does not have to indicate danger; but, it always represents opportunity. Fundamentally, success is a product of change. Energy starts and continues change. The energy can be a push out, or a lift up, or a shove down. But once the energy is released, change surely happens.

Accept the possibilities that involve choice. Accept it, then embrace it. Leave your past behind you, if you choose. No need to criticize the past after moving forward. Focusing on the past becomes a weight slowing an individual down, or worse, holding them in place. Regardless, change is inevitable. And, progress is not guaranteed. No need to go back, unless it is a choice. But if that is the choice, bring back progressive, forward- facing experiences. Upon returning, share experiences with the next person that goes forward. Just do not go back and add to the problems. Deciding not to go back because it changed is a choice. But, going back to show the path to progress is a virtue. The next one who embraces the risk is now prepared to launch into a better future. Be that difference.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Day, One Chance, One Change

one-change

You are only one defining decision away from a totally different life. ~Mark Batterson. John Maxwell used this quote in his book, “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”. Consider the power of a single decision, or even a single day, changing a lifetime; even a legacy. These decisions may not happen every day, but they can happen without warning. A decision to abandon addictive behaviors qualifies as a life altering decision. So, does the decision to follow a friend to apply for your first real job. On the other hand, consider how preparation and accountability impact processing such decisions for better outcomes. Consider the comfort in anticipating how to manage big decisions and their consequences when they come.

One Chance
Be thankful for each day. Value each moment. By seizing the right moment, one chance at one decision may be all that is required. Decisions must be made. Perfect information is preferable, but never practical. However, decisions do not require perfect timing; they require willingness and time to execute. Consider someone with a dysfunctional family life. Must that family’s history dictate its legacy? Or does the decision of one child, deciding to enroll in a college curriculum with the determination to earn a degree, pave a path toward a better life for subsequent children? The decision for one child to take a chance on higher education can change the trajectory for the next generation across siblings to pursue and successfully complete college educations. Unlikely? It happened in my family.

One Change
Embrace a new season. Make a dramatic personal commitment. Do something differently. Start today. Reaffirm it tomorrow. You have a job; change and launch a career. Apply for the new opportunity. If you fail, learn and apply again. The change is in the attitude. Acquire new skills. Numerous reasons exist to stay put. The status quo is an option. It’s also a choice. So is change and progress. One decision starts the change. Attend a lecture on a Friday night instead of the latest night club. No invitation is required. Simply bring a sense of adventure and a curious mindset. Changing physical environments coincides with changing habits. The first change is a challenge. Subsequent change gets easier. Then, improved results are easier, still.

In determining life choices, establishing goals and regularly re-visiting them equips individual accomplishment. That knowledge is no secret. But accepting that truth and acting upon it reveals valuable rewards that appear as if it was some mysterious success secret. In reality, establishing and re-visiting goals is a success characteristic that progressive people regularly adopt. The secret is the courage to take a chance that a change will be better. It requires risk. It requires faith. It offers no guarantees. Failure happens. It even repeats. But persistence presents rewards. Preparation helps, too. Seek encouragement and accept it. Get a coach. Take ownership of personal improvement that enables excellence! These steps are available. They simply require selecting one day to take action to improve. Today works.

What if I fall? Oh, my darling, what if you fly? ~Erin Hanson

Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Passing Through

Too many people go through life just passing through. They neither contribute, nor take away too much. They don’t disrupt the status quo. They exist. Then, they no longer matter.

My friend, Bill, told me how he unceasingly seeks to help others. His occupation requires him to help people manage very personal issues and he makes a good living. He offers his expertise. He shares his resources. Ultimately, Bill solves problems. He refuses to live just passing through. He positions himself so that life passes through him!

Sowing
Although Bill requires a specialized skill set to perform his job, his extraordinary performance has little to do with a singularly unique talent. Basically, Bill cares about people… a lot! Like a farmer cares about his land, his crops, and his livestock, Bill cares about his profession, his contacts, his prospects and his clients. He invests time in understanding them all. He sows seeds in them to increase their understanding. He also invests time in them to make sure their needs are met in other parts of their lives. If Bill knows a resource who can help someone with any problem, he connects that someone with the solution. Consequently, he generates tons of trust and lots of favors. In essence, Bill serves as a pass through for his clients and connections to achieve a more satisfying life.

Reaping
While Bill easily identifies resources to help his clients and connections achieve their goals, he clearly understands that he must satisfy his own needs. The favors that he so easily brokers require constant care and cultivation so that they meet everyone’s needs. Even in sharing his time and attention, Bill is aware that he creates value for others. He does not keep score on who he helps and who owes him favors. But, he is aware that by regularly sharing, he constantly generates opportunities returning back to him. Consequently because Bill sows so aggressively, he has no problem successfully reaping. Because favors, value and goodwill flow through him, he has earned the right to partake in the bounty. Not only does Bill reap, but his connections are eager to return the benefits that he has provided for them. As highly valued favors pass through Bill to others, more opportunities pass back to him.

Ultimately, Bill creates value because he is ready to contribute. Legendary columnist, Dear Abby once advised, “The getting is in the giving”. To appreciate fully this belief, people yearning for success must accept the challenge to find their individual gift. Furthermore, they must share it purposefully and powerfully to contribute to other’s well-being.

However, you must not humbly wait for reciprocity. Instead, be intentional to extract value from what you create. Reap what you have sown. It’s OK to receive. Just being willing to deposit first. Put your skills, relationships, and resources to work. Accept the withdrawals and the resultant interest! You earn that privilege by generously passing through more value for as many people as you can. Now, that is success!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

April 6, 2015 Posted by | Better Business, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , | 2 Comments