Some Places Just Don't Want to Grow!

C.A.V.E. people - Citizens Against Virtually Everything.   

W.A.V.E. people - Workers Against Virtually Everything.  

P.A.V.E. people - Parishioners Against Virtually Everything.  

N.I.M.B.Y. people - Not In My Back Yard! 

Every state, community, organization has people like these folks, but we tend to discount them or say, “That's just them. They always look at the negative.”

If you want to grow, but have issues in your community where you just can't get moving because of some people or obstacle, take an honest look at the issues that keep your community/ies "stuck." 

Look at your community culture.

I have served in chamber of commerce and economic development organizations my entire professional career and I know those organizations are paid to promote all the good the community has to offer.

However, communities that thrive are those who will publicly look for the bad, as well as promote the good. Thriving communities commit to being better.

If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes. You stop blaming other people and circumstances for your situations. You learn what you need to learn. You practice what you need to practice. You put all attention / focus on how you will achieve your goals.

How do you know what needs to be addressed if you don’t look at the downside of your community?

Here are two pain points:

  • Are you increasing population?  and
  • Are you decreasing poverty?

Making headway on these two goals signals how welcoming people find your community.

In my research, states with a higher population of non-native-born citizens - people who were not born in, but are living in your state - are growing at a faster rate and have higher incomes than states with a higher population of native-born; those born in and living in the state.

Ask those who moved into your community - people who do not have grandparents buried in the local cemetery - if they feel welcome and feel they belong. Even if they've lived there 20+ years.

Ask those who come to your church and sit in somebody else's pew.

Ask your youth. Do they feel they belong? Do they see a future in your town?

 

Look at your culture. How your community "grew up."

To address these issues, you need to start with Why? Why does your community exist?

Do you know “why?" Are you asking? 

Are you digging to find the "problem behind the problem" when the community disagrees? Do you ask for value-based opinions from your citizens on issues your community needs to solve?

Convene a Community Engagement Institute to find your culture.  http://www.bewuca.com/blog/community-engagement-institute

 

Neighboring Towns and Growth

Why do we not like the community down the road? Is it because of athletics? A school merger? Because they stole our county charter 120 years ago? Or maybe, more than 100 years ago, our community had a competition who could hate their neighbor the most. One did.

Identifying, understanding, and breaking down the walls of conflict, perceptions, and hate is the first step toward growth as a region.

 

How Issues Become "Issues"

Whether in a family, church, school, business, organization or government, an issue goes through stages. When an issue is emerging, those involved and affected perceive their choices and choose their "sides" in resolving the matter.  The more involved we keep people and include as many choices as possible to solve the issue, the less disruptive the issue.

If we take away choices, voice, and input from those involved and affected, the issue becomes increasingly disruptive. People who do not know how an issue is decided, and are not a part of how the decision is made, do not trust the outcome.

So, the more disruptive the issue, the higher the cost that issue is to resolve in time, manpower, and/or money.

Some communities do not want to know other people’s opinions. It is like they want their deep, dark, secrets to stay hidden, thinking, "if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist." 

Are you like that? Or do you want to change so you can grow with new people, ideas, energy?

 

You go to the doctor's office to find out why you are not well. You want that doctor to be honest with you and tell you how to get better. 

The "doctor" is in.

Global Horizons has championed civility-building, community growth processes for more than 25 years.

Build civil relationships to address motivation and community issues that keep you "stuck." 

Give us a call. 712-250-0275.

 

Native-Born per state 25+ -  http://www.governing.com/gov-data/census-migration-homegrown-populations-for-cities-states.html
Growth rate per state - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--population-growth-rate--state-rank.htm?tag=Fastest+Growing+States+in+U.S.
Richest States by income - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--median-household-income--state-rank.htm?yr=3000&tag=Richest+States+by+Income+in+U.S.

Responsible Citizenship and Change

WUCA!-led communities are more open-minded, approachable, tend to have more newcomers, and they allow new people to make new ideas happen. Studies show U.S. state populations seeing growth have a higher percentage of newcomers than native-borns. A rural community that I once worked with told about a person who had moved to that community within the last two years. With three children enrolled in the district, she was at a school board meeting, and stood up to share her opinions on the issue at hand.

When she sat down, the lady next to her turned and told her that she had no right to talk at this meeting. The shocked woman asked why not. The woman replied that “she hadn’t lived here long enough.” Though she had children in the school, she'd only lived in the community a brief amount of time which, apparently, equaled her value and ability to contribute. In our town, we know people who moved to our community 30 years ago who still don’t feel they belong because their grandparents aren’t buried in the local cemetery.

As a leader, you need to look at your policies. Are they welcoming? As communities, counties, and states, do you allow newcomers to move in and do you embrace them? Yes, leaders love it when new companies come to town. There’s a ribbon-cutting for a new business,  a rousing welcome to all the new people to town, then, in a month, the excitement dies down and the new people that the community was excited about become  “those” new people with all those “strange” new ideas. Or sometimes you hear comments when they become successful, they must have done something “wrong” and “underhanded” to gain that accomplishment. Communities and people in general, have a habit of trying to pull successful people down to their level because there is a tendency to not like people who are doing better than they are because they have such low self-esteem.

Really, we often only like change if the change doesn’t affect us.

The result is that the future remains the same because people often refuse to take their role as responsible citizens to make change that is necessary. It’s hard work. It is messy. It requires talking to people. It requires acknowledging the world is not as black and white as we thought. Change requires slogging through the “gray” of an issue to see it through the eyes of another’s experience. Change requires that we may have to give up our way and do it someone else’s.

Remember that for every result that you want, there is a certain way of thinking, believing, and acting. You can change without improving, but you cannot improve without changing.

For your community, school, workplace, and organization to become "WUCA!-ized" contact kim@ghorizons.com

Frank and Kimberlee Spillers are the co-authors of "The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along." Available at www.bewuca.com

 

Use a Different Set of Eyes

The new book, The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along, uses grounded, research-based, take-charge "I can affect my future" techniques in an easy-to-understand format that will work. Using the exercises and ideas from its pages, you will change the way you look at things and, because you do, the things you look at will change. When you use a different set of eyes and create environments that create growth and productivity, you will live a Be WUCA! life.

A young boy, about seven, was racing his bike along a country road near his home.

As he approached an overpass, he braked hard, and came to a stop. There sat a huge truck with its trailer jammed tightly underneath the bridge.

Rescue vehicles, with lights flashing, blocked the only remaining open lane. A very large tow truck sat with engine idled, the driver puzzled at his repeated, failed attempts to dislodge the trailer.

Firefighters, policemen, truck driver, and several adult passersby gathered around the truck, all trying desperately to figure out how to free it from the bridge.

The young boy walked his bike up to the crowd. He caught the attention of a policeman. “What’s the matter, Officer?” he asked.

“The truck driver jammed his rig up under that bridge,” the patrol officer explained. “It’s stuck pretty tight. Tried several ways, but can’t seem to get it out.”

The young boy looked at the truck… then at the officer… and said matter-of-factly, “Why don’t they just let the air out of the tires?”

The officer was dumbfounded. He just shook his head, smiled at the boy, and said,

“Thanks kid!”

Have you ever looked for a way to solve a problem - maybe for days on end - turning it over and over to look at it different ways?

The successful way to solve any problem is to stop looking for the answer. When you relax and allow the problem to be solved, you find the solution that you never ever thought you would find and in a way that is all-of-a-sudden-obvious.

It's that way with your life. When you stop searching for the exact way that you think it should go and live your passion, a way will open to you. Live for today and tomorrow will open new doors that you did not see before.

Be WUCA! Communities Create Civility for Young People!

At a time when many people feel overwhelmed by the problems and challenges facing children and adolescents, communities across the country need to discover new energy in working together, building civility toward a positive vision for young people. Instead of focusing only on problems of young people, communities need to build and support a foundation of development all young people need.

Uniting a community to nurture the positive development of youth and build civility is much like playing in a jazz ensemble. Each musician (community member) must know the tune and listen to the other ensemble members; all players must improvise together–sometimes taking the lead and sometimes blending into the background. To create a community-wide commitment to youth, all the “players” need to be an ensemble working toward a common vision of what is needed to promote the healthy development of young people.

Healthy Be WUCA! communities that build civility and family friendly supports need to act:

  • All residents take personal responsibility for the efforts to build civility in relationships.
  • The community thinks and acts intergenerational.
  • All children and teenagers frequently have opportunity to by in service to others.
  • Families are supported, educated, and equipped.
  • All children and teenagers receive support in both informal settings and in places where youth gather.
  • Neighborhoods and schools are places of caring, support, and safety.
  • Schools mobilize to promote caring, clear boundaries and sustained relationships with adults.
  • Businesses establish family-friendly policies for all employees.
  • Virtually all 10-to-18 year-olds are involved in one or more clubs, teams, or other youth-serving organizations that promote community building as a central part of their mission.
  • The media (print, radio, television) repeatedly communicate the community’s vision, support local mobilization efforts, and provide forums for sharing innovative actions taken by individuals and organizations.
  • Youth have opportunities to serve, lead, and make decisions in community government and service organizations.
  • Religious institutions mobilize their resources to build civility both within their own programs and in the community.
  • The community-wide commitment to building civility is long-term and sustained by business and industry and the public sector.

Communities utilizing Be WUCA! strategies will stem their population decline and attract new families. If you had a choice to live in a community that did not care about its youth or live in a community that engaged youth, into which community would you want to move your family? Think about it: all communities think they have great schools but I believe all parts of the community are needed to assist youth in education and to recognize as this is the place they wish to live or return with their families because of the importance that is placed on youth.

What you believe directs your life. What song do you sing?

Do you remember what it was like when you were a kid; when you believed that you could be anything you wanted when you grew up? When you believed you could do anything? The possibilities were endless! What was your dream?

 You could be a policeman or woman. A doctor. An astronaut. A master gardener!

 You believed that anything was possible.

 And it was.

 You didn't have any doubts or judgments.

You didn't see all the reasons "why not." You just saw the "What if?"

 Do you still believe that you can be anything you want and have everything you daydream about?

 Why not?  What happened?

 Why don't we still believe money grows on trees?

Why don't we still believe that we can have it all?

Why don't we still believe that we are worthy enough?

Why do we see all the reasons why it won't work, or why we can't do it, or why it's not possible?

 It's not your fault that you believe this way.

As we've lived life, other people told us that a certain thing isn't possible. We've been told that money doesn't grow on trees, you have to work hard, life is a struggle, you aren't good enough, or smart enough, or attractive enough. Our beliefs changed.

At first, we didn't believe them. We were still kids at heart and thought we could have it all. But then we tried and failed.

And the more we tried (or saw others try) and fail, we started adopting those beliefs as "truths" or "facts." Through the years, they became our beliefs. We started saying and believing:

Money doesn't grow on trees.

I'm not good enough.

I'm not smart enough.

Nothing ever works out for me.

Other people are just lucky.

Life is hard.

The list goes on.

Well, we're here to tell you that's not the truth! Just because someone else's voice sings that song doesn't make it true for you. That's not who you are! You are so much more valuable and have so much more to offer! These messages, these songs, are other peoples' old, worn out, self-sabotaging beliefs. If these are the tunes singing in your head, are you still pursuing your dream?

Every action you take and decision you make is a result of your beliefs. You CAN change your beliefs to change your life, but you must be intentional and determined every day - sometimes every SECOND of every day - to direct your life where you want to go.

Your beliefs literally control your life. What song are you singing? With whom are you hanging out? What song do they sing? Do the people in your life cheer you on? Maybe you could use and appreciate some new cheerleaders who will encourage you and help you see who you truly are and the possibilities that are waiting for you!

With a happy outlook, a positive attitude, an encouraging support system, and "I can do it" beliefs in place, you will change your life and your future through your own actions. You can make decisions that will allow you to live the life you want - a life of freedom and joy! Bring back your childhood optimism, sing your own song, and go after your dream!