Love your neighbor.

Bernie on a Journey - Part 7 - August 9, 2019

08-12-2019

The vlog this week featured a tour of Fairfield Manor, the historic apartment building  I call home:

 Seven Key Takeaways From The Global Leadership Summit 2019


This week actually marks the 7th week of the blog, so I felt I should use this one to bring up seven key takeaways from the recent Global Leadership Summit I was able to attend (due to the generosity of Ambassador Enterprises). The Global Leadership Summit had 16 amazing speakers, but here are the seven I want to highlight (to see the full list and to learn more about each speaker, visit http://www.fortwayneleaders.com/):

1. There is no other leadership than servant leadership

 -Patrick Lencioni

The conference’s theme this year was “everyone has influence,” but Lencioni, gave a caveat that not all people are ready to use their influence in good and useful ways to make positive change. Lencioni made the point that all leaders or influencers must sacrifice for and serve their team. He even asked people to question their motives for seeking positions of power, and if it was for selfish reasons, he exhorted people to remove themselves from leadership.

 

2. You are average, and that’s not an excuse not to do things

- Liz Bohannon

Bohannon shared her experiences struggling with imposter syndrome and feeling that she was not adequate for what she felt compelled to do. To help empower people listening to her message, she took several Pinterest-y inspirational quotes and dismantled them. “You are special!” no, we aren’t, statistically, we are mostly average people, but that doesn’t mean we are incapable of accomplishing goals and dreams. That brings her second point, don’t “dream big!” Instead, dream small, since all of our big dreams have to start small and tangibly.


3. Questions for all leaders to ask:  

  Who were you before people told you who you should be?

   If your body could talk, what would it say?

   Who are your people ( i.e. your support group and friends)?

  - Jo Saxton

Saxton explained each of these questions with poignant stories, but the overarching theme was to truly know oneself and one’s own desires, needs, and community. Life can be confusing and distracting, and as odd as it sounds, each person must take time to intentionally get to know themselves, because true success is impossible if it is not what the person really felt called to do, if it is at the cost of their health or if they have no one to share it with.


4. Radical Redemptive Inclusion creates bravery and loyalty

- Dr. Krish Kandiah

Dr. Kandiah used his experiences with the U.K. foster care system to challenge people to recategorize ‘problems’ as ‘potential’ and ‘obstacles’ as ‘opportunities.’ He gave several stirring examples of how when people are included and cared for, they can respond with incredible loyalty and bravery, such as a chain of stores in the U.K. that will hire former inmates to help make a difference in those from disadvantaged communities, heroic actions in tragedy, and his own experiences fostering “troubled” children.


5. Culture starts and stops with you

- Bozoma Saint John

Saint John shared there is no magic fix to create healthy  organizational culture and it starts with each individual. A healthy culture is one where everyone is moving in the same direction, according to Saint John. She also encouraged everyone to be vulnerable, so as to build real connections in the organization. She also made a key distinction that for a healthy organizational culture, the organization must strive for inclusion rather than simply diversity. She explained diversity as inviting everyone to the party, but inclusion as asking people different from you to dance. Inclusion is the key for increasing collaboration and connection in any group, which ultimately will make the organization more innovative and vibrant.


6. The key to any negotiation is connection

- Chris Voss

Voss, a former FBI Hostage Negotiator, explained that every person is in 5-6 negotiations per day and that anytime a person says “I need” or “ I want” then a negotiation is taking place. “Tactical empathy,” or fully understanding the other person’s needs, is crucial in these exchanges to move negotiation into collaboration. He also encouraged people to avoid asking “why” questions, since why questions can trigger people emotionally and shut people down. Instead, he said the main focus should be on “what” and “how” questions, always remembering that negotiation is all about creating a better future for both parties.


7. Your destiny won’t require you to compromise your values

- Devon Franklin

Franklin relayed one of his first experiences as a Christian working in Hollywood: he was interviewing for a great job, but had been convicted to not work on Sundays and despite his fear of losing the opportunity, he decided to be honest in the interview, and to his surprise, he still got the job! Franklin said that experience helped him to realize that by remaining faithful to his convictions, he would find the right opportunities to lead him to his destiny. By embracing his differences, he would be in the position to live the life he was created to live, but the road there would not be without discipline and discomfort.

These speakers gave me tremendous food for thought, and I’m still continuing to reflect and unpack all the information they shared. It was such a blessing to spend two days just sharing the message of Neighborlink and learning how to better serve others.

I hope you all take time to invest in yourselves, both professionally and personally, because unlike investing in the stock market, the return on these investments are wholly up to you.


Bernie on a Journey - Part 6 - August 2, 2019

08-06-2019

The vlog for this week cover's one of the neighborhoods we are researching, Pettit-Rudisill, while the blog for this week covers my experiences walking in the neighborhoods.



The Value in A Smile

"You shouldn't smile so much. People will think you're crazy."

On one of my neighborhood walks, a neighbor told me this, and in doing so, told me volumes about the neighborhood atmosphere. Smiling and greeting others is not a norm there. 

But it should be. 

Smiling and greeting others both recognizes their dignity and also serves an important social function: it makes everyone feel safer and it encourages confidence in the community (https://www.technology.org/2014/07/28/greeting-street-helps-cope-social-disorders-researchers-claim/).

With less people walking outside and making an effort to smile and greet their neighbors, social cohesion breaks down (I mentioned this in depth in my podcast with NeighborLink Executive Director Andrew Hoffman, https://www.neighboringpodcast.com/podcast-episodes). It is this social cohesion that makes the difference when people are explaining how safe or happy they feel in their neighborhood. There is something comforting about knowing those around you, and them knowing you. 

A beautiful sidewalk, ready for interaction!

This sense of connection starts with "the ballet of the sidewalk," where all different types of people intermix, explained Jane Jacobs, a famous activist for city planning and urbanism. In Jacobs' most famous book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," she devotes the first 3 chapters to "the uses of sidewalks", namely safety, contact, and raising children (Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House). 

For all the important social functions that sidewalks provide, they are easily overlooked when it comes to maintenance and infrastructure redevelopment. Until residents speak up and make their needs known, sidewalks continue to crumble(or are missing entirely), which discourages people from using them. Since, "a well-used city street is apt to be a safe street," anything that discourages people from being outdoors is a bad idea, actively discouraging people from knowing their neighbors (Jacobs, 1961). This is one of the reasons people benefit from being involved in a neighborhood association: the neighborhood can organize and petition for the city to repave sidewalks and streets.

On my neighborhood walks, there are times when I have to pay close attention to the ground, because the sidewalks are so uneven or covered with debris, and anything that is an annoyance for those walking, is a true impediment for those on wheels, whether strollers, bikes, skates or wheelchairs (as I am biking more, I can confirm this). These issues seem like minor inconveniences when looked at individually, but the larger implication is that people spend less time outdoors, and therefore less time together.  

Just like a sidewalk does not crumble in one night, a neighborhood does not become disconnected in one night. It becomes disconnected as the result of small choices. Both from my research and from my time out in the neighborhood, I can see the various social forces, historic trends and personal choices, which can lead once healthy neighborhoods to social disorder and disintegration. 

One by product of wide streets is that it is hard to greet neighbors on the other side. Wider streets came as a by-product of increased car ownership, which was also driven by the movement to create residential areas free of amenities like grocery stores or restaurants.

Little choices matter and add up. Simply spending time outside your home and greeting neighbors can make your neighborhood feel more safe and vibrant. When choosing to participate in the neighborhood association and local events, you are creating a healthier community. The type of community we all want to live in. 

So. Choose to smile, even if it feels unnatural. Choose to greet your neighbor the next time you see them, even if you've lived as strangers for many years. Choose to walk your streets and invest your time and presence in your neighborhood. It's worth it. 



NeighborLink is Hiring - Digital Content Creator AmeriCorp VISTA

08-01-2019

NeighborLink is currently recruiting AmeriCorps VISTA members for a NEWLY updated position. This position is for a Storytelling and Journalism Coordinator and this position gives NeighborLink the ability to increase our capacity while we grow as an organization, provide some phenomenal benefits to post-graduate candidates who may need a bit of space to figure out what is right for their career trajectory, and to evaluate new program areas. The right candidates will be passionate about serving their community in a real and tangible way. Below is more information on the position we are looking to fill as soon as possible. You'll be joining the NeighborLink team with two other AmeriCorp VISTA members that have recently joined our team. One is focused on Community Research and Engagement and the other is focusing on our Team NeighborLink program and also helping organize events. You'll be in great company. 

Storytelling and Journalism Coordinator 

NeighborLink at its core is a connecting organization that uses technology and story to connect neighbors wanting to help with those that are needing help. Those that need help find us and share all that they can in order to influence us to help them. Those that want to help know they want to help and will respond to the opportunity, but need to be told who needs the help, why they need it, and what can happen if they can help. We collect a lot of “data” every year and are always trying to find ways to turn that data into life giving information that influences others to action. We’re always telling the story of NL as it happens. 

We’ve been building a digital media team in the past year that includes a full-time videographer and a graphic designer/motion graphics person along with a director of communication. We’re looking to add a writer that have creative writing, journalism, and/or PR backgrounds that can join us to write stories and add depth to the content we’re creating. In addition, we’re looking for regular written pieces to come out via blogs, press releases, and long-form writing that are both telling immediate stories of neighbors we’re helping as well as trends related to the work we’re doing at a deeper level. Issues of poverty, fixed income homeowners trying to live in place, and the state of neighborhoods in local contexts. 

This has the potential to build our volunteer base, increase the depth of understanding and engagement of our existing volunteers, and increase the awareness of our organization in the public forum as being an innovative volunteer mobilization and neighborhood development organization. 

The right VISTA can expect to use their love of storytelling, writing, and research to bring out the core essence of NeighborLink. To find out more information and to apply, click on the link below:

Storytelling & Journalism Opportunity Listing


Contact us if you have specific questions. We'd love to talk to you before you apply if you have intial questions. 

Reach us: 

Megan@nlfw.org

260.209.0074