Good things happen when you give back.
This is a lesson I quickly learnt when I moved from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. I was new in the area and looking for community, for me and also for my family. The last community I expected to find a place to belong was amongst a group of soccer players – but there amongst the hustle and bustle I found it!
After signing my son up for soccer at Springwood United Football Club I quickly got involved in the canteen. I was never a soccer player, and soccer wasn’t on my list of favourite activities. But being able to get involved in a practical and helpful way was a big part of me building relationships and community, and now I couldn’t imagine my life without those crazy canteen weekends.
The relationships I have built in that community have served me in so many ways. When I’ve needed friends and closeness, to feel connected and even in my professional work.
Sometimes getting involved and giving back doesn’t immediately become obvious. In such a busy and often scary world of business, getting ahead feels like the only choice at times. However, people and community have a power that has the ability to supersede all of that competition.
Adam Grant says in his book Give & Take, “If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.” In a bit plainer language, if we only go into relationships and communities thinking about what we can get out of them, we won’t get anything. Only by building community, developing relationships and giving back to one another do we get the benefits of these things.
Working in the community also gave me more courage to go out on my own and start a business. I felt that people believed in me and the relationships I built enabled me to get genuine feedback from people who cared, giving me more self-esteem to go after what I wanted!
I found community in the unlikeliest of places and being involved in my community has been more impactful than I can describe. Now in my business I am privileged to continue to work in my local area and collaborate with other community-based businesses. I love being able to bring others into that community when they think outside of the city for their event.