camelon, coach, community, leadership, Our Place, Support, tamfourhill

Why bother?

Community Coach Blog, Dan Rous, 15 July 2021

For someone who is usually pretty positive, that may sound like a strange title for a blog. But this isn’t a rant or a whinge – it’s a rallying call to get involved.

Be honest though. How many times have you said something along the lines of “why bother” or “why should I do that ‘insert nice thing’ when it’s just going to become undone” or “why should I help them”. Maybe you’ve even said of others “why are they bothering doing that” or “what’s the point in them helping those ‘insert description here‘ people.” Or even “how is that getting sorted over there but not here”.

Doing good can by tiring when faced with constant negativity. Doing good can really grate when you see your good work undone or put down by others.

So why bother? Why? Because it’s the right thing to do and because it may well be the only way to bring positive change to our local area. So when John and I or any other group in this area gives an opportunity to get involved in something in the local area that will work towards that positive change, let’s jump forward together and not just leave it to the usual people. If we don’t, we will continue to hear, as has been said many times, that this is the land that time forgot.

I completely understand that getting involved in community enhancing activities is hard work and can be extremely draining both mentally and physically. There is an expectation that others (especially the council) should be doing things but times have changed (maybe not for the better but we are where we are). I completely understand that it’s very easy to get drawn into a discussion on social media about problems in the area and it is right that those problems are highlighted. But while a discussion on social media may feel good and give a good platform to rant, it is not the way to get things sorted. I completely understand though that when you stand up to try to make a positive change, you are also putting yourself up on the firing line and sometimes that can feel a lonely place.

So why bother? Andy March said “If you’re kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you’re successful, you’ll win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway”. What a great message that essentially says forget what anyone else will say or think. If you think this is the right way forward and will bring positive change to the community then go for it.

Why shouldn’t we bother? Why shouldn’t we do kind things because it’s the right thing to do? Why shouldn’t we become successful in our area? And if we’re not physically able to get involved, why shouldn’t we cheer on those who are having a go?

This is a good point in this blog to actually say thank you to those who are bothering. Those who see an opportunity and grasp it, rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to get involved. Those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Those who are willing to take on extra training to be able to be involved in something. Those who will ask questions to get positive action. Those who truly believe that the only way to make a difference is to actually make a difference.

Carl Beech said “It seems to me that far too often, rather than cheer each other on we seem to provoke each other more to angst and stimulate rows rather than love and good stuff. … I think it’s more than what we say but what we do as well. On one of the marathons I ran (plodded around) I put my name on the front of my tee. All the way round total strangers were yelling out “Come on Beechy!!! Go on son!!!” It was amazing. I’m sure they put an extra 5 miles in the tank just by cheering me on. Similarly, when I see people being gracious, generous in words and actions – it provokes me to want to do the same and lifts my head and heart up to something higher. When people are sarcastic, mocking or argumentative – in the same way it can lower your head and drag you down.”

So what can we do about it? Beechy asks the following questions which I think are good for all of us, including me, to consider: “What do I/you provoke more? The good or the bad? When did I/you last cheer someone on? Do I/we bump my/our gums moaning all the time or does what comes out of my/our mouth encourage people with generous words? Does my/your actions provoke people to good stuff or not?

Challenging questions there but they are well worth considering if we’re serious about making this community an even better place. I am well known for banging on about the good things happening in the area. I am well known for championing our area for the people, organisations and activities that are going on – often under the radar. People from other areas are beginning to sit up and take note. People from outwith our community are beginning to see what can happen when people come together for positive change. Have we sorted all the issues out yet? No, far from it. There is a lot of work to do. But if we keep looking to the problems as problems, that will be all we see. Maybe if you are looking only at the problems, how about considering how you could get involved to try to help turn things around for those involved in those issues. Maybe they just need a chance to be involved themselves?

To use Beechy’s analogy from earlier on, “Let’s keep running the marathon and cheer each other on along the way.” I’m going to bother – what about you?

Until next time…

Dan Rous, Community Coach

07444 873151 communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk

camelon, coach, collaboration, community, development, Our Place, resilience, Support, tamfourhill, training

Festive Thoughts

When you read this blog I’ll have signed off for 2020. And what a year it has been! I may have started in this role during lockdown, but back then in May, none of us would have thought we’d still be in this situation with so much restriction on our lives.

The pandemic and subsequent limitation on movement and activity have certainly had a massive negative impact on my plans within this role but I know that is nothing to how it has negatively impacted everyone’s lives and actually, it’s not been all bad – there has actually been some positivity. Here’s a couple of lists:

Things I’ve not been able to do:

  • Deliver training courses.
  • Have groups come together to network, share expertise and learn from each other.
  • Run information and planning sessions.
  • Deliver 1-1 coaching.
  • Run big events.
  • Meet with many people in real life.

Things I have been able to do:

  • Develop training courses including partnerships with training providers.
  • Understand more about the actual community needs.
  • Support 32 local organisations with various information and guidance.
  • Develop valuable contacts for future local benefit across various projects.
  • Create a Community Growing Group.
  • Host pop up Cycle Repair Workshops.
  • Prepare for a Recycle a Bicycle donation scheme for January.
  • Begin to put Camelon and Tamfourhill back on the map for positive reasons.

There’s probably more for both lists but that will do for now! Essentially what I’m trying to say as much to myself as everyone else is that it’s not been all bad. In fact, the opposite is true – there has been a lot of good going on in the community. Groups have responded to a growth of need. Plans have been quickly put into place for new or enhanced projects. People have looked to how they can strengthen their own futures through learning new skills. Others have gained a new understanding about what actually happens in this community by the fact they have actually spent time in the area during the day. Foundations have been laid for so much more in the new year.

So despite the heartache, difficulty, stress and loss that many have faced in this area over 2020 (for which my thoughts and sympathies are freely given), I am full of hope for 2021 and beyond. More than that, I am excited for the possibilities of what is ahead. I hope that you will come with us on this journey.

I wish you and yours a very happy and safe Christmas, and look forward to working with you all in what will hopefully be a peaceful and more positive 2021.

Dan Rous,
Community Coach,
communitycoach@tamfourhilltro.co.uk
07444 873151

camelon, Christmas, coach, community, development, Our Place, resilience, safety, Support, tamfourhill, training

Naughty or Nice

Apparently this year there is no naughty list! Or so some advertisers would have you think. It seems that because of everything we’ve been through, Santa doesn’t have a naughty list!

Okay, it’s just a cheap marketing line but rather than thinking about whether we’re going to get presents from Santa or not this year (I hope you do!), I thought about how we see things around us – naughty or nice? Or in other words, do you focus on the negative stuff around you, or the positive?

For many years, I have been accused of being too positive! Firstly, let me tell you that this is not always true and my family and closest friends will agree wholeheartedly with that! In fact I started writing this on a day when I wasn’t feeling as positive as normal. But actually, whether I’m feeling positive or negative, I am wired up so that I want to encourage others which often comes across as being positive. Whatever way round you want to take that, it’s just how I see life. I just choose to see the good around and focus on that, rather than being sucked down by the bad things around. And I make no apologies for that. It’s actually hard work, but it’s who I am.

You see, the more we focus on the naughty/bad/negative stuff around us, the more we get sucked into a naughty/bad/negative way of thinking. Yet a nice/good/positive focus can help us to shift the thought process, to ways through whatever you are seeing. If it helps, John highlighted some of the recent positive things in the community in his blog this week.

This is not to deny that bad stuff is around. It is not to pretend there are no issues. It is not to avoid dealing with difficult things. But it is to attempt to focus on your own life, your own opportunities and by living a better way, attempt to show those who focus on the negativity just how they can do the same. So if I say that we live in a great place, I genuinely mean that, because there are some amazing people in our community who want to make positive change for themselves and others. That doesn’t make the issues go away. But it’s a start.

Nick Vujicic is an Australian motivational speaker who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome which basically means he has no arms or legs. He made the choice to be positive in his life, not despite his physical issues but because of them. He said this:

You can be angry for what you don’t have or be thankful for what you do have

This positive thinking is not being naïve. It is not ignoring issues or circumstances whether personal to you or things around you. It is not believing that any bad stuff around you will just vanish if you’re positive. No. But it is a step to making your life and your community better because of the way you choose to focus. As Nick Vujicic says, being thankful for what you do have.

Lets take a few moments away from my writings and have a listen to this from another motivational speaker, American Steve Harvey.

So yes, we have many issues in our community that need dealing with. Crime. Drugs. Poverty. Unemployment. That’s just four. We cannot and will not ignore them. But there is one element of community that can help us move forwards and drive positive change. That element is YOU!

There’s a fancy title for this way of working called Asset Based Community Development – we’ll talk about this more in the new year. We have many assets in our community and the biggest asset is the people. I may have only lived in the area since the summer of 2016, but I have met a lot of people who are amazing and have so much to offer to this community. Many of them are doing that already to great effect, but some are just on the first rung of the ladder and that’s okay because you have to start somewhere. The journey will be different for every resident but as long as we all keep moving forward and focusing on the good things around, then we will make a positive difference.

So who’s going to join me on this journey towards positive change? Will you focus on the naughty or nice?