I’ve lived in Detroit for the majority of my life, but for most of those years, I had never visited the Motown Museum. I even owned a home just a few blocks away but couldn’t seem to find the time to visit. Finally, I was asked to be a chaperone on a field trip with some young people who were in my care. I was completely taken aback by the richness of culture, history, and inspiration that lived between those old walls.
One thing struck me in particular. The tour guide told a story about how the Gordy family pooled all of their money in a jar. Even the children had to contribute. Anyone could make the case for why they needed to borrow from that money jar and the family had the power to deny or grant the request. Berry Gordy made a pitch to borrow $800 to start a record company. The family approved his request and that is how Motown Records was born.
This powerful story makes me think of how we often forget to leverage the beauty and resources that are right around us. Not only institutions like the Motown Museum, but the people we have access to every day. I call this community capital because when we choose who we spend time with wisely, they add so much value to our lives.
Here are a few strategies to support you as you consider how to leverage the strengths of your community in a way where you all win.
Experience Feedback. Image having something that you want to release into the world, but you are not sure if the way that it plays out perfectly in your mind will translate in real life. I felt this way when I launched my coaching business. I asked five women who had reached out to me for advice, guidance, or mentoring at some point if I could practice my one-on-one and group coaching approach that I was developing with them for six months free of charge. That was the best money I never made. Not only did they help me to learn what worked and what didn’t, they proved that my concept could lead to huge breakthroughs and shifts in their personal and professional lives. I had suspected this, but I wasn’t certain until they showed me.
How might you get feedback on a project or idea that you are working on by engaging the people around you in a way that gives them value in return?
Collaborative Problem Solving. When I studied Restorative Practices, I was intrigued by a strategy that they taught us called the problem-solving fishbowl. Imagine a large circle of people sitting outside of the figurative glass of a fishbowl as active observers. Inside of the outer circle or fishbowl you see a smaller circle with four chairs. One chair is occupied by someone who has shared a challenge that they need support with solving, two of the chairs are occupied by people giving rapid fire suggestions, and one chair is left empty in case someone from the outer circle wants to pop in and offer advice, then return to their station as observer. Everything is very timed and structured. By the end, the person who volunteered to share their challenge has a long list of possibilities to consider and is encouraged to choose one.
How might you recreate a variation of this with your peer group or mastermind to help you think through challenges that you are facing in your personal or professional life?
Collective Ideation. Think of something you are planning. Imagine writing the description of it at the top of a sheet of paper and passing it around a circle where everyone gets two minutes to jot down ideas that will help you execute that plan. When they have finished, they continue to pass it on to the next person to do the same. This can also be done virtually using a shared document app like Jam Board. At the end, when you receive your paper or return to your board, it is filled with innovative ideas that you never could have imagined on your own. You have also added value by contributing your ideas to the plans of your peers.
How might you leverage the experience or diversity of thought of your peer group to give you fresh perspectives and ideas?
These are all very practical examples and activities, but there also are tons of informal ways that you can benefit from the treasure that is all around you. There is power in proximity. Who are the assets that you have access to? How might you collaborate or communicate to support one another in reaching your goals and living in alignment with your core values? This is my challenge to you this week. Reap the return of your community capital.
I am adding expertise and extracting value in my community.
I am inviting community care as a part of my self-care plan.
I am a contributing member of a generous and giving community.
Master Your Mindset to Manifest a Life You Love. Most Sincerely, Monica Marie Jones Your Soul Journey Guide