Column: How can our community best react to constant change?
Sense of Community
What is a life coach doing typing around in a column titled Sense of Community? Can the personal support systems offered by coaching be infused to a community as a whole?
I propose that, just as an individual can discover and develop with the help of a life coach, so too, can coaching nurture the multi-faceted energy we call this community of Grand County. The challenges of a single personality most definitely mirror the roadblocks of our collective. It is my intention to employ the techniques of life coaching to help make sense of our community in this monthly column.
The concept “sense of community” has long been a local buzz-phrase in Grand County. Over many years, this familiar term has been included in multiple planning documents, political debates, community surveys, vision statements, news stories, bar talk and everyday conversation. Strong emotions and opinions are coupled with pondering, professing and protecting the personal ideals matched with this expression.
The varied values connected to sense of community are most often locked in the thoughts of each individual who expound the words and are made evident only in their personal choices and subsequent actions. Examining the common aspects of these choices can serve to clarify our collective sense of community and inspire our group actions in the future.
Life coaching explores questions. Where are we now, where do we want to be, and what actions do we choose to get there? These essential coaching queries can be reviewed and clarified not only by individuals interested in personal growth, but also, by our county seeking to make sense of our community. So, let the sense making, examining, questioning, communicating, expressing, and growth begin with authentic dialogue intent on supporting ourselves and our county with life/community coaching.
Where are we now? Is that not evident? You and Grand County are in a cycle of constant change. If it is not the pine beetles chewing our butts, it is our local newspaper changing our familiar periodical format.
These are examples of change that most of us did not foresee. Come to think of it, significant change very often sneaks up on us with our hindsight being the only clear vision we have. As much as we know that change is the only thing on which we can depend, we frequently freak out when it happens.
Where do we want to be? We want to be in control. We want to be rid of these uncomfortable alterations about which you have not been consulted. We want relief from the fear of life’s unknowns. This is where the “shoulds” start flying. I should, you should, we should, everyone else should do this and that about omnipresent change.
What actions do you choose to get where you want to be? Shoulds, by nature, will never be actions. There is no forward motion with shoulds, causing great stress and discontent. Without action, our desires will not be realized. With action, you can invest your energy, match your values, face your fear, and make a difference.
If you are distressed by the environment-changing beetles, what actions can you choose to take? Choose to learn about and contribute to the community protection planning, protect your property by spraying and cutting, create a neighborhood maintenance effort, or more. About our newly-formatted newspaper, you can choose to write a letter to the editor or phone the Grand County News office with your ideas, needs, and opinions.
These are actions.
Through action you will simultaneously challenge and create change. If you choose to take no action, then you have, in fact, made a choice. So, stop shoulding on yourself and others. Move forward to the next change, which will be just around the corner ” you can depend on that.
When faced with change, ask the important questions, recognize your shoulds, examine your possibilities, choose your responsible actions (sorry, bulldozers are passe), and structure your choices to happen to the best of your ability.
For yourself and your community, choose action over shoulds.
” Marianne Klancke is a certified professional coach, CPC, and a group development facilitator with a bachelor’s in speech communication and sociology. Klancke spent her past 36 years benefiting from and contributing to the unique sense of community experienced here in Grand County.
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