How important is community?

I've lived in the same town—Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, UK—for over 20 years. It's the longest I've lived anywhere. And I don't know if it's because this is where I started a family, or if it's the vibe of the place itself, but I quickly came to love the place.

I'm known for investing heavily in my relationships. And that's as true for the people of my town as it is for my close friends and family.

I'm inclined to whip out my controller (decks for anyone older than 40!) at the flip of a record when a local group needs a DJ for a cause that's close to my heart. (Subject to availability, of course! 😉)

Community cohesion is massive to me. Just as at a private party where my heart beats at the sight of inter-generational mingling with everyone on the dancefloor, I love bringing the diverse people of the local community together to celebrate the miracle of life.

My neighbourhood recently lost an important linchpin—my close neighbour and friend, in fact—Dan accross the road. He and his family were that family who are the ones lucky streets have to ignite their street parties. Whilst it's true that everyone loves a good ol' street party, and they're rarely short of volunteers to chip in with cakes, entertainment, music (that's me), bouncy castles, etc, it takes that one special person or family to bring everyone together and make it happen. My own street's street-party linchpin passed away this month. A painful shock for his family and friends, and a huge loss for our immediate community.

I regularly hear b'mitzvah families sharing a summary of their previous 12 or 13-year life stories—how it came to be that they managed to get their kid through the first 12 or 13 years of life. It's never a straight line trajectory of development and growth. There're always bumps along the way. And it's rarely a one-person effort. There's usually a mini army of family, friends, and community who've helped get them there.

So my investment in my community is not purely altruistic. As my BNI family know all too well, "Givers Gain®" is the philosophy, just like the Golden Rule, karma, and "what goes around comes around" where you get back what you put in.

And any improvement in my wonderful community directly benefits me and my nearest and dearest.


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