Commentary: There’s no me in community


How big of a stone can you push by yourself? You can probably move a 10-pound rock, maybe even a 50-pound rock all by yourself. But, can you move a mountain? Go ahead and try, I can wait. It is a little tricky, right? Moving mountains takes more than just one person; it takes a community. 

What do mountains have to do with business? Well, achieving spectacular business feats like huge events, fundraising, increasing customer foot traffic down a street of stores, is a lot like moving mountains. It is not easy, and it requires the help of a community. This community is made up of people like your business neighbor next door, the one across the street, and the one at the edge of town.  Luckily for us, there is no better place to rally a community than in a small town like Atascadero. If you could move a mountain with a community, what else could you accomplish?

Moving mountains, and accomplishing new things is great, in theory, but what should you do if the mountain is not particularly relevant to you? Maybe that big event, project, fundraiser, etc. does not seem like it directly impacts you or your business. Should you still put yourself out there to help? Absolutely! Moving mountains is beneficial for you and your business, for the following three reasons.

First, assisting others in mountain moving gives you the opportunity to create new and stronger relationships within the business community. These relationships may become an essential part of equipping your business for success and growth.

Second, when your neighbor flourishes, the community at large starts to thrive. A healthy community has a greater capacity to shop and spend time volunteering. This means you could see a higher return in sales and customer engagement.

Lastly, when you build relationships with your neighbors moving their mountains, you strengthen your personal community that can help you push your own.

There is a common fear that I hear voiced time and time again when it gets time to move mountains, “I can’t help like, Business Person A, B, and C. So, I shouldn’t help at all.” This makes me cringe every single time I hear it. Of course, you will not be able to help precisely like your neighbor! The wonderful thing is that no one expects you to. Everyone brings unique skills and abilities to these big projects. No one expects you to help exactly like your neighbor. In fact, some of the most stubborn and challenging mountains are only moved when the community brings a wide variety of skills and expertise to the table.

Alright, now that you are ready to move dozens of mountains with your community, what can you do to get started? Begin by stepping outside your door. Trust me; you cannot move mountains from your couch. Then, be on the lookout for opportunities you can participate. Get ready to collaborate with your neighbors on how together you can move some mountains. It is incredible what a business community can do when they work together.

However, it is not enough to just participate; you must be willing to initiate. You may be the only one that sees mountains that need moving to make room for cool opportunities. If you do not speak out, those opportunities and possibilities could go missed hurting the entire community in the process. Talk with your neighbor, speak out at meetings, and help others see the mountain. Only then can a community rally behind you to start pushing. 

There is no “me” in community. Atascadero’s success depends on the teamwork of its business professionals and leaders. When we all work as a community, there is no telling the kinds of mountains we can move.

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