I had a different topic planned for this week’s edition of Primility.
It will have to wait.
Ever since the conclusion of today’s U.S. Presidential inauguration, I have been unable to focus on anything but the stirring poem recited by Amanda Gorman.
If you missed it, watch it here.
(You can read the transcript here, but it’s much better to hear it performed first.)
While Gorman’s message of national unity is not explicitly germane to our discussion of servant leadership and community commerce, there are a few sections of her poem that do stand out as being applicable to the work we’re doing as community builders and leaders.
A good community brings harmony to the lives of its members.
One section of the poem deals with the imperfections of the American experiment. While we will never have a perfect union, Gorman says we can strive to “forge a union with purpose.”
This is, of course, what we’re trying to do with our communities: be purposeful in bringing people together into a union that is beneficial for all members.
Gorman goes on to say:
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between usAmanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
These words offer a reminder of the incredible opportunity and responsibility we have as community leaders.
There is so much in the world that divides people and causes harm. But folks like you and I who are dedicated to bringing people together in communities can help close the divide.
We do this by focusing on what unites people and by delivering online spaces that bring harmony and a brighter future to all members.
A community leader’s success is determined by the number of bridges they build
There are many ways to assess the success of your community.
- Authority built.
- Revenue generated.
- Competitors defeated.
But only one criteria really matters: how many connections did you facilitate?
That’s ultimately what matters, along with helping your members achieve whatever personal transformation they’re striving for.
Just remember that those two ideas that go hand in hand, because meaningful transformations are oftentimes only possible with the influence and interaction of other people.
I thought about this as I listened to Gorman read these lines:
If we’re to live up to our own timeAmanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
Building bridges between people and their goals, and between people and other people, is the essence of what we do as community leaders.
If we stay focused on the bridge building, the other stuff will come. If we don’t, we might end up with something that isn’t really a community after all.
And finally, a note about balancing pride and humility, straight from the text of the poem:
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
In other words: having pride in being something is one thing, but having the humility to actually be a part of something is quite another.
I’ll let you decide how this might apply to your own personal journey as a community builder.
For me, it’s all about remembering that my work as a community leader is never complete. No matter how pleased I may be with the present status of a community, there is always more to be learned and more to be done.
And that’s a hill I remain so very enthusiastic about climbing.
My thanks for Amanda Gorman for her beautiful, profound words. Any my thanks to you for reading this week’s edition of Primility..
Please consider forwarding it to a friend who wants to be a better servant leader and build a strong online community.