Let’s Start the Conversation: What’s Your Next Community Initiative

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach

 Themes: Community, Ideation, Initiative, Volunteerism, Collaboration

Recently, I had a ‘spirited conversation without the alcohol’ with a good friend of mine, about his volunteer work, and he noted how it takes as much time as his professional endeavour.  Interestingly, we laughed about it and shared insights on the different needs in our communities, and thinking of how an initiative within our community can meet a need, make a difference in the lives of others; and transform our communities into ‘shared places’ of agape love.

The thought came, that I should continue the conversation through this medium, focusing on how we can make a difference in our communities through volunteering, and how innovative thinking and ideas can transform the way we live and interact with the people around us.

Have you been thinking about something you wanted to do to make a difference in your community?  Or how about a community organization you want to volunteer with? Getting the task started, big or small, is simple as just getting it done. Often we do not know how to start, and even when we do, we already have all the knowledge and capability we need to see it through. However, the questions to connect the dots are: have you articulated your initiative on paper? Have you gathered your small group of volunteers to get the task from ideation (initiative) to action? Have you tapped into your network to garner support for your initiative?

Having reflected on the above, you are already there, the key thrust is to strike a balance with what your interests are and what the needs of the community are. Think about how to canvass support from individuals who are ethically enthused and are interested in helping you make a difference.  Furthermore, tap into your network and explore which organizations or institutions you can partner or collaborate with to get your initiative off the ground.

The objectives you want to accomplish within the community ought to be viewed as a partnership of people, process and organization. This will be realized by tapping into resources that can be made available to help meet the business goals, community needs and volunteer satisfaction.

The biggest decision that you need to make, is what level of commitment and involvement you are willing to make; and allow others to have in your community initiative.  There need to be a two-way conversation, a consultation with partners and collaborators to create the blueprint for the community initiative, network and partnership; and articulate what the objectives of the initiative are and make them tactical, so they can be actionable and achievable.

Realistically, the world needs more people who are willing to make a difference, one individual at a time.  Don’t let the fear of failure or negating voices get in your way, before you even start.  The thoughts you have for your community initiative, is an opportunity to make that change that your community and the world needs.

The conversation that we have started, reminds us that when we volunteer be it through your community initiative, your organizations or in your own giving, we are simply effecting the promise of a better tomorrow.  I’m reminded by my own invaluable volunteering experience, that ‘service is the rent we pay for living’.

Let us become excited about our next community initiative, and the many people who will share their time and energies, working with commitment not just for the sake of giving, but they find it ethically refreshing. With your community initiative, collaboration and partnership can aid in bringing smiles to faces that once expressed hopelessness, turning them into beacons of hope and inspiration, creating better communities and a gentler world.

I am reminded of Mother Theresa’s outreach and volunteer work, and  feel that that initiatives we are doing to make a difference in our communities is like a drop in the ocean. However, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.  Let’s continue the conversation – Are you willing to be that drop today?

Related Articles:

  • Start with a Little Taste of Curiosity – whatisyourrealquestion.wordpress.com
  • How to Start that Project you been Putting Off, HR Blog Network – www.blogs.hbr.org
  • How to Start a Volunteer Program – www.inc.com

© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.

The Voice – A Tribute to Whitney Houston:1963-2012

The Voice – A Tribute to Whitney Houston: 1963-2012 – An Icon•Legend•Singer•Actor•Mother•Daughter•Friend

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
February 18, 2012

Joy, lilting charm, laughter and sheer heavenly presence as you shared with us the gift of   your  astral  voice. The years seem like only yesterday, when you captured our hearts, like an ethereal being.

You shared How Will I Know and told us to trust the feeling; you reminded us I Will Always Love You, amidst any difficulty we will definitely have an opportunity to Run to You.  You believed in the future and children, and showed us The Greatest Love of All because it happened to you.

Interestingly, you had to remind a guy friend that Your Name is not Susan, only if he knew that you had shared I Have Nothing if you don’t have you. This led us to understand Where Do Broken Hearts Go; definitely they don’t stay at Heartbreak Hotel, since you were Saving All My Love, because you Believed in You and Me.

However, it’s like a Queen of the Night you gave that amazing Star Spangled Banner performance. You shared that One Moment in Time in which you felt eternity, I knew you would be Fine, given that it was just because you said it out loud Jesus Loves Me, and it appeared All at Once.  You told us that My Love is Your Love and had the courage to have Learned From the Best, because we were reminded by you to say If My Eyes are Beautiful is because they are looking at you.

In living sometimes you wondered and asked How Will I Know, but you knew God was All the Man I Need, whom you inspiringly and profoundly expressed You Light Up My Life. You began to Exhale, because you started to Believe in You and Me, and you knew you Learned from the Best; and in saying that if I Told You That, It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay, it is because you were taking it Step by Step; and we knew it was the Same Script, Different Cast, playing out in your life.  We still powerfully believed that You Gave Good Love and reminded us I’m Your Baby Tonight.

We got So Emotional throughout the years with you, however we knew Love Will Save the Day because we’ve asked How Will I Know, and understood that maybe at time It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay you are going to make it anyway; and we will know that we can always say with you I Wanna Dance with Somebody even through life’s challenges.

I’ve often asked, Could I Have this Kiss Forever, but you noted If I Told You That, we could not have the Miracle of you being able to Try It on Your (my) Own¸ and shared with us Million Dollar Bill, because you were able to say I Did Not Know My Own Strength amidst all the questions Why Does It Hurt So Bad¸ you understood the pain, but you knew you were never going to break, you knew how to Hold On, Help is On Its Way.

You knew who your Creator was- Jesus Loves Me, as You and Mom Cissy sang it so well – I Know Him So Well. With love, tears, fear and faith you said You’ll Never Stand Alone and you were assured even through it all you spoke to God by saying I Look To You, during those final moments.

Whitney you now have that One Wish, just to be Whitney, even if We Didn’t Know, we are now giving thanks because you said When You Believe, we are assured as you are and will always be that I’m Every Woman as we experienced your rendition of My Heart Is Calling from The Preacher’s Wife.  Now we know as your fans you will be our Lover for Life even in the midst of death, we are reminded by you Don’t Cry For Me because the time you shared with us will always be.

Whitney, we take comfort because you are an inspiration – The Voice – and it Feels So Good and as you prophetically shared I Will Always Love You.

Be peace as your star continues to light up our Universe.

Rest In Peace.

© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.

Creativity: Is it cultivated or inherent?

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
February 15, 2012

Themes: creativity, creative energies, imagination and innovation

All around us are the manifestations of creativity: our gadgets, buildings, advertisement, our hobbies, interests and art forms.  Our beings exude creative energies and we feel the need to unleash our passions be they creative or inspirational, to explore, do things differently and find solutions. The fact that creativity is all around us, our very environment influences our creative thinking and we are innately creative, even if we do not often realize.

I’ve had the opportunity to explore my own creative energies, provide inspiration for creative people (direct and indirectly) through speaking engagements, consultancy, interactive sessions and in learning environments.  One of the questions I usually ask, “what do you do creatively or for fun?”  It does take adults a bit of time to think through the question before they respond, while for kids there is spontaneity and excitement to respond – from being able to draw a picture with a dog pushing a fire truck and tapping into their vast imaginative thinking of possibilities. What happened to the child in all of us?  Adults that’s a question for you!!

Creativity transcends our physical space; it involves and evolves from our (un)conscious minds and (dis)comfort zones. How does creativity happen around us then? We have to recognize that it is not static, and can result from interactions with our culture, the social system and the individual within the context of both culture and society.  Creativity can be perceived as an inherent capacity and a need of the human species that has survival value for the individual as well as the culture.

Harnessing our creativity or creative beings requires us to suspend some of our beliefs and thinking about life, and not limit our thinking about what is possible. Creativity and our ways and means of viewing, experiencing and exploring won’t all ways be congruent with our everyday living, especially if there is rigidity, restraint and pressure.  Being creative is the ability to recognize that there is curiosity; having an awareness of our beings, intentionality, flexibility, affirmation, imagination and a penchant for exploration.

Creativity, although innate requires cultivation for some individuals, we do not realize that our passions or the things that brings us the greatest joys is part and parcel of our creative being.   Individuals need to be motivated to nurture, harness and cultivate that innate passion or express their creative imaginations through various forms, being expressive (poetry), innovative (invention) or artistic (design or art).  There is an acknowledgement, then that creativity can be developed as a skill, a hobby or an interest, however a process of nurturing, guiding and managing such might be required. Creativity then can be learnt and cultivated, but it does require the tools and resources to practice and develop some amount of mastery. In empowering individuals a supportive environment is a critical aspect of the process, which allows for the creative imagination to flourish.

Creativity is the cultural counterpart of our DNA. It helps us transgress limits, self-imposed or otherwise; to challenge ourselves; and to discover talents and passions we were unaware of; and talents that are invaluable in everyday life and situations. Without creativity – inherent or cultivated – we become prisoners of the structures and thoughts of others.

Our creativity, realized or imagined, inherent or cultivated has our right to be honoured, as it is the essence of our being, which gives us the awareness and conviction, that it is part and parcel of   who we are.  We ought to celebrate, the creative energies within us, as it helps us to transgress what we would otherwise be viewed as a limitations, be it self-imposed or acculturated. Suspend those negating voices and actually see it as a celebration. It is now your creativity and imagination that is of utmost importance to the life you live every day from now on.

Related Articles:

© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.

Innovation and Community

Innovation and Community: Support for Innovation begins with Community

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
February 05, 2012

Themes:  innovation, community and creativity

Innovation in our global economy has accelerated economic transformation for the countries and regions of the world.  Innovation is an absolute imperative in our fast-paced world and creativity is the fuel that aids in enhancing our capacity to succeed economically, socially and culturally.

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without community there can be no creativity, and without creativity there would be no innovative progress, and we would forever be experiencing repetition of a mundane existence.

Innovation is the employment of creativity to introduce an idea or method; or to enhance a process that creates a new dimension to the performance of an individual, team or organization. Innovation depends on both individual and collective expertise, and it is characterised by an iterative process of people working together building on the creative ideas of one another.

Innovation is all around us, in every field of endeavour, hard or soft sciences and business, or even in our communities through entrepreneurship and technopreneurship.  How do we see community in innovation?  Is it linear, physical, social, virtual or a complex web of organizational network?  However, community is viewed, it is the fabric that stimulates a culture of innovation and provides the foundation so that individuals and organization can turn ideas into results and improve glocal communities.

Community should not only be viewed in the traditional sense, but also in contemporary context with its bedrock being the burgeoning media of existing and new forms of information and communications technologies, and social network platforms.  Communities are established daily through a complex network or simple exchanges within a virtual and/or physical setting.   Community have now transcended the physical structures of organizations and institutions [of learning], which were at some juncture, viewed as inhibitors to creativity and innovation.

Community shares a sense of commonality, values and shapes identity, and fosters cohesiveness that provides a springboard for collaboration that subsequently creates a metissage for ideation and creativity. Community create environments or outlets for our pretensions, which allows for the creative genius to be stimulated, so an idea can emerge that leads to innovation, making it easier to get to market, provoke candor and thought on how an idea can contribute to enhancing our well-being.

Innovation needs community to foster structure, create a place to support innovmaginative ideas and possibilities. In the article titled Developing Communities of Innovation by Identifying Innovation Champions by Coates and Smith (2007); champions of innovation are effective agents for forming Communities of Innovation (CoI) from social networks that transcends organisational internal boundaries.  The creation of these communities can potentially trigger more successfully supported innovations.

Within community there is room to celebrate autonomy; however it is a sense of trust within communities that will aid in harnessing the creativity, and all who are partners in the quest to be innovative. Inspiring a culture of community will foster a spirit of discovery, which allows ideas to take shape, discover new techniques and ways to meet our innate desires and unmet needs for our today and tomorrows.

© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.

The Idea Riot

The Idea Riot

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach

February 03, 2012

theme: creativity + thinking + problem solving

When was the last time you or your organization looked at problem-solving as a brainstorming session!!  Let us suggest instead, an idea riot.  The creative imagination gives us the insight to think outside the box or even be on the periphery of greatness with solutions, but how do you or your organization embrace it.

We are wired to believe that the mindset that creates the problem will be the one that solve it, well that’s wrong.  A couple questions should be asked: Who is experiencing the problem? and what created it?  These are perspectives that the idea riot can explore to bring solutions.

Idea riot views the problem as a complex sub-set of processes that do not allow innovation and creativity as a part of group thinking.  Group thinking in idea riot is as individual as it is a collective, however at the heart of it all, is how we think.

I am not proposing a think-tank in the traditional sense, where you have to meet exhaustively to think through the problem.  No, idea riot allow members to bring divergent and convergent thinking to the process of problem solving, by viewing ideas as composites of an irreverent approach. Fluidity and fluency, relies on how malleable we are and our willingness to bring responses to the problem or ‘mess’ as we see it. Flexibility and adaptability, impacts our mindset to shift in to different gears and allows for spontaneity.

The idea riot embraces originality of thought, identify commonality with group thinking, but employs novel thinking and sensitivity to problem solving by redefining the ‘mess’.  Idea riot is not about urgency, it’s about: ideation, exploration, unconventional wisdom, mind-shifting and creativity – along with how we view and embrace problems.

How do we start and idea riot? That’s not the question….darn!  When will you begin an idea riot?


© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.