13 ways to THRIVE in community

Our attention creates our reality.  The more I complain, the more I swirl around in a trap of negativity.  The more I appreciate what I have, the more I swirl in wonderful places, with wonderful people, doing wonderful things.  I get more of what I put my attention to.

This notion came front and center at the Community Planning Association of Alberta Conference this week as I listened to Alberta MLA (and Conservative Party leadership candidate) Doug Griffiths speak about thirteen ways to kill a community.  I was struck by his list of things that cause harm, his list of what NOT to do.

Griffiths’ 13 ways to kill a community:

  1. Don’t have good quality and quantity of water
  2. Don’t attract business that competes with yours
  3. Don’t involve young people
  4. Don’t assess community needs
  5. Don’t shop elsewhere
  6. Don’t paint
  7. Don’t cooperate
  8. Live in the past
  9. Ignore your seniors
  10. Do nothing new
  11. Ignore immigrants and newcomers
  12. Don’t become complacent
  13. Don’t take ownership

Knowing what not to do can be useful.  It is nice and clear and allows me the opportunity to easily notice if my actions (or inactions as the case may be) are harmful.  Yet hearing what I shouldn’t do does not provide clear guidance about what to do instead. I still need to know what to do, so being explicit about what to do is critical.  It isn’t good enough to know what doesn’t work.  I have re-framed his speech.  Drawing from his work, here’s my take on thirteen ways to thrive in community:

  1. Provide good quality and quantity of water
  2. Welcome competing business
  3. Create ways for young people own problems, solutions and action
  4. Notice good things everywhere
  5. Choose local businesses first (and be a business that people want to choose first)
  6. Be proud of where you live and look after your place. (Keep things clean and tidy.)
  7. Support what others are doing and work together
  8. Live in today for the future
  9. Engage seniors everywhere
  10. Try new things (and welcome risk)
  11. Welcome and cultivate the “anything and everything is possible” spirit of newcomers
  12. Be active and vibrant
  13. Assume personal responsibility and ownership of your place

I just heard the banquet supervisor with his staff as they are cleaning and setting up the tables for the next meal.  He’s nice and clear on what to do.  He’s setting his community up for success: “Work on one table at a time, rather than spreading out.”

One thought on “13 ways to THRIVE in community”

  1. Beth-

    My sentiments exactly; thank you for rephrsing these in a positive way – we need to spread your clear and positive prases far and wide – and yes; they look pretty much like ACE Communities values and action!

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