Moving Beyond Work: 3 Ways to Build Authentic Community

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Article 15 of 15 in Series: Perspectives on Work, Worth and Faith


Once again, I am thankful for Samantha, Sephton, Octavia, Libby, Seun, Joshua, Rohan, Toyin, Nana, Ricardo, Nakita, Nadine, John and April sharing their experiences and advice on career growth, finances, disability, job loss, growing a business, burnout and more for this series. As I wrap up, I must emphasize there are so many more perspectives I wanted to explore:

Dozie and Temi, both working in the technology industry. They enjoy the opportunity to grow, learn, and create for their clients, the flexibility of their work environment and enjoy working with their teams. Dozie, working in a startup culture, enjoys the freedom and Temi, working in tech consulting, enjoys creating software for different industries. Both expressed that time management and keeping up with new technologies is the one of the most challenging and exciting parts of their work. 

Adam, the director of a camp and retreat centre for a Christian non-profit organization that seeks to meet the needs of people in practical ways that ultimately demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ through action. The organization runs a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, a summer camp for children and youth who may not otherwise be able to afford it, a childcare centre, offers counseling and other programs. As the Camp Director, Adam often holds the responsibility of keeping a camp with approximately 600 kids and 50 staff running, with the desire and belief that God will transform the lives of the children and youth they serve each year.

Madison, who works as a scanning assistant in health care regulation. Her position involves processing and digitizing the applications of nurses who want to work in her region. Her role requires a lot of routine administrative tasks, which sometimes leads her to forget how God uses her job, not just for her own fulfillment, but for broader society. I am hopeful that as we face this global pandemic in 2020, and see the impact of and on our healthcare workers (some of whose applications she may have processed or digitized), it reminds her that her role is important.

What other perspectives would these four individuals have brought to the table? What unique perspectives do you bring to the table? I want to hear from you.

Surround Yourself

Each person is still growing, learning and has multiple perspectives to share. We all do. We need to make a practice of sharing these with each other.

I’ve learned so much from each person I’ve spoken with, not only during these focused discussions but from being a part of their lives in a minimal or substantial way. Some I’ve known only for a few months, others, I’ve known for many years. Each person is still growing, learning and has multiple perspectives to share. We all do. We need to make a practice of sharing these with each other.

“An important thing to keep in mind as you go through life is to surround yourself with models, mentors and elders who can see further down the road than you can.”

I would like to finish with the words of my dear friend Wendell, an immigrant from Ghana and now an Assistant Professor of History at McGill University. We’ve discussed many of his experiences at Yale University where he received his doctorate and at Harvard University where he lectured for a time. He specializes in post-reconstruction US history, African American history, chattel slavery in the Atlantic world and African Diaspora history. 

I didn’t know many of the things I know now and I think that sometimes, innocence and ignorance can be a gift from God. Your shoulders have to be broad enough to carry these things, because you can’t unknow something. There is no forgetting.

I try to strike a balance between speaking and writing. I do believe that life and death is in the power of the tongue, so I’m careful about how I speak or how often I speak about something. I try to limit the things that I have to say. Writing allows me to package the connections I’ve made to inform and inspire others. Teaching allows me to help young people think critically about life, world events and the past.

Seeing the world as it is reminds you how dis-empowered you are but it also reminds you that there is nothing you can do in your finite human capacity. It requires the supernatural, a work of god. An important thing to keep in mind as you go through life is to surround yourself with models, mentors and elders who can see further down the road than you can.”

December, 2019
We Are All Connected

The purpose of this series was to share: share wisdom and experiences for the benefit of others. Here are 3 things I hope this series will inspire you to start or continue. I believe these are crucial for many parts of life, not just work.

Talk to each other. Speaking with each other provides perspective, even comfort. Some of us feel alone. Maybe you will find out that you are more similar than you think. Some of us are ignorant of the lives and challenges of others. Maybe you will learn to empathize with and appreciate the journey of another.

Learn from each other. There is always something to learn. As humans, we do not know all or have the power to do all. Each person is gifted differently and our experiences differ to some degree, regardless of how similar they may appear to be. In talking with each other, we can learn how others overcame obstacles. We can learn new or different ways of thinking. We can learn to support each other, even if we are completely unfamiliar with their areas of expertise or concern.

Remember we are all connected. We all share the human experience. We are all born into this world and have limited chances to escape death. Let us prioritize humility, empathy and embrace the power in community over isolation (Eccl. 4:9-12).


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