I grew this sunflower years ago and captured this picture of a giant bumblebee on the flower. I now use this picture as my blog’s signature image. It represents my Kansas roots as well as growth.
As a Kansas girl transplanted to Arkansas, I have spent my life with the appreciation of farmers and the amazing blessings that each harvest brings. Seeds are planted, things grow, and food for people or livestock is then harvested.
Let’s look at this idea of “harvest” from a different angle. We grow more than fruit, vegetables and grains, right? Let’s talk about how we grow and “harvest” both leaders and a community. In my opinion and experience, harvesting leaders and community go hand-in-hand and hold similar ideas.
The key to developing both community and leaders is the idea of investing in people. Sometimes this investment means money, but money is a means to an end. Investing also means believing in, focusing on, and developing individuals.
First, I will share my own story of investing in people then challenge all of us to find what this idea of harvesting leaders and community means for each of us.
For me, investing in others happens in two key ways:
Helping people better understand who they are and what that means for their lives, and
Building relationships through compassionate listening and discovering common ground.
Life Action Plan
The first point is part of my Life Action Plan that I developed through becoming certified as an advisor for the Inseitz Group Women’s Empowerment Initiative. My Life Action Plan speaks to helping all people, but has a specific focus on women.
For me, this plan has three major components. The first component is the spiritual side and involves my work with the Captivating Heart Women’s Retreat ministry where we talk about our true identity in Christ.
The second component is with the Women’s Empowerment Initiative where we work with women to develop themselves in 10 key character principles that create to authentic success. This component involves women who are my peers and older than I am.
The third component is through my business, Jamie’s Notebook, and addresses future industry leaders. I recently realized I needed to hire writers to help with a specific project and decided to hire interns from the University of Arkansas. No one on my new team had done the style of writing I needed so it’s meant teaching them, coaching them and encouraging them to assess their existing skills and utilize those in a different way.
The second point, finding common ground to work on building relationships, is something that is less defined for me. I’ve realized recently that my personal role in this is encouraging people to listen to each other’s stories to better understand each other. My current focus for the “listen to each other” idea is focuses on developing a better understanding of racism, as well as life with a disability and/or chronic illness.
I believe that when we better understand each other and develop compassion for each other, we will be more adept at finding common ground. Through common ground, we can find community. Community must be more than simply a common interest. It must have intent and a focus on building each other up.
Think of our community with Arkansas Women Bloggers and The Women Bloggers. Sure, we all are bloggers in some form and that’s our common ground. But, we work to build each other up instead of competing with each other. Through Stephanie and others, we’ve created a community that is more than just a group of bloggers. It’s a group of women invested in each other’s futures.
This t-shirt was available at the Megaphone Summit. It is the epitome of our group.
What’s your story?
You’ve kindly read my story and how this idea of harvesting leaders and community applies to my life. Now I want to know your story. How do you think we harvest leaders? How do we harvest community? I challenge you to think about how to accomplish. Do you agree that it’s all about investing in people? Then tell your story of what that means for your life.
Jamie has been blogging in one form or another since 2005 and now blogs over at Jamie’s Thots. She lives in Elkins with her husband John, and their four fur kids. Jamie is also a professional writer and speaker through her business Jamie’s Notebook. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest where all her handles are @JamiesThots. Headshot by Linda Richards Photography.