[00:00:00] Lucas Root: Welcome to Elements of Community Podcast about discovering and exploring the elements of community. I am Lucas Root and each week we talk with a community leader about what makes their community thrive and bring value to both the leaders and the members. Join me as we unpack the magic of the Elements of Community.
[00:00:40] Let’s talk about a tale of two communities. One of them is a real story. It’s a hundred percent real. Painfully. So the other is an idealized version of an alternate universe where this exact same input could have resulted in very different outputs.
[00:01:07] It’s gonna be obvious as I tell it, my wife and I in what should have been a moment of relative glory. Several years into our marriage, got to the point where we were ready to buy a house. We bought a house in New Jersey. We moved in. We threw a party, we bought new furniture. We were delighted.
[00:01:32] After about six months of living there, our health had been steadily declining. We were seeking solutions. We were seeking experts to help us understand what was going on with our health. It was both of us, which suggested that it probably was environmental. We went to all of the top environmental doctors in the New York, New Jersey area.
[00:01:58] Truly, all of them, we spent it virtual small fortune. On the other end of it, we had received diagnosis like, you are addicted to heroin. You have the metabolism of a 90 year old man.
[00:02:21] You obviously have brain issues. None of those were accurate or useful or maybe accurate in the sense that it told us where we were at that moment, but it didn’t help us arrive at a solution to that problem. Who cares if my metabolism is equal to a 90 year old man? Give me the solution, and in this case, the solution is only useful if you also understand the problem.
[00:02:50] It took us another month or two to self diagnose the problem, which we did mostly by accident. It was a diagnosis of elimination. It can’t be this, It’s not that. It can’t be this, It’s not that. That leaves us with only one thing. Well, if it’s true, If that one thing is in fact accurately the problem, there’s a way to test that.
[00:03:16] So my wife and I got up out of the house and went on an extended vacation in San Diego cuz at the time we were living in New Jersey, we arrived in San Diego and within two days, without making any other meaningful changes in our life, we started to feel better. And by the end of the first week, We knew that that diagnosis of elimination was accurate or at least something about it.
[00:03:43] So we went back to New Jersey, staying in our house, going back to the place where environmentally, the suggestion here is that, we were putting ourselves in harm’s way, and in fact, in hindsight, that’s correct. And went back to those same specialists and shared with them our diagnosis, our reasoning, our logic, our approach, and asked them to help us solve it.
[00:04:11] And those same specialists said the same thing they had the first time around. You must be addicted to heroin. There’s something wrong with your brain. You have the metabolism of a 90 year old man. Needless to say, we fired our doctors, we also left the house, lost our jobs, and spent the next year trying to recover.
[00:04:36] It was devastating. We lost an enormous amount of money. We lost money and equity in our house. We lost the down payment. The bank foreclosed. We spent money on Airbnbs because we couldn’t even rent an apartment with a recent foreclosure on our records. We spent money on doctors. We spent money on food, and neither one of us was able to work or earn a living.
[00:05:01] A year later, I was finally in a position where I could land a job and start the business that I now run. We were not in the house anymore. Our brains were starting to turn back on. We were starting to be able to be some sort of real human, and the entire problem was mold hidden black mold that we could not see in the house that we had purchased and moved into in, as I mentioned, what should have been a moment of glory, a moment of wonderful happiness, a moment of stepping into truly what we thought of as the American dream, and instead we were stepping into our own nightmares.
[00:05:49] Now, let me tell you an alternate version. Let’s say that the same inputs existed. We bought the house, we moved in, we got mold sick. Now, we’re mold sick, but let’s say that we change one variable, and that one variable is, as those of you who know you’ve been listening, that one variable is that instead of having no community, which was true of us in New York, we had no community. We had less than five people total that cared if we woke up the next morning in the city.
[00:06:28] Of course, we have family and friends outside the city, but they wouldn’t necessarily notice immediately, we had no community. Alternate scenario, we have community, we have people that are paying attention to us. We have people that care if we show up every single day that care how well we show up every single day, not just to fire us, but because they care about us.
[00:06:56] Six months in, we’re getting sicker and sicker. Our performance is declining physically, mentally, spiritually. Our friends start to notice our community notices. Lucas, you’re not doing well.
[00:07:18] You know, we have this other neighbor who also was not doing well and had similar symptoms. You should go talk to her and hear her story, see how it is that she solved that problem. A different member of my community. Lucas, I hear that you had to leave your house. My son is off to college right now, why don’t you move into his room? It will be okay. You can pay us rent sometime in the future.
[00:07:45] A different member of the community. Lucas, I’ve been your doctor for years. I noticed that your are dealing with mold sickness. Allow me. The person who’s been your doctor for years allow me to manage your medical care for the next couple of months to ensure that the specialists that you’re talking to take you seriously and help you find the right solutions to this problem.
[00:08:09] It’s not my expertise, but you are my patient and I’m going to ensure that you’re taken care of. A different member of my community calls me up. Lucas, I’ve been your banker for years. I love you. I know that you can’t pay your mortgage right now. I’m gonna put your loan on hold. We will deal with this when you can. Don’t even worry about it.
[00:08:29] A different member of the community calls me up and says, Lucas, I got you. I know that you need remediation in your house. I’m gonna have my entire company, my construction company, come over to your house, tear it down to the studs, and rebuild it. I know that you’re out of a job right now. Why don’t you come by the office and start repaying us for this by working for us?
[00:08:56] Now, both stories are potentially realistic. Obviously, one of them happened and the other one didn’t. I’m sitting here telling you about the very real, very painful history of me being physically, mentally, spiritually and financially devastated by the mold in the home that my wife and I bought and moved into. We did not have community to catch us when we fell to support us in the process of standing back up again.
[00:09:29] We did not have community to make sure that we came out the other side even alive, let alone thriving. Our assets were not intact, and when we rebuilt ourselves, we did it ourselves, just me and my wife, a mastermind of two, rebuilding from the ground up with no external support. Plenty of information but no support.
[00:10:02] Versus the idealized alternate story where the community came together as soon as they saw one member falling and said, we see you, we got you. We’re gonna support you. And on the other end of this, you and we will be stronger together than you would have been a part. And that is why I keep telling you about community.
[00:10:35] That’s the reason, in a nutshell, that is the story that I want you to be able to tell when I could not. I want you to be able to tell that about your life, we are stronger together. I want you to be able to tell that about your business, we are stronger together. I want you to be able to tell that about your family, about your politics, about your social groups.
[00:11:01] We are stronger together and trust me when I say this, I learned this the hard way. Just because I could put myself back together doesn’t mean that it isn’t better to do it together. I managed barely, and I prayed every single day for somebody to step in and hold my hand along the way and nobody could.
[00:11:32] Partly because I wasn’t letting them in, and I will own that part of my journey. I was embattled. I was embattled with the disease of mold. I couldn’t open my doors. Only somebody who was already trusted would’ve been able to come in.
[00:11:59] And that’s gonna be true of you too. When your business hits a roadblock that you don’t know how to solve and, you’re not sure you’re gonna get through the next month, forget the next quarter. Only somebody that you already trust can come in and save your bacon at that point. And unless you have community, you’re doing it by yourself.
[00:12:25] Now that community could be your cousin, or your brother, or your uncle, or it could be a group of really, really motivated customers who come to you and say, your business is faltering and we depend on you for the product or service that you are giving to us, and we cannot stand by and watch you fail. We’re here for you.
[00:12:51] We’re gonna show up on nights and weekends. We’re gonna have work time. We expect to get something in return, and we can worry about that later. That could be community for you.
[00:13:06] Imagine that. Imagine that group of customers that walk up to the door as you hit a roadblock and say, we’re here for you. Imagine that group of stakeholders that walk up to the door when you hit that speed bump and say, we are gonna help you get through this.
[00:13:32] Which of those stories do you want to be yours. Which of those stories do you believe is the best version for you? Because I’m gonna tell you yet again. In my experience, just because I managed doesn’t mean I should have or that I should have to have. We are better together.
[00:13:55] Don’t fall over the way I did and get up the way I did. My pride doesn’t need that. We’re better together. Thank you.
[00:14:20] Thank you for joining us this week on Elements of Community. Make sure to visit our website, ElementsOfCommunity.us or, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS, so you’ll never miss a show. If you found value in this show, we’d appreciate a rating on iTunes or if you’d simply tell a friend about the show, that would help us out too.
[00:14:45] If you like the show, you might want to check out our EOC Inner Circle, where we deep dive with each guest on the inner workings of their community. We cover things like community model, profitability and engagement strategies. You can join the Inner circle at ElementsOfCommunity.us/InnerCircle. Be sure to tune in next week for our next episode.