“Retirement be damned, Betsy Warriner, almost 78, continues to give to our community.”
Photo taken by The Source, Bend, OR.
After most have retired, my mom, Betsy Warriner, is more engaged with her community than ever.
Voted “Woman of the Year” for a lifetime of giving back and championing justice and equality, Mom is leading the way. Her service extends from teaching in Ethiopia to volunteering in North Carolina, Seattle, Portland, and Bend. Founder of Volunteer Connect and most recently, Community Conversations, “she has given thousands of hours of her time, energy, guidance, and wisdom.”
Now at 82, Mom is the embodiment of the benefits of giving back. As I often tell her: “You make 82 look great, Mom!”
Community well-being, defined, is where you live and what you give. Simply put, having a high level of community well-being is “the differentiator between a good life and a great one,” write Tom Rath and Jim Harter in their book Wellbeing. I agree, and that certainly appears to be the case with my mom.
On a very basic level, community well-being means that we feel a sense of connection to where we live. It means that we are able to give a definitive "Yes!" if asked:
On a higher level, community well-being encompasses giving back, aka "being the change." As Mom’s story underscores, those who give back experience a higher quality of life, have stronger social networks, feel a deeper sense of purpose, and are more likely to live longer.
So, whether you’re 82 or 28, how can you up your community well-being, inspired by Betsy? And, what can we do collectively to enhance community well-being for all of us?
I asked Mom, and here are her top three suggestions:
1. Decrease income inequality. Income inequality isn't good for anyone, and we have the highest levels since the Gilded Age in the early 1900s.
2. Really listen to one another. In a society that is fraught with divisions, Mom is tackling the issue head on. Five years ago, she joined up with likeminded (and different minded!) individuals to start Community Conversations, an organization that is "building our community, one conversation at a time."
3. Improve our natural environment. Nature makes all of us happier and kinder to one another - essential building blocks for an enhanced community.
Out of all the dimensions of well-being that we've discussed - physical, emotional, financial, social, career and now community - community well-being is most dependent upon taking collective action. As you've heard me say a lot, the only way forward is together.
The good news is that each of us can do our part in driving this collective action forward.
Thanks, Mom, for inspiring us all to join you in being the change.
Join my next LinkedIn Live
(4th Wednesday of every month at 10am PST.)
On Wednesday, August 25th, 2021, I chatted with
Charles Vogl about Community Well-Being.
WATCH THE RECORDING HERE >