Sunday, 28 July 2013

A Sense of Belonging

Over recent weeks I have been a little surprised to hear people taking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in relation to Rotary activity.   But I guess when we look at it the concept covers everything we do and how we do it.

So what do Rotarians do?  We provide "Community needs on a global scale" and we do this by undertaking Service above Self.

So taking a look at the simplest of hierarchies, in many cases our activities provide for peoples basic needs, safety and security.   Our Areas of Focus, Peace and conflict prevention/resolution,  Disease prevention and treatment and Water and sanitation concentrate on the basic needs.  Our others, Maternal and child health, Basic education and literacy and Economic and community development start to build on the requirements for love and belonging and self esteem.

As I start my District Governor visits to Clubs I realise that for many Rotarians there is a real sense of belonging to a Club, perhaps over and above Rotary International itself.  That regular weekly meeting is a place of friendship and fun and can be a regular outing in what could be difficult personal circumstances.   The Club meeting can therefore be a real anchor in someone’s life.

For others, who are perhaps more involved in our project work, the sense of achievement from a job well done and the provision of service for others gives a sense of personal esteem, occasionally reinforced by thanks from those that receive our service.

Every now and then a project will provide us with a special Rotary Moment, that spine tingling event that really gets to the heart of what we do and why we do it.  It’s these moments that help us move on to more innovative and creative thinking about what it is really possible to do as a member of Rotary. 

So, yes, Maslow’s Hierarchy makes a lot of sense of what we do.  

In this internet age the diagram on the right is an interesting take on the issue provided by blogger Erica Glaiser.  Where would you put LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Wordpress?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Sense of Place

Having started a few weeks of intense travelling around the District I have been considering what a sense of place means.

Town Hall, Barrow-in-Furness
Many of the places I will visit during the year will have personal memories whether related to my family, school, working or Rotary life.   A good example from this first week on the road was the Town Hall in Barrow where I started my working career all those years ago.  The Rothay Manor Hotel, Ambleside that I helped put in the middle of a one way system and the A590 which I helped improve in the 1980’s.

Cumbria & Lancashire

The journey around the district will highlight the varied landscapes, towns and cities in which we provide our service.  The lakes and mountains of the Lake District, the rivers and valleys of the Eden, Lune and Ribble, the hills of Bowland and Pendle the coastal plains of the Solway, Morecambe Bay and the Fylde; It’s a great area to live, work and play.

We also have a wide range of communities in the district from small picturesque villages to run down housing estates in areas of deprivation.  A challenge for all of us as we determine what we should do in our communities and how we manage the growth in membership we know we need.

A final thought this week about the sense of place relates to where we meet.  It will be interesting as I travel the district to get a sense of what meeting venues mean to Rotarians and the communities which they serve.   Are there situations where our meeting place is inappropriate as we struggle with the challenge to bring more people into our organisation.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Managing time ....

This week has been about consolidating my diary, as I write I have all but 3 Club Visits in the diary together with around 50 charter dinners.  So that’s half the year gone.  Add to this District meetings, Competitions and Events, Community meetings, General Council, RIBI Committees and Conferences the year is almost complete.

I do have a 3 week gap around Xmas – what do I do?  Get away or wait to see if and when it fills up?  There is also a small window in May, but I guess not for long.

So two weeks away in Autumn 2014 now need to be booked – done!

Time will fly by, and I guess the trick is to enjoy every minute of it.  When I asked PDG Hubert Pierce for his one tip for the year he said always have your camera with you, because you will not remember everything you have done. 

The Rotary day is an unusual one in that when visiting it revolves around mainly lunchtime and evening meetings so mornings and afternoons are free(ish).  But as I noted last week we seem to have plenty of Admin work to contend with.
So perhaps the best advice on this whirlwind year ahead might come from Spencer Johnson in his book “The Precious Present”

“My past as the present
and my future will be the present.
The present moment is the only reality I ever experience.

As long as I continue to stay in the present.
I am happy for ever:
because forever is always the present.

The present is simply who I am
just the way I am ……
right now.

And it is precious

I am precious

I am the precious present !”

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Journey Begins

After an enjoyable weekend in Windermere when I took on the reins of District 1190 the initial thoughts that come to mind are just  how much I am going to have to write and comment about.

Reports for Executive and Council, monthly newsletters, welcome letters, thank you messages, Charter dinner speeches, district events, off the cuff, presentations and press items.

All of this will quickly help hone my thoughts on the task we have in front of us.  I will be using these random thoughts to help with this process and hope that those that read them enjoy the journey with me.

Engage Rotary Change Lives and all the various permutations of these words are a good starting point, but by Christmas we need to have engaged and moved on to taking action.

What then are the steps to be taken to move from engagement to action?

How about encourage, inspire, inform, motivate - the roles that I, our district team and club leaders have in the process of gearing up for action.

My first week has been used to work on encouragement and inspiration.  My own club were the guinea pigs followed closely by Carlisle Castle, Wendy's club, and if their reaction was anything to go by then I have an exciting few months ahead as we develop a dialogue for change within the District.

There won't be many more stunning drives than that we had when travelling to the first of my many Charter dinners.  The northern Lake District mountains in all their glory contrasted with the Irish Sea when we arrived at St Bees.  The 90th Charter anniversary of Whitehaven Rotary Club had to be hurriedly rearranged but was a great night of fellowship.

As for the speech critical feedback was good, but as ever I know I could have done better. Every one if these speeches needs to be personalised to the club and that is a challenge to be met.