Business Magazine

Community HELP! Part 2 - 8 Contributions and Developing Skills

By The Contender @The__Contender
Community HELP! Part 2 - 8 Contributions and Developing SkillsSPENDITALL: MUFF, when you decided to hang up your gloves, you talked about giving back to the community. Have you thought about it more? What are your thoughts now? Are you going to make a comeback????
MUFF:  Hold on, one question at a time! Yes I have been fortunate to be the UNDISPUTED CHAMP! but now it is pay back time. THE FUTURE may still taunt me, he may want me back in the ring. Why? I have nothing more to prove to him. He is still strong and lurks just around the corner in my mind I must accept he will always be there and get on with life. There is no good looking back, what is important now is life, family, community and everyone's happiness. I'm not here to entertain anymore, too old for the silly games and pranks; brawls and spectacles. Time to move on. Time to live! 
In the last post we had a look at some of the ways our local community has helped and supported us. In this post we are going to consider ways in which we can contribute to the community in early retirement and how you can add to \ improve your skill set.

Giving something back
Early retirement has to be earned but it is a blessing; why not using some of that time to help improve your local community?
MUFF is fortunate to live in such a nice community. It supports our family, provides friendship and safety. We will miss it when we leave. In the future we are keen to give back and help improve the community we live in.
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that! - Rocky Balboa
What can early retirees give back to the community in this tough old world we live in? This is something we have been thinking about for some time. Early Retirement can be great from a selfish standpoint. Loads of free time to do as you wish. In our opinion early retirement is about living a happy life which means a happy family and a happy community. Anything we can do towards this will benefit everyone please read on for some that we would like to choose from in the years ahead.
What about...?
Society has invested in us and we are there to invest in society. Below are (only) 8 ideas we have on this topic (yes MUFF does like a short list of things and tries to avoid more than 10 otherwise we are onto 20, 30, 40.....I'm going to sleep)
  1. School governor - free time is given up to help with the running of the school all to the benefit and welfare of the children and community. Schools do a lot of fund raising for the school and charities (such as help the homeless in our eldest child's school).
  2. Keeping the community presentable - just picking up a bit of litter shows you care for the community - dissuades other people from dropping litter and in MUFF's opinion helps reduce the crime rate. Looking after hedges, planting trees and flowers - nature is a wonderful sight and healer. It is so sad to see plain lawns and concreted gardens and parks.
  3. Participate in local user groups - our local user group lobbies the council for more trees to be planted in the streets (very successful) re-development of a local run down shopping center and fair charges for resident parking.
  4. Mentoring or Teaching - crikey all those years spent studying and working, we cannot waste that! MUFF does not do regret (it was the best decision at the time) - a bit of mentoring / coaching would have been beneficial. Mr and Mrs MUFF have both been trained to a high level. We would like to think we could listen and coach some ambitious young things in our community. Can we inspire, encourage, help, guide, listen all are extremely delicate skills to have. If we don't try we will never know.
  5. Running a sports team - keeping the kids fit, ambition, winning mentality, working as a team, interpersonal conflicts and ambition - you can't beat sport for some awesome for life skills for the young.
  6. Help the vulnerable -  Meals on wheels for the elderly, handyman or someone to talk to.
  7. Charity Fund Raising - See the post Early Retirement at 36 - Charity Time?. A small donation spent well can make a massive difference - definitely on the future to do list.
  8. Help organize local events - fairs, carnivals, harvest celebrations etc. require a lot of manpower, love and attention to detail to organize and and deliver.
New Friends, New Skills, New You
Perhaps you would like to engage with your community to keep it clean, lobby for improvements or helping the vulnerable. Not only will this benefit the community as listed above but perhaps yourself through new skills:
  1. Get out of your comfort zone - dealing with difficult / stressful situations
    1. builds resiliency and helps defeat stress in the long run
    2. encourages pro-activity to defeat procrastination
    3. learn how to deal with difficult people / diffuses conflict and look for the common ground to a problem
    4. Problem solving - us humans are wonderful problem solvers! As kids we excelled at it in later life we lean to delegate more (think plumbers etc.) and specialise a skill set (often repetitive once learnt) so problem solving skills a lot of the time can be neglected.
  2. Organisation skills - planning for events, making contacts and influencing people to help out.
    1. This blog is all about planning but the best way to learn is by trial and error in the field (literally in the case of a village fete). Just accept some mistakes will be made it is part of the learning process, take them on the chin, learn how to avoid the blows in the future and come out as a winner from all of the new skills you have learnt.
  3. Negotiation skills - working with the local authorities to get some trees planted to improve the area
    1. It is surprising how much scope there is for negotiation in real life. Getting the best deal on phone contracts or fixing a leaking roof, 
  4. Trade skills - learning how to repair a fence, roof, plumbing or electrics.
    1. In an emergency with a broken pipe, very basic skills can prevent extensive damage occurring to your property. Simple jobs such as fixing a hinge on a door can be done quickly without the hassle of finding and calling out a chippy (carpenter).
    2. These skills are timeless and in demand so being able to help out your friends and neighbors in a time of need is gratifying if you need help in the future they will most likely return the favor.
  5. Physical - charity fundraising could be done through a sponsored bike ride, run or climb
    1. Endurance work provides the energy to climb that mountain you wanted to conquer, hike across a rain forest or swim the English channel. On a more simple level having the energy to get up early and make the most of each precious day.
    2. Strength work is needed to keep you in tip top condition and the muscles continuously burn through those calories even when at rest. The odd bump and ripple look great as well. (MUFF has a bit of work to do on this one after sitting behind a desk too much)
  6. Listening skills 
    1. Getting the wrong end of the stick: it is amazing how overlooked the art of listening is. The brain works much faster than the speed of speech. We are also very impatient for knowledge. Unfortunately due to this it is easy to get the wrong message by jumping to conclusions.
    2. Secondly if the person thinks you are not being attentive to them you can easily loose their confidence!
    3. A simple tool to help this listening process and making sure you understand fully what the persons point is the process SI (seek information) TU (test understanding) SUM (summarise) SI TU SUM
  7. Others such as legal, safety, mentoring, animal husbandry and self sufficiency
  8. Finally the different people you will meet may forge friendships for life - these are priceless!
As well as the skills being hugely beneficial to the local community you can use them on a CV whether you are looking for your first job or you want to change careers.
If we the people in the community care about it the better quality of life we will all have. In order for this to happen we all need to contribute even if it is just a little. No procrastination for an Early Retiree! By our individual actions one by one an example can be set that will be re-enforcing for the community leading to positive, lasting change for the better. What is the little thing you could do today to improve your community?All the best,
NEXT UP Plan for Early Retirement and Life Update - Part 3 Life Planning
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