Collective Enoughness: Together we have everything we need; it is only on our own that we experience scarcity.
In this interconnected and interdependent world, together we have everything we need. When our work and our lives are rooted in that understanding, we can accomplish anything we can dream of.
Yet we humans view much of our lives through the lens of scarcity and “if only.” If only we had more money, more people, more time, more stuff. That sense of “not enough” leads to competition and secrecy. It leads to scrounging and gouging. In the long-term, it leads to venerating efficiency over effectiveness, austerity over joy.
When we’re little, we’re taught to share. Then we grow up, and the message is clear: sharing is for kids. As an adult in this “dog eat dog world,” the road to success is “every man for himself.”
What if that spirit of sharing and enoughness is not only “not childish” but the only road to our collective AND individual success?
The following stories prove what can happen when we assume a) that there is enough, and b) that the road to “enoughness” is each other. One story is from the community benefit world, the other from the business world, where our culture believes as fact that “competition is reality.” In both stories, you’ll sense the same truth: together we have everything we need.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, A Woman’s Place (domestic violence) had an ongoing need for client transportation; the Coalition to Shelter and Support the Homeless shared their van. That same homeless coalition was frequently doing blanket drives and similar donation campaigns; A Woman’s Place not only provided a highly accessible drop-off location for those items, but offered their social media presence to get the word out. You can read the whole story here.
From the business world is the origin story of Amy’s Kitchen, the leading natural food brand in the US. This story busts the myth that like-kind businesses must see through the lens of scarcity and competition. Because together, we have everything we need. You can hear that story in the video below.
Seeing through the lens of Collective Enoughness, we realize that resources are everywhere – whether those resources are things like vans and blankets and storefronts, or people with skills and wisdom and ideas. Money may be scarce, but money isn’t a resource; it’s simply one among many means for gaining access to those real things we need.
When we share those real resources, we build collective strength. Unlike the single thread of our individual being, collectively we can weave those threads to create a blanket. That single thread won’t keep anyone warm; the blanket can provide warmth for all of us.
So if you’re feeling the fear and mistrust of scarcity, the answer isn’t competing and hoarding and hiding behind walls.
The answer to scarcity is each other.
• What is your favorite Collective Enoughness story?
• What do you have right now that you could share with someone who needs it – on your own or as part of your work?
• And what is your best tip for finding who else has what you might need?
Let us know in the comments!
8 thoughts on “Stories of Collective Enoughness”
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this, Hildy. Fantastic. I’ll be sharing it around … 🙂
Sue – wonderful!
If you have a moment, we’d love to hear stories / answers to the questions re: enoughness in your own life. What is your best tip for folks to find who else has what they might need?
Hildy, thank you for this meaningful post. I teach this concept to my students every semester. I my use this post a their reading. I already use your “three little words” post. Funny, we live in the same community, do similar work, have similar values and approaches and have never met. We should remedy that..
Wonderful, Sandy. We’d love to hear stories of how your students are applying the concepts in their real lives. And I hope you’ll get involved with the initiatives we’re kicking off staring on Giving Tuesday, all around the theme of Collective Enoughness!
And as for being in the same community, I believe you are in Phoenix. Creating the Future’s HQ is actually in Tucson. When you’re down this way, give us a ring!
Thank you Hildy for sharing this article, it certainly resonates within my soul. Our program has had the joy and pleasure of collaborating with Canyon Springs High School. They have become a great partner in helping our youth in getting their lives back on track. Instead of seeing us as taking there youth, they chose to see it as lifting up our youth to become individuals who love their community as well as themselves.
Wonderful, Mario! So good to hear your story here!
Time. That is the key the “tip” the “secret sauce” as Rebecca calls it. Spending time with a neighbor or a friend or even a stranger is how you find out what resources are available. Recently, it was brought to my attention that there were two young men who were going down the wrong path. I reached out to someone who has the passion to help these two gentlemen. Because this person and I had shared time and space together, she freely offered her wealth of knowledge to these 2 young men and offered to go where they are in order to impart her knowledge. These days, we don’t take time to meet together, to share food or drink or just BE together. What I have decided to practice is turning off the nightly news that is filled with negativity and peril and turn to my family and friends to spend time learning about the goodness that they are doing daily. That is worth it. They are worth it. Thanks to you, Hildy, and Miss Rebecca for showing me the value of this practice.
“What I have decided to practice is turning off the nightly news that is filled with negativity and peril and turn to my family and friends to spend time learning about the goodness that they are doing daily. That is worth it. They are worth it.”
Toni this melts my heart. What a beautiful practice! Thank you for that. HG