Room to Grow

I had the great privilege of leading a workshop at the Pelham Road library this past week. Two of the ladies had recently moved to the area; one from India and one from Germany. It was nice to hear what they liked about Greenville and how welcomed they felt. One of the discussions we had was about how less crowded Greenville is compared to where they are from. The lady from Germany first mentioned it, just to be trumped by Miss India.

This led me to do some research. I went to Of course I went to the internet, but not Wikipedia. Wikipedia is good to get information but not facts that you would want to quote. (Disclaimer: Do not hold me to this next week.) Two of the countries listed had population densities of over 1000 people per square mile, but they are very small in land mass. With 873.4 people per square mile, Japan was 17th. India was 18th with 851.0. The United Kingdom was 32nd and Germany was 33rd with 598. China was 53 with 352.5, two and a half times that of the US. The United States was 142nd with 79.55. Canada, our neighbor to the north, has 9 people per square mile. Talking about elbow room.

Comparing European nations with US is not really fair. So I looked at the state’s population density according to New Jersey was the most populous with 1170.64 per square mile. Rhode Island was second but who cares. I mean, it’s Rhode Island. Florida was eighth with 340. Our neighboring states, North Carolina was 15th with 189 and Georgia was 18th with 167. Major cities can really affect the numbers when you look to all the land in the mountains of both states. South Carolina was the 20th most populous state with 149.

When you look at the counties in South Carolina, Greenville was the most populous county according to the 2010 census. With 571, Greenville ranks just below Germany if we were comparing her to an European country. Richland is second at 508, Charleston is third at 381, and Spartanburg is fifth at 351. Anderson at 260.6, comes in eighth in the state.

This reminded me of something I read in a golf magazine.(Yes, you can learn things in all sort of places). I believe it was an article by David Feherty, who has a lot of wit with a good dose of insight, who wrote about traveling from Augusta to Texas. He said looking out of the plane; there were vast areas where you could see beautiful undeveloped land that is unheard of in England. That, unlike in England, land will not be a limiting factor to our growth for a long time.

This makes for a very interesting conversation, especially as we and our neighboring states begin to lay claim to the limited resources at our disposal.

One of the benefits to having a more populous area is that we are able to get more varied goods. Each of these ladies mentioned the difficulty of getting spices and food from their home countries in many areas of where they live unless there is a population of expats big enough to have the supplies. They mentioned that Greenville was surprising that for its size, it has a better variety than they had expected.

I have two closing thoughts. First, we all moved here from somewhere. Many, if not most of us, within the last four generations. Even the Indians took land from other tribes. Second, the world is becoming smaller and more mobile. It is better to embrace that than try to fight it. Who knows, at some point that new person could have been your grandmother.



Success #1: Reaching out to others / Making a difference

One recurring theme I would like to address is the topic of success. What is success to you? This is such an individual topic that can change as we go through the different phases of our lives. The stereotypical signs of success in the stages of life often follow the trail of: independence, reputation, circle of peers/friends, power/prestige, money, comfort, family stability, love.

Success is not wrong. But it can become a problem when we let someone else define what our success should be. We see this is families where a parent wants “what’s best for my child” but can’t see what is actually important to the child. No matter how caring and well-meaning the person may be, only you can define your success.

We often call this a calling, an interior urging for something that seems, or Is, outside of us leading us to…the thing that, to us, is right.

Success is not a destination. Rarely do we get THERE. My picture of a man attaining success is from the movie, Chisum (my favorite movie of all time), where John Wayne, the Duke (which was originally an airedale) rides his horse to the top of the hill and looks over his land. His land. (By the way, why did he always ride the bigger horse?)

Success is a journey. Often a journey that consumes, or is, our life. Rarely is it a straight freeway. Usually it is bumpy, But it is always calling us to come over the hill, or around the next bend.

I want to take you to a story of a family finding success but in a new way. This is my younger brother to whom I have brought much grief, and from whom I have gotten many laughs.

Upstate Family Answers Call




Welcome to Greenville

If you have recently moved to the area and you are either seeking employment or looking to further your career, the last advice you want to hear is to get out and begin to foster relationships with people you do not know, aka network. Yet that is exactly what you need to be spending the vast majority of your time and effort on. There is so much research out there claiming that the best strategy to find and build your career or business is to build connections with other people.

I got the pleasure of speaking with two gentlemen this week who have recently moved into the area. When I got into my ways-to-job-search spiel, their response was how can we meet people when we are new and don’t know anyone. The odd coincidence is that the majority of people here is not native and was at one time new to the area. This is not Charleston where you are a newcomer if you do not have generations of ancestors from the Holy City.  Greenville’s citizens are very mobile and, with the movement of new companies into the area, newcomers are continually finding Woodruff Road for the first time.

I help facilitate a class of job seekers for Greenville County Workforce Development. In one class of eight adults, we encountered this very hurdle. We began to go around the room and found that only two of the people were originally from this area. This has become a regular activity and subsequent classes have usually shown the same results.

So Tim, what are some ways you would suggest that I use to meet other like-minded professionals?

There are a couple of ways that I would suggest that should work in any area you find yourself.  First, I would look at social media. Facebook is a great avenue to connect with people and also to find where people of your interests are planning to meet. Downtown Greenville and City of Greenville are just two of many pages that can connect you to fellow enthusiasts.

LinkedIn can be used to find companies in the area. LI also has groups that are for this area: New Carolina, Greenville Area Development Corporation (great information on new companies and companies that are adding improvements in the area), Greenville Working, Today in Greenville, and …well, you get the idea. Groups enable you to see where they are meeting, what they are discussing and get involved in the discussions, and identify people you can contact to meet one-on-one.

Twitter is also a great way to follow companies and people and learn where they are planning an event. As you can see, these do not have to be exclusively business. Why do you think so many deals are done on the golf course?

Another suggestion is to see if there are any associations that meet in your area. The Kidder Group, Inc. has a great list on their website ( of about seventy different groups and when and where they meet. Associations are one way to show your involvement within your profession and allow you to meet with and have a connection with people in your industry.

Another website that I am becoming more involved in is No, I am not having marital issues. This is a great website to publicize times and locations for gatherings with other people with your interests. Some of these are based on social as well as fitness interests.

The Newcomers Club of Greater Greenville’s main purpose is to welcome people who have recently moved into the area and to help smooth your transistion.

Most of the suggestions I have given you are free. But it still requires us to face two of our biggest fears: meeting new people and putting ourselves in unfamiliar situations. Both of these are tough for me. But you will find that unfamiliar situations begin to feel more familiar. And some of your best friends were once new.