Community can sometimes be a buzz word that gets talked up so much that most people stop reading shortly after it’s said. My encouragement to you? Keep reading.
Let’s start with the basics: community is for everyone. You don’t have to be the extrovert that can make a connection with everyone in the room. Relationships are a part of all of our lives, and they are built by investing in people. Let’s not overcomplicate community. It can be a small investment of time, conversation or mutual interest. When you invest in someone, you say yes to community.
So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s break it down into 3 practical steps.
It’s easy to begin with the conventional “how’s it going?,” but let’s take it a little further. With a more direct question, you have the potential to communicate value. When you choose to ask someone something they haven’t already been asked, you communicate significance. All it takes is one moment of your time, one glance away from your computer, or allowing one interruption in your scheduled day. When you make an individual a priority, you say yes to community.
Sometimes the logistics of pursuing community can be daunting. There is always someone who can’t make it and traffic is notoriously unpredictable – let’s face it, community is not always convenient. Fortunately, there are people and organizations around us who facilitate networking events, business breakfasts, and tons of other get-togethers. No need to feel pressured to go to them all, just pick one. Pick one event to attend. Pick one conversation to focus on. Pick one person to get to know. When you choose to plug in, you say yes to community.
Community is meant to be leveraged. While free breakfast and networking events are great, these are just starting points. Go deeper in the relationships you begin. Pick a moment in each day to be intentional. Then, in the times when you’re stressed and need to blow off some steam, when you need people to consult for advice or when you need reminding of why what you are doing is important, turn to your community. We all know that in order to make a withdrawal, you need to make an investment. Community is an investment that will always be worth it. When you support and lean into those around you, you say yes to community.
Truth be told, community is a bigger topic than one blog allows or one solution solves. Which is why I would simply encourage you to go deeper, pick one, and use it.
Editor’s note: Mary London is right—the topic of community is much richer than one blog post can address. That’s why we will be exploring this topic during the month of April. We’ll see you back next week as we continue to grow in our understanding of community!