The Power of CommunityNov 14, 2022
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut
This quote brings a few thoughts to mind. All of us are part of communities, whether you are active members of those communities or not. It might be your team, your school or your classmates, perhaps it’s your colleagues, your neighborhood, or your town.
But how intentional are you about supporting and being an active member of your community? Community is so important, because it provides a sense of belonging - somewhere you can be valued, heard, included and loved.
Community gives you a place to be yourself, and express what you are experiencing. And most importantly, community gives you a place to connect genuinely with other people and create long standing relationships that can benefit you for the rest of your life.
So how can you build community, and how can it impact you?
Start conversations and be genuine.
When you start conversations within your community, people have the opportunity to share their story and their perspective. Conversations help you learn about other people’s experiences and identify where there is a need that you could help fill.
It’s important to be genuine and authentic with the conversations you are starting within your community. Don’t be afraid to open up and share the real story, the tough times and the good times. This helps others relate to you and shows people they are not alone in facing challenges.
Be inclusive and welcoming to others, and LISTEN.
Strong communities include diversity of people, beliefs and perspectives. No community is entirely the same, and it’s important to remember that inclusivity is a huge part of growth. Don’t shut someone out because they are different from you - their unique perspective and story may be the one to inspire you.
The most important aspect of being an intentional community member is the act of listening. If you encourage people to share and then don’t listen to your community, you will lose their trust. How do you know the best ways to support your friends if you aren’t paying attention? Be sure you are listening to the other people around you.
What can a community do for you?
Keep you motivated and hold you accountable.
When you create a community or become an engaged member of a community, you invite others to join you in your journey. These relationships can help you stay motivated when you feel like giving up or you aren't making an impact. They can also hold you accountable if you need additional support.
Rely on those who have been there.
The best part of belonging to a community is the opportunity to learn from your fellow members. If you’re in a challenging situation, ask questions and get advice from those who have been in your shoes, or who can offer words of wisdom from their own experiences. You don’t have to go it alone, and strong communities want all their members to succeed.
Add new perspectives and additional value.
The members of your community each have their own experiences that can help you when you’re in a challenging situation, but they can also provide inspiration and direction if you are looking for it. Sometimes you need to see things from an outside perspective to get a fresh look at it. So bring in your community members for their feedback and advice, and your brainstorming session will likely lead to some truly great ideas for you all to add value to one another.
Community is such a powerful tool for your growth as an individual and as a member of a team. When you become an active member of your community, you can create better relationships and make a positive impact on those around you. So what will you do today to become a larger part of your community?
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