One of the most fundamental human needs is the need to belong. We all want to feel loved, accepted, supported and respected by people who have a genuine appreciation for us. When a group of people with common interests come together, a synergy is born which allows them to create something much greater than any of them could have made individually.
Not unlike the aspen trees that grow in a community that shares a common root and nutrient system, we are connected at every touch point. Their society is healthiest when made up of trees at all levels of maturity, relying on each other to subsist. Even if a tree dies, the root system remains intact, sending up replacements nearby which is why they are the first to repopulate after a fire. They were considered the largest living organism on the planet with one organization exceeding 100 acres in size, every tree connected, every tree sharing. At least, that was before we realized that we, in fact, are just as connected, healthiest when we ensure that our entire community is well and living in abundance and, knowing that we can rely on each other for sustenance and support.
Today, you probably belong to more than one group bound together by education, occupation, religion, political beliefs, local community involvement or hobbies. The sizes will vary but the common bond of each is the same. However, not all of them, or their members, provide the emotional support we need which is what sets a tribe apart. Does it generally want the very best for you and encourage you to pursue your goals offering you a sense of kinship through difficult times and gratitude when you succeed? Is it made up of people who accept you just as you are or is it composed of people that hold a space for your dreams? Further, because relationships are two-way, not all of the groups give us the emotional fulfillment of knowing that we have contributed in a meaningful way.
Have you thought about the tribe or communities that you would like to belong to knowing that the people that we associate with impact every facet of our lives from our income to our happiness? I’m sure that we have either heard from our parents or told our children that “we are who we hang out with.” People generally model their behavior after others so we should take that counsel to heart and choose our tribe wisely. Another reason to be strategic is, quite simply, that we just don’t have a lot of time in our days and we need to use our time wisely with people that enrich our lives. To get clear about the support system you would like to build, you might ask yourself:
What qualities do you want in the members?
What do you hope to get out of the group?
What would you like to give the group?
How do you think the group will inspire and motivate you?
How will you lift up and encourage others in the group?
What do you expect to learn from the group?
How will you help others grow in the group?
How do you expect the group to rejoice or applaud your successes?
How will you help others to celebrate their victories?
How often would you like to connect with this group?
Once you have identified the types of people that you think would be a great fit for you, the next step is to meet them. Sitting and waiting for people to find you that are interested in the same things that you are, is a no-win proposition. Like anything else worthwhile, you must show up and be willing to let others know that you are available and ready to participate, whether online or in person. There are many ways to search for communities of like-minded people. Thanks to the internet, geographical location is no longer a limit and your search for people and companies with the same common interests is relatively easy. Further, people are able to see each other on Zoom, Skype and Facetime calls which makes the connections more personal than an email or simple phone call. If you are having trouble finding local networking groups that interest you, I guarantee that there is an online community out there filled with like-minded people anxious to meet others.
Make the first move by showing the true you, not a manufactured version of what you think might be attractive to others. Spend time weaving your values, interests and interesting stories into your bio and resume, your LinkedIn profiles, social media presence and your website. It should be easy for others to see and understand who you really are and what is important to you to form an authentic relationship with you. None of us want to find out later that the person we reached out to is really not the person they appeared to be. So, step up and step out, widen your circle and enrich your work and personal life!
Copyright © 2017 Linda Lattimore
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