I hope you have practiced some soul and self-care this week. We, and our world, really need it right now. In times of crisis, we often ditch the soul and self-care but it is precisely in these times when we need to up these practices even more. These are also times when we benefit from having a supportive community to rely on. Being a part of a supportive community creates a sense of belonging, fosters trust and strengthens resilience.
When I first started my coaching practice, I named it “Core Connection Coaching.” I remember speaking with my best friend, who was in school for counseling at the time, about the name. I told her that I believed that authentic human connection was one of the most important things in the world. This belief grew out of my isolating experience living in a country alone, without family or friends and minimal community. My best friend confirmed what I said by citing research she had read documenting the devastating effects a lack of human connection had on people.
We are living in a time where we believe we are connected because we have access to information at our fingertips. However, this type of artificial connection tends to leave us feeling alone and lonely. Fostering authentic connection means we take deliberate action to be a part of people’s lives and projects. It means we show up to help a friend move or to shovel a neighbor’s driveway. We CALL someone instead of text because we sincerely want to hear how they’re doing. We give our time to a cause we believe in. We choose the people with whom we surround ourselves.
We need to recognize that as we change, so should our community. As we become more of who we are meant to be, we will naturally reach out to be a part of different communities that will help us grow.
As you consider your community, take stock of the people already in your network.
Here are some questions to help you discover more about your current community:
- With whom do you spend the most time? (Could be one or more people.)
- What do you spend time doing with this person or these people? (Could be different activities for each different person.)
- How do you feel after spending time with these people?
- Are these people committed to your continued growth?
- We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with – who are these five people in your life right now? Does the average of these five people inspire you? If not, what might you need to change?
- Do you notice a relationship or relationships that no longer support you? How can you start letting go of this relationship or transforming this relationship?
What changes would you like to make to cultivate a deeper sense of community in your life? What can you do today to foster community in your current network?
Now consider the people who are not currently in your network but with whom you would like to develop a relationship. If you are looking to expand your current network, community, group of friends, acquaintances, or colleagues, what area of interest would you like to pursue to be around people who are doing, living, or studying what you are interested in? (i.e., silversmithing, jewelry making, learning a new language, studying meditation, book club, building a business, fitness, writing, playing an instrument, public speaking, support groups, improv comedy, etc.).
The key to building community is to be intentional. Identify the area of interest, the type of people, the type of activity, and what you hope to gain from being a part of that community as well as what you want to contribute to the community.
We all need more authentic connections each day. We could all benefit from a strong, supportive community to rely on and contribute to. We all have an inherent desire to be a part of something bigger. Start with you. Start locally. Start today.
Sending you heart-felt connections and a community that supports your highest good,