I never really used to understand or trust community.
Sure, in my adulthood I’ve always had friends and lots of people in my life.
But community? What did that even mean? Does anyone really have anyone else’s back? Is there really a true meeting of hearts or minds? And could an outsider really be welcomed into the fold?
Maybe some of you can relate.
Especially if you’ve ever experienced trauma or disappointment via family, religious or educational groups, or other group settings. If you’ve experienced being the outsider, never being truly welcomed or appreciated.
In recent years I’ve come to think differently of what community can mean.
And that the key factor that needed to change for me to truly experience and enjoy community was myself.
Here’s what I mean
The most meaningful community experiences I’ve had have taken place with people who don’t have obligation to spend time together.
Where there is obligation, there can be dissonance. Misalignment between what some or all the people want, and what they’re actually all doing together.Malumir Logan, Acorn + Burdock
In contrast, where there’s no obligation, there is a level of proactive commitment that indicates its presence through consistency.
A shared sense of identity and purpose also matters. Otherwise, what is there to keep folks together during the busyness of life?
There are plenty of other characteristics of community. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that my relationship with community is primarily related to three things:
- What I personally want to be consistent with;
- The sense of identity I hold; and
- Which groups most align with my own purpose.
How to find community then?
When did I find connection? When I let myself shake off old, unserving ideas and experiences of “community”, and replaced them.
How? I sought out new and various experiences. Ones that reflected authentic expressions of the things I care most about.
I most align with communities who are inclusive. They’re open to the new and different. And they’re growth-positive.
Three key communities for me are:
- A network of eclectic spiritual leaders and individuals primarily in Toronto and surrounding area.
- Growth mindset communities like my spin studio and NLP Canada.
- Professional networks I’ve developed with fellow leaders who work in different organizations from my own.
What matters most to you about community? Have you found community that you feel truly connected within?
If not yet, how can you seek out the experiences that most reflect what matter to you, and find connections along the way?
Blessings and empowerment to you.