How to Start the Community You Need

Sometimes when you are looking for a community, you just have to build it.
It is true in the intimidating risk of deep, filling friendship, and this year I have found that it is true in the business support I need. Yesterday, over at the Gallup Coaching blog, Erin Passons (see pic above!) and I wrote about the launch of Strengths Network San Diego. This toddler network (over a year old now!) was proof of just that. Take a risk for the connection and reap the benefits of community.
When I peel it all back, I have found there were three essentials to making the start of this community a success, and I hope they can be your base recipe for value-adding connection, too.
Essential 1: Follow the craving.
Are you feeling that itch for community? Or that need to bounce ideas off of similar-minded others? Or just feeling alone as a solo-preneur? That’s where I was a year and a half ago—at the alone, disconnected, wanting-stage. Now, here we are at the having-stage. Pretty cool.
If you are feeling any of these things, do everything you can to find a way to connect. Follow the craving, the desire, and the need. Chances are, if you are feeling the need, others are too. When Erin and I started vetting the idea, we found others were just as anxious for a place to collaborate and share as we were. We took our ideas and our needs, and started filling them with action.
Essential 2: Gather people and start, no matter the size.
It was Erin’s strategic, collaborating lens that saw the perfect first step. Bring in a small group of masterminds. Get buy in, build excitement and commitment, gather input. That first meeting around a table in a noisy, urban restaurant was filled with our friends. They were those who were into StrengthsFinder—a shared passion—AND into one or both of us. A safe-ish place to vet ideas and gather their brilliance and support. And it was only 6 others. From those 6, our original list was formed.
Essential 3: Partner for power.
When the alarm goes off at 5AM, and my eyes blink to barely open, in disbelief that the morning could actually appear while it’s still dark, there are times that I fumble around to quiet the noise and roll back over, and there are times that I force myself to sitting and put my feet on the floor. What is the difference in response? What causes me to rise instead of roll? More often than not, it’s accountability. It’s a class that has a start time or it’s a friend who will be waiting in the cold if I don’t show up.
The same is true of building a community. It is so much easier to give up or give in without a committed other by your side. Every month, it is one or the other of us who is pinging the other, “hey, we should talk about the upcoming gathering” or “want to chat about the next topics?” Without the other, we might just as easily roll over and let it pass all together.
So, whether you are seeking a new group of friends, an accountability group, a mastermind circle, or even your own Strengths Network, I guess the challenge is this…find a friend, gather people, and follow your craving. Connect.
USE THIS: So will you take the risk? What community have you been seeking lately? Where is there a void of community in your circles? Are you sitting around hoping that it will come to you? What would it take to acknowledge the need, take the risk, and build a community around you?
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