Community: How to Intentionally Build It
We all want to feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves - it’s human nature. It’s called community.
Community is a place for like-minded people to find support and to come together in learning, opportunity, collaboration, and mentorship. They are a place that (I feel) is required for success in business.
Here at the Society For Creative Founders, we believe in the power of an environment where you feel safe to share your struggles and your victories, all while gaining the knowledge and skills you need to move your business forward.
When I found true, genuine community, I opened up, began focusing on growth and collaboration instead of hoarding secrets from the “competition,” and started to feel confident, focused, and energized.
When you find one that is right for you, your sense of purpose will change with community at the center of your learning. It ads a new dimension to your life, business, and knowledge.
I’m hoping you’ve found a community that is a good fit for you - there are plenty of them out there for creative business owners - but now what? How do you build a stronger network and relationships?
Below, I share 5 ways you can build community, intentionally.
1. Show Up and Give
People who show up are the ones who benefit the most from community. Think of that one person who always responds, posts, likes, or encourages genuinely. They are showing up. They are at the top of people’s minds.
“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” -John Andrew Holmes, former U.S. representative and senator.
They are givers and don’t expect anything in return. These people are also pretty successful or are on their way to being successful.
When you show up, authentically and sincerely, the opportunities follow. Your success depends on what you do with with those opportunities.
2. Learn Together
It’s scientifically proven that when you learn together and discuss what you learn, you absorb the information better and make it your own by applying it to your situation.
- 90% of us learn when they teach someone
- 75% of us learn when they practice what they learned
- 50% of what we learn is when engaged in a group discussion
Sure, you could watch a webinar, or read a blog post on your own, but you’ll learn and retain information better when you’re learning as a group.
In communities of a group learning environment, we develop a support system, have accountability, and overall participation.
3. Connect and Welcome One Another
We all know what it feels like to be the new kid at school. Walking into the cafeteria and not knowing where to - or who to - sit with did not feel good. If you were lucky, someone you knew waved you over and introduced you to people. Whew. Relief. You had a place at the table.
If we all sit back and wait for someone to introduce us, we’ll spend every lunch period sitting alone. And I don’t want that for you.
Be the first to introduce yourself… the first to welcome… the first to encourage… the first to ask… and the first to put out your hand.
If you know someone in your community who needs to be connected with someone, email them and tell them why they need to connect. What will happen is you’ll not only be a catalyst but you’ll also receive that back tenfold.
4. Instill confidence In One Another
Take a moment to remember the last time someone gave you a real, genuine compliment. Not something in passing or casually, but a thoughtful mention. How did it make you feel?
- Sincere compliments build trust. Giving them with sincerity are the only way they work. It forms bonds between us by giving a compliment authentically and then receiving it graciously, it creates positivity and gratitude in your community.
- What goes around comes around. Giving compliments makes people want to be around you because people are drawn to positivity. By seeing good in people, we become a magnet to reciprocate that feeling.
- Receiving compliments pushes people to do better. Scientific proof here. Remember a time when a teacher may have complimented you? You had more confidence and it pushed you to do better. Using compliments means encouraging improving new skills.
Compliments are basically gold. They make the world a better place!
So, how do you make a sincere compliment? Instead of saying “I love your collection!”, say “I really love your collection. It reflects your style perfectly! I really feel like I’ve known you for years.”
5. Be Vulnerable
Gosh, I love Brene Brown. If you have yet to read her book Daring Greatly, add it to your summer reading list. What I learned from her book is women who let themselves be vulnerable feel a deeper connection to others. They have more confidence and they are more resilient and happy.
"The more you can show up and be real, the more meaningful your life will be." -Brene Brown.
I want you to think of an old and dear friend. I would guess that friendship hasn’t been without it’s ups and downs. Our oldest friends have seen every part of us - the good, the bad, and the drama - and they love us despite all that.
It’s hard to build that same level of vulnerability in new friendships for fear it won’t be reciprocated.
I think sometimes we all get caught up in being the expert or proving we’re good at what we do. The truth is, we don’t have all the answers. Your community is full of people from all different backgrounds, all with different strengths. We can lean on each other to learn, connect and support each other.
Let your guard down and ask a question. Being vulnerable is where I’ve formed some of my deepest friendships. When you put that out there, other people are more comfortable doing the same and it builds trust. Friendships are built upon shared experiences.
We often forget that there is a person on the other side of that profile picture. That person may need your comment to help them push through. Give them that gift. When you need that push, it will be returned.