The power of community

Have you noticed the word ‘community’ being bandied about a lot more lately? Take a look at sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to see first hand the power of communities at work. Once upon a time, your community consisted of your family and those who surrounded your home. Now we have access to communities around the world and best of all we can hand-pick who we want to build a community with.

So what’s all the hype and hoopla really about? Do we need connections and communities or is it just more sh#t that we have to add to our never ending list of things to do?

Here’s some insight for you. Take a look at the five people you spend the most time with. Now take a look at your face-to-face network; both personally and professionally. What is that like?  Are these the people who support you and propel you to the next level? Are they the ones who get excited by your dreams, encourage and expand your thinking?

What’s your answer? YES or NO?

If your answer is YES, then high-fives all round!! Carry on and keep doing what you’re doing, review occasionally and if you need to step things up, don’t be afraid to leave your community and find another that suits your needs.

If it’s NO, put on your joggers and run away fast!  You’re never going to achieve your dreams if you’re surrounded by Doubtful Debbie’s and Negative Nigel’s (if I’ve offended any Debbie’s or Nigel’s please change the names to suit). These people will have you slinking back and playing small in no time at all. They don’t want you to change. They’d rather you pull yourself together and keep things exactly as they are thank you very much!

Here’s something that might shock you – it’s often those who are closest to you (aka friends and family) who are the least supportive.

Fancy that! Aren’t these people supposed to support, love and embrace everything that you decide to do with your life? Well, not always and it’s not a reflection of you, it’s a reflection of them. Now we have that cleared up, let me tell you the 3 steps to help you change all that:

  1. Review who you are associating, connecting and and surrounding yourself with
  2. Remove those (I don’t mean literally…perhaps I should say, pop them to one side) who do not and are not willing to support you
  3. Find a new community

So how do you find a new community? Friends are hard to come by and if your social butterfly wings have fallen off, it’s even tougher, and it’s just not that easy to choose a new family! Well a big thanks to the internet. Now you can find and have access to an amazing array of networks and groups full of people who are supportive and excited to be part of your journey.

The beauty of online communities is there is an element of anonymity which helps when you’re getting started and people find they are much more comfortable and open than with face-to-face connections; super helpful if you’re the shy type.

Here’s one more great thing about these communities. They can help you promote yourself and what you do, your new venture, your field of expertise and your passion. You can reach more people than ever before by tapping, not just into the members of the group directly, but into all of their connections. Woohoo! Are you getting excited yet? Doesn’t learning from each other and helping each other get further at a faster pace sound much more fun?

Do some research, find out where people like you hangout online. Is it Facebook or LinkedIn or do you need to create a community yourself?

The next time you hear about or receive an invitation to join a group, take a closer look and see if it’s the right fit for you. I promise you that when you find a great group with positive members, it will turn into an invaluable resource for you.

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