The Importance of Connecting with Like-minded Individuals and Creating a Supportive and Encouraging Community
For many of you, community means something a little different than the dictionary definition you can look up on the internet. When it comes to community for me, I am looking for a space that is supportive and encouraging. I want to know that the people I'm surrounding myself with will be just as driven to achieve as I am.
I think the concept of a community can get lost sometimes. Too often, I find that people in our society (and likely others) are raised under the notion that we must do everything alone and that everything is based around competition. Think about it, school, work, sales, gift giving, sports.
Now, you might think that's not true, but grades are built through your effort and getting a job or the next promotion relies on you.
So, you might be wondering how a community could help you if you've already done all of those things on your own.
The effect of a community varies from person to person. The range of impact can go from an accountability partner or someone to vent to, all the way up to a team that connects you to the things that will help you achieve your dreams.
The benefits of a community can be monumental for your life, honestly.
When I first started out, I only had a few people that knew I had a knack for writing and believed I could do what I set out to do. That small amount of support from the people around me meant enough for me to go out and achieve authorship. For you, it could be the ability to scuba dive or climb mountains or cook dinner for your family one more night a week than you've been able to up to this point.
As with anything, there can be downsides. Some disadvantages to trusting people with your ideas and ambitions can be theft. Telling the wrong people can result in watching them tear down your dreams because of their own insecurities. But you shouldn't let this handful of negativity stop you from seeking out positive, like-minded individuals to propel you forward.
And who you can help move forward, as well.
So, how do you build a community?
Well, one way is to start asking around. For me, almost everyone wants to write a book, knows someone who's written a book, or has a friend who has a great idea and needs to write a book. You can find people through social media, on Meetup, in school, and places where other like-minded individuals hang out. Start asking people if they'd like to join you once a week or every other week for work days or brainstorming, and soon, you'll have a network of people to rely upon just as much as they rely on you.
When you've finally built (or joined) a thriving, beautiful community, look for people within it that are working on similar things to you. Like if you have a group of writers, find the ones that write in your genre or want to publish and market and have ideas you can grow from. And whatever you do, give as much as you're getting out of the group. No one likes a leech.
Now, if building a community sounds uncomfortable, or you have to start in a brand new industry from scratch without any mutual connections going in, don't fret. Sometimes, the best things to do when blazing new trails is to do a little research so you can go in with some idea of what you're doing and the things you're hoping to gain.
And remember, everyone in that group was new at one time, too.
The most important part of having a community is having people to bond with and rely on.
Your community will be one that can hold people up in healthy ways for them to continue on their paths to success. It will also be something that you can utilize to grow and achieve whatever it is you set your mind to, as well. The world is your oyster when you have others there to help you along the way!
At the end of the day, all you have to do is ask.
Lexi Mohney is an award-winning, self published author and a book coach living in Ann Arbor, MI. Throughout her writing and coaching career, she's lived by the motto of courage, and worked with her own coaches, groups, and support system to see her Big Audacious Dreams come true so that she can help others achieve success, too. Her first published piece, Carnal Knowledge, won an award at the 7th Annual Bisexual Book Awards in NYC on June 1, 2019. She is in the process of querying agents for her latest novel, Soulkind, which is the first in the Soul Hunter Series. Contact her through her website or find her on social media with any questions.