I love working with a new theme each year. I normally don’t plan for it. The theme for the next year emerges as I do my annual review in November.

The theme for 2018 was Surrender. I wanted to surrender to God’s purpose in my life and so having this theme helped me stay focused.

This year, my theme is Transformation. When I started the year, I thought it was a transformation from the inside out. Little did I know that the inner transformation was going to be accompanied by an outer one!

No area of my life has been left untouched this year. Personal development, spirituality, parenting, relationships, finances, business, health, and (a surprising one) community.

For many years I focused purely on working virtually. I rarely met clients and preferred phone or online sessions, teleclasses and workshops.

The transformation this year brought about a shift that included physical work with individuals and groups. I also started attending networking forums and formed a physical mastermind.

Over the course of the year, two words have come up a number of times as I connected with people physically: Purpose and Community.

On the side of Purpose, I’ve gotten clients who asked about stepping into their purpose. A number of times, it’s clear to me that the person needs some groundwork first before they make that step.

A few weeks ago, Purpose came up big time when I asked past clients and a few people who know me well what they think I do. My question came from a point of wanting to know exactly what people say when they refer clients to me or if asked what we do together.

Almost all of them mentioned the word Purpose. So I took note and will talk about that in a future article.

Today, I want to focus on Community, and more so on where YOUR community is and who it consists of.

This year, I’ve taken steps to build a new community; one that goes beyond my family. I’ve yearned for like-minded people to connect with, but didn’t want to rush into it.

Given that I’m an introvert, I rarely seek out people who are outside my small circle of family and friends. However, I knew that it was time to move beyond this circle, which is not an easy feat for any introvert.

At the same time, I was stepping out into the public and publicity has always been one of my main fears. It’s an obstacle that could only be tackled by…well…being more visible in the public arena.

Oh my!

Fast-forward 6 months later and I’m pretty pleased with the community that’s forming around me. While there’s still room for improvement and growth, having these people in my circle has given me more confidence and pushed me totally out of my comfort zone.

It hasn’t been an easy journey. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon a few times, made commitments then cancelled at the last minute, gone off air when I needed time and space to myself, and basically done a number of things that constitute self-sabotage.

Luckily, this community hasn’t allowed me to hide or fall back. They are in my face and call me out when I fall into what was previously my normal behaviour.

Additionally, two incidents happened this week that further solidified the reality that creating a community is necessary.

First, a close friend lost a relative. I didn’t even know this because we live in different towns and I’ve not been keen on social media of late.

As we talked, we acknowledged that our generation has messed up by not having strong group relationships. Unlike our mothers, we meet our friends and groups in hotels. We rarely get to connect with them in homes. So there really is no depth to the relationships.

And so when someone has a challenge, it’s easier to call them and maybe send them money. But personal touch at the home level? That’s too much time and effort! When we cry, we cry alone. And when we grieve, the pain is so much bigger because we’re alone.

The second incident arose in a conversation with my neighbour where we decided to go beyond saying hi at the stairs. The issue of having women who are there for you 100% when you need them (and vice versa) also came up again.

So once again, the comparison between how we live our lives today and how our mothers lived came up. And this time, we expressed our envy at the way these elder women have connected and built strong bonds that last decades.

Your turn…

That’s my community-building story which is still work in progress. The community I’m talking about is not something you set up and it grows on its own. You create and maintain it deliberately.

Just as in a family, there will be fights, upsets, resentments, makeups and break ups. But you work your way through them and grow together.

Do you have such a community?

If you do, that’s great! I’d love to hear from you and learn what makes your community work.

If you don’t have one, what are you going to do this year to create or join a community of like-minded people who are positive and forward thinking?

There’s definitely work to do if you’re the one that needs the community. You have to style up and show up fully.

You also have to identify the values and characteristics of the people you want to connect with and deliberately seek out people who fit your criteria.

And even more importantly, you have to do a thorough self-evaluation and determine whether you too fit this criteria.

Do have live these values? Do you have the most important characteristics in your list? Will these kinds of people want to connect or meet with you?

This last part is the hardest I’ve found. Self-analysis in private is easy. You definitely require extra doses of humility and courage when you allow others to analyze you!

True friendships and authentic communities go beyond money, possessions, positions and connections. They are more about who you are on the inside – the real you once we strip out everything else. When you connect with people at this level, the other physical things follow authentically.

Who wouldn’t want this?

Take time to evaluate your close community. Is it serving your needs? Are you growing together or is it more of show and tell? Do you stand by one another emotionally, physically and psychologically? Do you show up for each other?

And if you’re like me where you have to create or join one deliberately, what are you going to do to get started? How will you stay committed especially when things get tough, as they will?

I’m not the expert on this topic. I can only share my observations and what I’m doing. You are the expert of your life. So you probably already know the answers to these questions even as I ask them.

Take action and let me know how the process works for you in the Comments below.

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.