Finding (and Building) Your Own Community

Community: A place of acceptance, trust, and support. We all crave it. We all want a place where we can let our guard down, speak our mind, and connect with others. We’re social creatures and isolation is, well, isolating.

A place like this is hard to find, to be sure. By nature, we put our guard up, we’re hesitant to let people in and share that ‘personal’ part of ourselves.

The definition of community between generations is also drastically different. While my parents may think of community as a church organization or neighborhood club, my generation sees community as something less “physical”. Followers on Twitter, readers of your blog, or a crew of entrepreneurs you’ve gathered together to work into the night. Generation Y is redefining community.

In the past year I’ve learned one very valuable lesson – that a community is not only something you can be a part of, it’s something you can create. Start a blog, rent out a space in your community and start gathering people together. While there are a countless number of clubs to become a member of, I find that more often, the best communities are started from within.

This blog? It’s a community I’ve started – it’s a place where I can be at my best, speak my mind, be opinionated, and more importantly provide a platform of discussion with the people who are kind enough to subscribe, stop by, and read on a regular (or even irregular) basis.

My company? It’s a community. It’s something I’ve started with Sam Davidson that gives us the opportunity to do work that matters with clients who do good work. It’s a “place” in which we can gather other people who are great at what they do, cultivate all that goodness, and deliver great results. We get to change the world, in our own little way.

Limit your memberships

Just as it’s important to cultivate the communities you are a part of, or those you’ve created. It’s equally important to think about communities that are holding you back.

Maybe it’s a job you hate – maybe it’s the church you attend that’s preaching things you don’t believe in, a gym you never go to or a city you’ve lived in for too long. It’s easy to feel “stuck” in some of our communities. A steady paycheck, that church you’ve been going to since you were a kid, the town you grew up in – it’s safe, and safe is, well safe – it’s hard to break away from what you’ve always known.

But today, maybe it’s time you leave the bar where “everyone knows your name” and try something new. Today, start thinking about how you can create your own community.

What communities are you a part of? What communities have your created yourself? What “memberships” can you end as we move into the new year?

(Check out the full rundown of my #reverb10 posts here | Photo c/o Rob Williams)