In a recent meeting, I realized the power of community. If the lockdowns and “stay at home” orders have taught me anything it is that humans need each other. Our American or Western culture has pushed hard for people to be “self-made” or to “cowboy up”, and while there are some great things to this type of culture, there are some hidden demons. Without community, you are alone. Alone leads to isolation and isolation leads to depression, addiction, and even some extremely harmful behaviors. Community allows us to share the weight of our challenges while celebrating the highlights of our life. The discussion of ideas and sharing of perspectives creates growth on both a personal as well as professional level.
Here are a few ways to reach out to continue to build your community network.
Meeting in person.
For those that are willing to face the risk, meet in person whenever possible. The power of the physical connection may just have more healing, emotionally, and physically than the danger that the virus is presenting. Not everyone has the ability to do this, and not everyone can take the risk. On the other hand, facing the idea or situation of being alone during the holiday, for the older generation possibly their last holiday is more heart wrenching and doing more physical harm than the covid virus ever could.
The next best option would be to have a video chat. While you may not be able to feel the physical presence of the energy, you will get so much more out of the connection by looking into the eyes of the individual you are talking with. They say that the eyes are the window to your soul, the seat of your emotion. Often we can tell how someone is doing, not by their words but by their eyes. Take the time to learn the technology. Help another to learn and reach out via video call.
The younger generation has adapted to texting rather than phone conversations. Phone conversations can communicate tone and incorporate feeling where texting seems to lose the feeling of the conversation. Something as simple as picking up the phone will change the entire day for one person you connect with via a conversation.
There are many stories that have been shared by someone changing the outcome of life by reaching out. Two different individuals shared they were on the brink of suicide, plans and notes written, when someone interrupted their process with a personal connection. The community has the power to create support, encouragement, and healing. The power to connect and share removes the isolation and loneliness of walking through our lives alone. We need people to share the pain and celebrate the highlights of our lives; without this, there is little impact and little legacy.
- Be the first one to reach out. Don’t wait. Everyone is waiting for someone else to take the first step. When you step into a room, be the one starting the conversation. Even the introverts of the group can do this if they are able to adjust their mindset as a healing connection rather than a friendship connection.
- Be authentic. It is easy to see right through those who are frauds. When you reach out you must show that you care. Without authenticity, it is impossible to connect with your community on a level that will support and tap into that healing power.
- Be empathetic. The key to empathy is to identify with the feelings that the other person is dealing with? Leaders and connectors may not be able to find sympathy within the situation or circumstances but a leader can always find a way to connect with the emotion that is being felt.
Once you understand the power of community and connecting with others, what will you do to reach out to others? How will you empower them to be strong and then allow them to speak strength into your life? Take action today! Reach out in the way that you are able to support and strengthen those within your community.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully, be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.” ~ Jim Rohn