Forming a community plays a huge part in the history of human kind. You know "It takes a village". In a sense I recently found a village in the most unlikely of places... New York City. At a time when technology is all consuming and when todays political climate is so toxic, it can feel like there is a lack of human connection and caring, however I was pleasantly reminded of how beautiful and important real community is. I'm talking I.R.L guys!
Here were my take aways from my inspiring trip to NYC on how & where to start cultivating your own sense of community:
- Volunteer in an area that you are passionate or curious about. Giving your time may seem like something you can't afford to do when you are grinding it out building your career, family, or just trying to survive the chaos of your life. However giving back can be the most rewarding, empowering experience, and it can be an incredible way to meet people you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to connect with.
- Step outside your comfort zone...whether it's signing up for a recreational sports team, dance class, saying YES to a random activity someone invites you to or attending a local community meeting. These are all different examples of outlets that can show you the heart beat of a place and make you feel connected to it's people. If you only run in the same social circles and go to the same coffee shop everyday it might feel comfortable but your not opening yourself up to other possibilities or learning new things. Uncomfortable is where the greatest things can happen because it pushes you to show up, be present, and put your best foot forward.
- Create it from scratch. If you can't find the type of community or like minded people who are doing what you are looking to spend your spare time doing...then create the community yourself. Put yourself in a leadership position and start something from scratch. Chances are there are others out there who are looking for the same thing.
- Forget the FOMO. "Fear Of Missing Out" is a real thing if you let it be. There is always going to be something "cooler" or more fun going on. The grass will be greener if you let it be. Unless you decide to be present in what you are doing and enjoy your own life. Instead of FOMO be PIYOL (LOL) "Present In Your Own Life" (that's the best acronym I could come up with but please, I welcome other suggestions).
- Be patient. Finding your people and place in a new city can take time. Or maybe you have been in the same city but feel as though you have grown and changed and it is time to surround yourself with new people who's values or lifestyles align with yours. Regardless, this process doesn't always happen overnight so be easy on yourself and the city or town you live in. If you develop a negative story about where you live or the people around you, you might be missing the magic right in front of your nose. Good things take time.