The other day I heard an important distinction between the meaning of community and the definition of a network.
A network is a group of interconnected people … which I completely relate to because I have personally built a business by building my network.
A community is a feeling of fellowship of others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.
The distinction between the two got me thinking about what community is … and the community that I have fostered … versus the networks I have built.
And then it dawned on me. The reason why I have been experiencing a sense of loss and loneliness in my life. It is because I haven’t nurtured enough community, at a time when I think I needed it the most.
There are things we do that help foster community.
Being in a relationship … having a family … a partnership of some kind …
These all lend themselves to shared interests and common goals.
When we have a belief in something, or a strong passion, be it a spiritual belief in God or some passion for say a certain sport or the arts and culture, we have an easier time building connection. We form relationships where we rely on others and over time, feel confident that no matter what, we are going to be there for each other … be it to pray with … cheer with … create with … or commiserate with.
Being a solo entrepreneur can make it difficult to build or keep up within a community. We focus most of our time on our company. We make decisions to prioritize growing the business over, sometimes, almost everything else. And we can often seclude ourselves from places of deep connectivity citing a lack of time, energy or a whole host of other reasons, valid or not.
But the cost of disconnection can be great.
It’s almost like we find our own little hole and keep digging ourselves towards the opposite direction of community and support, even though I think we realize it’s exactly what we need to thrive. We need community and that sense of support to keep our heart and soul alive – so it can fuel our imagination, our passions, and yes, ultimately our business.
We all have a lot to offer to a community, in addition to what we will gain from being a part of one. But like anything else in life, it starts with taking a step forward in the direction we want to go. And we don’t know what might stick, so we can’t be scared to go down a few paths to find the right one for us.
Be it for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. Finding a community, or two or five, feels like a good use of our time.
Special thanks to my new community #MC and my old #creativeNZ match for the inspiration.