Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 ways to BUILD Community

The idea for this post really just sort of hit me upside the head while I was driving. I kept thinking about what makes a place feel like home. Specifically what makes an individual feel as though they belong. From home to work, it really doesn't matter about the edifice or the decor but it's the atmosphere, the energy, the people, the relationships and the bond. That's what makes a community. This list below is in no way, shape or form attempting to be comprehensive. It's not even a scratch on the surface but it's 5 ways that came to my mind. 5 ways that you could be more intentional about the way you approach your communities as well as manage and grow them.

Let's get started.

1. Share a Meal

There's something about sitting down and having a good meal with someone. I don't know about you but it's hard to be angry or frustrated with someone when you're eating. That may sound weird but I  personally cannot remain closed off or not enjoy my meal. Actually I cannot eat at all when I'm mad, I lose my appetite. Ultimately I'm usually happy when I'm eating. I will most likely be jovial, make jokes, smile, laugh and laugh some more. It's a perfect opportunity to get to know someone better, catch up, or reconnect. I like this way a lot because you can use it at home with your family, at work with your colleagues or with your friends. Oh and when you share the meal try sitting at a table without any devices.

2. Make Memories

Ok this may sound random but hear me out. This is honestly more about engaging in activities and experiencing life together. This could be as simple as hosting a potluck at work, learning to surf with friends or having a games night as a family. I think the key to making a memory is that everyone contributes. It may sound odd but there must be some level of effort put forward by everyone. Yes by definition a memory is something remembered from the past however the point isn't just to create a moment in time but it's to create a lasting moment. And the way you do that is by creating opportunity. You don't want to manufacture the moment but you do want to have activities and experiences that allow for the creation of lasting memories. Yes I go to work every weekday and I have memories of those days but I'm more inclined to feel connected to my community when we have opportunities to experience life together and make memories. Same goes for my family and friends.

3. Invest Time

If you want your community to thrive and grow then you have to put in the time. It sounds easy and it really is. WARNING I'm about to use a four letter word. PLAN. Yup I said it. Plan your time for your communities. I'd even go as far to say set goals for what you want to gain from each community and what you must contribute in order to meet your goals. Depending on your goals and the type of community the time commitment could be as little as a couple hours per week to a couple days a month.

4. Be Inclusive

There's always room for one more. If we use that mentality then no one will be left out. That's not to say that everyone belongs in your community but that the goal should never be to exclude anyone. In my opinion this is what separates a Clique from a Community.

5. Take Responsibility

As I get older I realize how much work it was for my parents to keep me entertained and engaged. From movies, trips to the mall, school plays and parties to name a few that was almost a full-time job in and of itself and at some point that burden has to shift. It can no longer be anyone else's responsibility to establish, maintain and grow our community. We must take the reigns on our personal and professional communities. The growth and health of our communities is dependent upon the level of effort that we put towards it.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post, please be sure to share ways you build community in your personal and professional circles below in the comments.

With Love,

Mrs. Kaye

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