I’ve been a part of some great communities so far in my life. Some small, some large enough to where I haven’t even met all involved and never will.
Among all of the memorable communities there are some common threads that I emulate when working toward creating new communities. Whether it was with a team that I was joining, a business I was starting or working with, or an interest group that I seek to share a hobby or sport with there are defining qualities that make community something more than just a buzzword.
Authenticity Is Vital
I’ve found over the years that forcing it is not an option. The harder you try, the more elusive community becomes. Authenticity is the key to a great start. The communities that stand the test of time are built around genuine efforts that don’t take much thought or planning because I didn’t have to do anything other than be myself and act on who I am and what I want out of life.
Seems easy, right? Not always.
I found that I got tripped up at times chasing what I saw other people doing in their communities. It’s a hard pitfall to escape. It’s easy to think that you can just take the habits and verbiage of a successful community and reproduce them to create your own. I mean, it could work in theory but it’s not likely.
If there is any part that doesn’t seem natural to you then at some point it will either turn people off to what you’re trying to do or you’ll just get tired of playing the charade. So, don’t go down that path!
To clarify, successful habits should be emulated. Absolutely! But, taking what other’s have had success with and copying that to the word is not what will work for you. Because it’s not you. It’s you regurgitating what you see and hear to try and get a desired result.
Everything that you build your community on must come from a genuine place. If your heart is not in it, that shines through to the people that you’re trying to connect with and help. That will never lead to anything sustainable.
Don’t Be Afraid To Let Go Of The Steering Wheel
Rebell Strength and Conditioning was my baby for 6 years. It was truly a community that I think of to this day and miss dearly. While my business partner and I had a great deal to do with how it all started, we weren’t the only ones responsible for what the community shaped up to be after that.
I never realized it until I had a conversation with my wife about it not too long ago. The great community that Rebell ended up being was a result of it’s “owners” letting go of control. It turned out that there were not just two owners of Rebell but a whole list of them.
We managed to gather a group of people together with a common goal; to lead healthy lives and have a blast doing it. After that, we let the inmates run the prison.
We raised over $100,000 for various charities because we listened and let people run with ideas.
We had social hours, breakfast groups, dinner groups, book clubs, and other things that were not our ideas. But we let people take ownership and run with it. What that created was an energy that no two people could have created on their own and something that naturally attracted more and more like minded people. It was awesome!
It’s not an easy thing to do. You’re heart drops a little bit thinking about handing over the keys to the castle. But if you let your community take ownership in their journey you will not only alleviate some pressure from yourself, but also create a stronger and more resilient effort toward your goal.
My first two points lead to what I consider to be the most important piece of the puzzle. Connection.
Whether it be the Strength Faction or Rebell, the thing that made it all tick is making connections with people. If you let people be who they are and do your best to help them be who they want to become, then you’re in business!
A large part of my role with the Strength Faction is leading our mentoring efforts. A couple of months back I changed how we were connecting with people that needed help. We used to send out emails to check in on people but we weren’t happy with that experience because it didn’t seem like our people were too jazzed about it.
Then I created Office Hours. Once a week I block off my schedule for a couple of hours and am available to connect with anyone that want to talk about anything ailing them. The results have been great!
What I thought would turn out to be 20-30 minute calls most often end up being longer talks covering everything from business to personal life. They aren’t the cold “help” calls I’ve paid good money for with other “mentors”. It’s really just two people taking the time to catch up and talk through roadblocks or bounce ideas off of each other.
It works because we care about each other. Not just from a business stand point but from a humanity one as well. I get just as much out of the conversations as they do. That’s what happens when you follow steps one and two of this blog; you attract people that are easy to connect with on deep levels. And when that happens, stress is easier to navigate, creativity flows almost effortlessly, and goals that maybe seemed impossible to reach at one point hit your rearview mirror.
The word gets thrown around in inauthentic ways these days but don’t let that detract from it’s importance. Creating community is not only vital from a business standpoint. It makes life easier. It makes life more fun. It makes the improbable a piece of cake; the dreadful more manageable. Go out and get you some community today and see just how far you can make it!
What I’ve shared here is just the tip of the iceberg. My man Todd Bumgardner is diving deep on this topic in our next Mini-Course. Get on over to http://www.strengthfaction.com and join for just $1 to get in on the action!