Continuing to Create Community
Are you inspired to engage more in the communities you are a part of? Here are some easy and simple ways that you can get started!
- Check in on neighbors, friends, and family members using our Question of the Day.
- Find an organization that you can volunteer for safely.
- Start your own virtual group around things that interest you like an exercise group, book club, or trivia team.
- Donate to a cause you are passionate about and/or assist in their fundraising efforts.
- Support local, small businesses as much as possible.
- Suggest a teambuilding or bonding event for your work team – check out our Activity of the Month for ideas.
- Join a professional organization in your field for new networking opportunities.
Or, let us plan a teambuilding or bonding event for a community that is important to you!
My social life was over. Fear had begun to creep over me as weeks of stay at home orders turned into months. I had moved to a new city not long before the pandemic began and was just starting to explore and meet people when it happened. At the beginning, of course, no one knew how long these precautions would be in place so I didn’t even think about how it could adversely affect my life. That quickly changed and now I know I’m not the only one who has felt isolated or disconnected from my community during this time. So many of us have been searching for ways to feel close to others while we have had to physically be apart. But throughout it all, instead of feeling sad, I’ve been continuously inspired by ways people have found to come together despite the circumstances.
It is no wonder I quickly became a fan of actor John Krasinski’s webseries, Some Good News, which highlights good news from around the world. The show garnered a massive following and the best part was that content was driven by ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others. If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend the Community Episode, which showcases people from a variety of different countries that came together to spread good news in their own ways.
This show made me reflect on how we define and create communities. I thought of all of the communities I considered myself to be a part of – my school community, the rock climbing community, the leadership community – what they all had in common, and why they were different from other groups I was involved with. I came to the conclusion that there were three key characteristics that helped distinguish these as communities:
Sense of Belonging: This desire to belong is a basic human need that asks to be met in order for us to feel fulfilled. According to an article from Deloitte, people need to feel comfortable, connected, and that they can contribute in order for them to experience a sense of belonging. Just being a member of a group isn’t enough, belonging means we feel safe, accepted, supported, and included. When we are a part of a community, we experience this sense of belonging individually and to something bigger than ourselves.
Alignment: For a community to be aligned, it means that there is some shared feeling of place or purpose among the members of that community. The American writer and consultant, Margaret Wheatley said, “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” It is this type of alignment that provides a shared feeling of place or purpose among the members of a community. We may gain this sense of alignment from many different things, like shared interests, geographical location, or even life circumstances such as similar professions or cultural backgrounds.
Commitment: The famous American football coach Vince Lombardi was known for having said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” When we contribute meaningfully, we show care and commitment to the groups and places we belong. These contributions can take many different forms: from time, to resources, to money, or involvement. Regardless of what we can offer, commitment is what transforms groups into communities that are able to be sustainable, to grow, and to achieve success in their purpose.
I realized the true power of these characteristics when my own work team made a concerted effort to bring our community closer together while we operated remotely. Leadership Inspirations hosted (and still do!) weekly virtual gatherings to bring together staff members from the past, present, and future to spend quality time together. We engaged in meaningful discussions and led fun activities in order to rebuild a sense of belonging and alignment for our group. You could see the commitment from everyone through their attendance, energy, and those who stepped up to lead some of our sessions! A few of my favorite memories include a Family Feud night, a Murder Mystery party, and a very competitive gingerbread house making competition. What is amazing is that we realized we have been more connected to each other this year than we have in past years because of these efforts!
With all of this in mind, I realized that I have been more connected to others than I thought, even if it was from afar. When we can create strong and positive communities, they have the power to nourish us, uplift us, and unite us. My own experiences have reminded me that we are all naturally driven to seek community, but more importantly, that we are all capable of creating these spaces despite the challenges and barriers we may face.
*Meet the Author*
Caelan Cooney is the Operations Manager for Leadership Inspirations. She got her start in leadership as a high school DECA student and went on to graduate from Chapman University with degrees in Business Management and Integrated Educational Studies. As a regular contributor to From the Balcony, her favorite topics to explore are personality theory, group development, and conflict management. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and listening to podcasts.
Favorite Quote: “I am still learning” – Michelangelo
Fun Facts: 1) I once bought a goat on Craigslist 2) I am afraid of escalators 3) My life goal is to give a TedTalk