A community expert, Sarah Judd Welch, recently described community as “a clear sense of the value provided to members (and, of course, the delivery of said value). So often, that fundamental value is not swag, discounts, or even resources. It’s the fulfillment of a human need. It’s belonging. It’s friendship. It’s the feeling of being less alone. That personal experience should be at the core of any community initiative.”
Sarah’s definition strikes a cord when she says “belonging”. Community is where we feel less alone, and okay to be who we actually are.
There can be no big idea without community. Why? Because if we are the ONLY weird one, we’ll quite often keep our novel idea to ourselves. No new idea comes out unless we feel “safe” enough to share it. But if we are mainstream in a weird world, then we’ll bring out or onlyness, that place from which original ideas come. Genius is not only that initial spark of an idea but who can add, shape, challenge and execute that idea. Big ideas, therefore, are a communal act.
Which got me reflecting, for myself, to whom do I belong? Certainly my immediate family. Definitely the group of women that are on the Change The Ratio List. Sometimes the Thinkers50 group. Sometimes the HBR community. Sometimes the writing community. Rarely the mom crowd. Sometimes the CEO / Board community. Certainly friends who love to learn. Never with competitive people who think there are only so many seats at the table. Never with people who I sense are lying to me. Always to those who live in a generous and life-affirming way.
And so let me ask: what is your community, and what are searching for? May I suggest you write the list for yourself and see what you learn; Share if you wish. Might inspire someone else.