The Year of Community

Forget “New Year. New You.”

Why the annual call to reinvent yourself?  You’re great the way you are.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for growth.  My gut says 2017 is going to be a big year for community, and that our growth will come, in part, from the communities we call our own.

Take a good hard look at who you are spending time with and what you are spending time doing. For those of you with wonderful communities of family and friends and colleagues – enjoy them; nurture them; learn from them, and then push yourself to find new communities.

For those of you who feel like your friends really aren’t doing it for you anymore, and your colleagues aren’t your people, and your family isn’t supportive of your real dreams and goals, maybe it's time to zero in on your own identity and then find some fresh faces.

Let your communities be sources for new ideas, new adventures, and new growth.  Who couldn’t use a little of that?  Here are a few ideas for finding new communities:

#1 Do Something Different – Always wanted to ditch the skis for snowboarding? Or learn to knit, shoot photographs on that new camera you’ve been meaning to master, or bake that gourmet dessert? Go for it. There’s no time like now. Hobbies are a great way to mix it up with new people. One of my favorite people to this day is a woman I randomly met on a centennial bike ride 15 years ago!

#2 Learn Something New – There is a class for EVERYTHING these days. In person, online, big group, small group, private, semi-private…you name it, someone’s teaching it! Find that thing you’ve been wanting to learn and go at it alone, with a friend, or in a group.

#3 Reach Out to Someone Old – that can be an old friend, a family member you haven’t connected with in a while, or literally someone old. It’s amazing how people who have known you a long time, or simply been around a long time, have so much wisdom to impart. Reconnecting will make your day and theirs, and inevitably will give you something to chew on.

#4 Change Your Scenery – a simple change of scenery can offer a whole new perspective on what you want and what’s important to you. Bring a new piece of art to the office, paint a room a different color, conquer that pesky work project from home or a coffee shop instead of at your desk. Just the other day, I was working on a presentation and got stuck considering which avenue was the best delivery. I was frustrated, but I picked myself up and went for a walk in the park.  Just the change of scenery gave me an idea for how to proceed, and I bumped into an old colleague to boot. Small shifts in scenery can lead to big ideas and fun encounters.

#5 Challenge Yourself – as you know, in 2016, I challenged myself to a year of 30-Day Challenges. It was a great experiment for a year. I pushed myself, learned new things, met new people, learned some limits, expanded other ones.In the process, I learned about a lot of different communities – writers, photographers, journalists, poets, chefs, even neurologists. I came across their work through my challenges and just knowing that there was a group of people zeroed in on what I was doing made me that much more motivated to continue with my challenge. This year I’m trying a different challenge – totally sight unseen and with some SERIOUS work to do, I’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder. The more the merrier, so if you’re interested, you can sign up too! (If you’ve done one, I’d LOVE some tips. I can use all the help I can get!!!)

#6 Join in: Take the sure-fire approach and add yourself to an established community.  Parachute Coaching has some perfect opportunities just waiting for you...

ArticlesLauren Laitin