“The thing is that we are wired to be a part of something bigger than us so deeply, that sometimes we will take fitting in as a substitute. But actually fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging because fitting in says, ‘Be like them to be accepted.’ Belonging says, ‘This is who I am. I hope we can make a connection.”
I love this quote. I love Brene!
We hear so much about the importance of community, and yes, it is important.
And Brene’s clarification of “fitting in” versus “belonging” is so useful.
It underscores what I have been thinking about lately - the importance of finding YOUR RIGHT COMMUNITY.
The people and groups that help you thrive as the person you are and the person you aspire to be.
You need to be selective.
Just like you wouldn’t blindly accept feedback from strangers, or people who don’t understand or respect what you’re about and what you’re trying to accomplish, you don’t want to join just any community.
This is true for not only communities but for friendships, romances, and professional relationships as well.
You want to find a space, and people, who accept you for who you are now AND challenge you to become the best version of yourself in a way that inspires you.
A way that doesn’t cause you to feel ‘less than’ or resistant or shut you down. It is so important to find a community that is comprised of not only good people, people of like mind who you enjoy and respect, but people who make you feel good about who you really are. People who might point out some areas you could improve upon but do it in a way that is kind and encouraging.
Whether it’s a spiritual or religious group, a pickleball or basketball group, a knitting circle, a book club, any people with whom you share an interest…pick a space where you feel good about being you.
The communities where you don’t belong aren’t bad per se. They can be good people, they can offer tons of value, and the right people can thrive in them.
These communities are the right communities for some.
But if you don’t feel good, even if you think you should, you need to honor how you’re feeling and find a community that accepts you for you and appreciates what you bring to the table.
Someplace where you don’t have to try so hard to be someone or something you are not.
Someplace where you BELONG rather than need to contort yourself to ‘fit in’.
I learned the importance of this recently.
After certifying as a coach, I joined a community to support me in continuing to hone my skills as well as build my business. I’d never worked for myself before and I felt alone and confused about how to start.
I felt I didn’t belong immediately. There were so many new concepts and the program moved along so fast, I felt incapable and slow. I watched others absorb the concepts, follow along, ask smart questions, sign new clients, and make money.
All while I struggled to get through the massive amount of information that just wasn’t gelling for me. Some of it was useful and a lot of it felt unlike me, unlike how I had dreamed about being a successful coach. But it appeared to be working for so many others, so I believed there was something wrong with me.
In this community, as successful as it is in helping many coaches build their business, I felt like complete and utter crap. I used that against myself, forcing myself to ‘fit in’ and stayed for too long in what, for me, was a punishing environment.
It wasn’t until I found another coaching community, where the style was more laid back, less focused on money goals, and more focused on being the best coach I could be with the highest skill and confidence, that I found my way to belonging.
The goals of the two spaces were similar, but the styles were completely different.
And for me, the latter style was one where I felt more comfortable to take risks. I felt supported, understood, and not guided or rushed in a way that didn’t feel like me.
Within a couple of months, after feeling stuck in (self-inflicted) fear and shame for so long, I was able to execute tasks and move toward my goals. It wasn’t easy but with the right people around me I was able to do it.
The evidence of me being able to move through fear, find my way and succeed at what I set out to do, was invaluable. As a result, I gained a level of confidence and self-trust that I never had. I am a different person today than I was six months ago.
Community is so important.
There’s power in numbers, in connection with others.
You feel that power at live music concerts, sporting events, theater, in yoga class, playing sports.
More than ever, we know the importance of community after COVID.
FIND YOUR RIGHT COMMUNITY.
How does this community, this person, this job make you feel?
You deserve not just any community, any friend, any partner, any job…
You deserve YOUR RIGHT one.