As a freelancer, I’m learning more every day that community really is important to me.
Not commuting into a grey office everyday certainly has it’s benefits (she says sat in yoga pants and crazy hair) but the one thing I do miss is the sense of community. Having people who understand the culture and context to talk to, to bounce ideas off, or just to chat to about last night’s Love Island…
Confession – I don’t watch love Island, I have tried and it makes me want to tear out my eye balls and give up on the world. But I know a lot of people love it so you guy’s crack on, I’ll be over here wondering why I don’t get it! Maybe I’m just getting old.
These were both very different propositions, the latter of which I was involved with organising as part of my Virtual Assistant life – only this was less virtual and more person to person. I’ve talked about Blog Con already so I won’t go into detail here, and if you search #blogtacular on instagram you will get a taste of what that was about (creativity the internet and everything). I was too busy to take any decent pictures which says a lot in itself but the header picture to this post is what they call the family photo (courtesy of Will Ireland) and I think that sums up the ethos of the conference. 200 people coming together and learning about this industry and how to survive as a business in a tough world. It was an epic couple of days, I’m still recovering!
I’ve always ben aggressively independent, thinking I can do it all myself, but what I learned from both of these conferences is the importance of finding your people. Especially when you are embarking on a new path.
I’m not talking about people who are the same as you, but people to learn from, people to help you grow, people you can help in return.
Find people who have experienced similar challenges, find out how they met them, would they do the same again?
Find people who approached things in a different way, what can you learn from their style?
Find your mentor
Find people you can laugh with, it’s so important not to take yourself too seriously, you need someone to keep you grounded.
Find people you can argue constructively with. It’s healthy to challenge our own opinions… twitter needs to learn this.
Find people who won’t judge you but will accept what and who you are.
Find people who understand the down days but don’t let you stay there to long.
Find your cheerleader.
Find people with different personalities to your own, what do they get to experience that you don’t? How can you get a piece of that?
Find people who need your help, reciprocity is the cornerstone of friendship.
Find people to ask when you don’t dare ask out loud.
Find success stories.
Find those who have failed and risen like a phoenix from the flames.
You’re not going to ‘click’ with everyone you find, but that’s okay. In fact it can be a good thing. You can’t be friends with everyone and sometimes it’s better all round to keep thing professional.
But you can learn from everyone. Whether that is finding a different way to do something you hadn’t thought of, or gaining validation that you like they way you’re doing it just fine.
Since my blogging journey began, I have been practicing finding people. Sometimes more successfully than others. I’ve got so much better at just talking to strangers, in the appropriate context that is. Though maybe just going up to random people in public places and asking them about themselves would be an interesting social experiment.
There are ways to put yourself in the path of people you are looking for, whether it’s going conferences, meet-ups, connecting through mutual friends, on line, social media, pitching cold or any other format, the key is to make the effort, make the effort again and keep making it, and trust that the universe will take care of the rest, even if it’s not in the way you expect.
Serendipity is my favourite but it’s not random, it needs you to get on board and be open to opportunities. So where ever you are in your journey, keep an eye out for those people you are looking for because you never know when you might find them.