by Cricket Desmarais
“Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.” ―Albert Schwietzer
We’re living in the economy of connection, dear maestros. If you’re lucky (& smart), you’re doing it- both online & off.
Welcome to step number 8 of the 11 Essentials for Minding the Money Gap:
FIND YOUR TRIBE.
Also called networking, a term I’m a bit leery of as it comes with a connotation of agenda & “giving to get,” remember that it’s best to connect & give from a place of genuine interest. Make connections with businesses & people whose vibe jibes with yours (& since people are behind business, it’s all about people).
Sure, it’s important to respect the differences between us. It’s what makes the world go ’round, after all. But when the connect is in good alignment, you can’t help but feel a little giddy & also want to help lift each other up to their epic-ness.
Even if we are introverted or self-declared loners, being part of a common collective is vital to our sense of self & often supports the visions we reach for. It’s a synergy sort of thing.
Synergy allows us to both give & receive in business, with actionable things like sharing info offered, recommending each other (or their services & “products”) to friends or businesses both online & off, & tuning in to hear what each other has to say.
It’s also what can be so simple, like the importance of sharing a cup of tea & talk while the bees flutter from hibiscus to hibiscus. At times, that can be what really matters most.
I LOVE connecting, & have built my life’s work around it, no matter what the job description was at the time. Connecting people to information. Connecting people to the sea & its creatures. Connecting people to great food. Connecting people to art, entertainment & literature. Connecting people to their spiritual selves (or at least, helping guide them there). Connecting businesses to customers. Connecting people to their sense of possibility & the abundance within their creativity.
Even before I read a lick about our culture & commerce turning towards “connection,” I’d already had my tagline for two years, created by simply reflecting upon what it was I do.
“Helping you connect creatively.”
Seems simple, I know, but it’s at the core of who I am & pretty much says it all.
But I also have a confession. While I’m all about connecting & wanting those connections to thrive, as of late, finding community has somewhat eluded me.
It wasn’t always so. For the last fifteen years, I lived on an island where EVERYONE was connected by two degrees of separation. Connecting was natural & easy. You couldn’t avoid it. The creative tribe there is momentous.
In the time since we’ve moved north, I’ve made very few personal connections. I did, however, spend the long, cold lonely winter researching online sources to grow my coaching & consulting clientele & try my hand at online business, an idea that I would have scoffed at a mere year ago but am focusing on now that I’m experiencing such challenges with finding my physical tribe.
As you already know, there’s a lot out there in the online realm. Beautiful &/or informative blogs, sites & courses on creativity, business, spirituality, health, wellness & more (so much info, so little time!). I’m still sussing out what feels in alignment with who I am, what my vision is & how I want to move forward in the world, but once this becomes clear, I can work on nurturing those relationships.
Even still, it’s not my preferred mode of being in community. It’s slow work creating a connect online. The nuance of what makes us US get lost. Our smiles, the way we gaze deeply at someone when they share their stories, the light hand to the shoulder when someone needs comfort or a sense of understanding, the crackling sound of a laugh after a tension-breaking joke. THAT is the connect that cannot be replaced, the tribe I long to be part of again.
The loneliness has its difficult moments, to be sure. But as the saying goes, lemons to lemonade!
I am currently enrolled in an e-course that is both bolstering my sense of self & creating community & connection: a photography self-portraiture course called NOW YOU– with weekly prompts for the rest of the year that have us post our images to Flickr & exchange comments, stories & insights.
It’s both inspiring & a nurturing way to delve into creativity & connection. & I think seeing people & their & lives on the screen helps generate that level of deeper connect.
& this blog, which, THANK YOU, dear reader, helps me feel connected to YOU & your journey as I take my own down the road to a thriving, creative, abundant life.
Still, I think it is important to emphasize the importance of getting OUT & AWAY from the computer & all the other gadgets & tuning into the real, live people. It’s where the magic happens.
I’ve recently stepped out of my comfort zone & began teaching a yoga class at the local YMCA. & said yes to attending a large social fundraiser event with a new client in the Big Apple. While I am absolutely certain both will be ripe with possibility & genuine connection opportunities, they scare the hell out of me. Why?
Connecting in real time requires a sense of presence, an air of confidence, & both clarity & ability to listen deeply. tweet this. (Don’t you just love the irony?!)
I have no doubt that I can tune in & listen, but after being out of the “people loop” for so long, my confidence is a little stymied. It’ll take practice before I become comfortable with offering who I am without judging myself in the midst of it (a sneak preview at Essential #11).
I am, after all, human, & not some machine in which words have been carefully entered & edited, images cropped & brightened or diffused for better viewing, all sent out at the perfect time when you might be most available.
We cannot hide behind our careful crafting when standing next to someone in real time. Our mascara might be smudged & we might say something totally inappropriate & then snort loudly & nervously while laughing, & then spill our cocktail on our shirt.
After we finish off some cookies at the buffet table & regain our composure, we can convince ourselves to get back out there & mingle, try our hand at our “elevator pitch” (coming soon in a future blog near you) & remember that the “polished” person standing across from us just might also wake up in the night wondering about his place in the order of things.
Sigh. This is what makes this post so seemingly inadequate. There’s no real formula for it except to tune into who you are & go from there. & it is difficult to create true community & connection if you yourself aren’t connected to your SELF.
It goes far beyond 11 steps & frankly, requires much more inner personal work in order to really feel the gifts of what it can offer- a validation & reflection of the work we do as important & necessary amid a tribe that supports you & helps you understand your place in the order of things.
When you engage in the giving, above & beyond the “retweet” or the “Like” or the purchase of a course, book, dvd or tee shirt, you can begin to really SEE the other maestros out there & the visions they hold as sacred & bow to them, your heart saying YES!
It’s recognizing that invisible thread as we spiral in & then back out from the place where we gather & bring forward our best selves & all the creative strengths that go with it.
& despite the importance of being solid within the self once we truly are, community gives us a place to call HOME.
What are YOU doing to get yourself in the mix of community? Are there any groups you could tune into? Worthwhile meetings you can attend? (Did I really just write that? I despise meetings). Interesting people you can take to lunch for an “informational interview?” Creative play dates? Salon-like gatherings with others artists you feel a kinship towards?
There are ways online, too. Google hangouts, Skype calls, special interest groups on Facebook, blog comments, guest posting, e-courses with membership platforms…
Share the ways you connect with your tribe over at the Flow Mojo Facebook page. Online or in the flesh- tell us all how YOU go about creating & nurturing your community.
Either way, know that it is within community that we truly flourish. Hope to see you in mine real soon!