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Thriving in Community: How Intentional Relationships Show How & Why You Matter

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Two women, one with medium-length brown hair wearing an orange dress, and one with textured curls haloed around her head wearing a dark grey dress, look out at a party full of people together.

Thriving in Community: How Intentional Relationships Show How & Why You Matter

As we reflect on this rollercoaster of a year, I want to leave you with one idea I think is worth sharing. This idea helps us answer the age-old questions: what makes us who we are and what tells us our lives have value?

This is a conversation I have with business leaders nearly every day.

So many of us feel plagued with self-doubt and worry, or at the very least, questions that we’re on the "right" path or if we’re devoting our energy to a worthy cause.

I see a lot of folks place their self-worth in the hands of those who don’t appreciate, understand, or know how to hold that tremendous responsibility. Some believe they’re worthy only when they produce results, please their boss/clients/teammates, look good, or make sure their kids thrive in school.

What if I told you that your real value and worth lie somewhere much deeper? Somewhere more sacred, more intrinsic, and something only you ultimately determine?

The people we surround ourselves with day in and day out may have the greatest impact on our beliefs about where our value comes from. Think family, work colleagues, friends, neighbors. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking my work is my measuring stick. When that happens to be going well, life feels unstoppable. When it’s not, well, you can guess how that goes...

Enter the idea I’ll call the "One+ Community"

I’ve come to believe that we all need at least ONE COMMUNITY in our lives that gives us an empowering space to fully be ourselves, unguarded, real, even messy. These One+ Communities help us discover talents we didn’t know existed, build genuine and deep friendships, and explore new ways that we can make a positive difference for others. They help us get outside of ourselves and live for something bigger.

A few years ago, I was blessed to join such a community with Heart of Leadership. As one of the original Core Team members, I got to learn what it really meant to build a values-based organization. We learned together what it meant to advance a critical social conversation and to create a safe, nurturing space for talented young women and their families to live a healthy and whole life.

This One+ Community still fills me with tremendous pride and fulfillment. Many of those women are deeply important friends in my life. The conversations and possibilities that were sparked years ago live on.

My biggest personal lesson from this One+ Community is this:

The creative, sensitive, heart-based, wisdom-seeking side of myself is okay to show others. In fact, it just may be my greatest contribution. If I never took this leap of faith and said "yes" to this community, I know I’d be living as only half of myself. Afraid, disconnected, burned out, and trying to act like it was all okay.

Friends, if you are so lucky as to have more than one One+ community in your life, that is just incredible. Hence the name, "One+." If you’re struggling to think of even one, that’s a perfect place to start. In my experience, these special and nourishing communities aren’t just handed to us. We have to seek them out and create them. And, you only need one!

Here are some places to begin looking:

  • Service organizations that are grounded in your core values, require you to commit yourself fully and offer opportunities for real relationship building.
  • Personal development programs that extend over time
  • Healthy spiritual or religious communities that help connect you to what you hold sacred, within yourself and in communion with others.
  • Affinity groups that let you dive into a passion, hobby, or something totally and uniquely your kind of fun!
This time of year can remind us how important our connections are, either because we feel nourished by them or we feel longing for more. Where ever you are, my ask of you is this:

If you feel that longing for a One+ Community in your life, take the steps to seek one out. Let yourself be seen. Experiment and keep showing up. If you feel a bit scared and vulnerable, you’re probably doing something right.

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