If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic showed the world, it’s that while solitude may be enjoyable — and sometimes even necessary — we still need to connect with others. And it’s about a lot more than simply having people to interact with.
Having a good community means being around like-minded individuals who get you. A place where you can bring your genuine self to the table. No need to scale back for fear of being labeled as too much, or too loud, or too outspoken. The point is to feel free to be yourself. While this may sound a bit idealistic, once you find it, it’s pretty empowering. How so? Let’s count the ways.
Benefits of Being Part of a Community
There are several reasons why being a part of a community is beneficial. While individual needs may vary, there are some common denominators across the board:
- Sense of Belonging
Feeling like you belong within a group of people is essential for good mental health. This is because having a support network can help you feel motivated when things are going well, and less alone when undergoing difficult times. As a result, you feel connected and are better able to manage stress.
While some individuals may seem like they’re infinite sources of wisdom, the truth is that everything they’ve learned has been a product of their life experiences — including their relationships with others. These experiences make them invaluable resources for advice, constructive criticism, and sharing of knowledge; all of which is crucial to help them — and you — grow as individuals and as professionals.
There are many ways to support one another. This can be done through encouragement to pursue a goal, guidance as we go through new experiences, and maybe even financial — especially at a time of sudden layoffs. As much as we all strive to be independent and self-sufficient, life comes with many surprises. Having a reliable support system is essential to navigate them successfully. For example, you could connect people on LinkedIn to help someone find a new job, or be part of a group that pitches in to assist a friend facing a hardship. Members of a community can also serve as each other’s allies, whether they hear of an opportunity, or to link arms in the quest for social justice.
- Access to Resources
One of the biggest benefits of having a community is that everyone is good at something. Let’s say you all work in tech. Someone may be well-versed on database management, while someone else’s strong suit may be network security. When people work together, all bases are covered, and everyone benefits.
- Professional Growth
Having a professional network also helps you extend your reach for your business, as you refer contacts and business to each other. And since these referrals are done by people who know you, the likelihood of prospects being a good fit is greater. At the end of the day, word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing.
How To Find a Community That’s Right For You
While all of these benefits sound ideal, you may be stumped as to how to find the right group of people. It seems simple to look for, say, people within your industry, but it’s imperative to dig deeper. What are non-negotiables for you? Some factors to consider include:
- True authentic commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Experience with innovation
- Giving back to the community
The next step is to narrow down your options by exploring your interests. Are you looking to forge a community around one of your hobbies? Find people with whom you can discuss work woes and accomplishments? If it’s the former, look for groups with common interests, such as running groups or book clubs. If it’s the latter, opt for networking events — whether it’s ones created to amplify women’s voices, offer mentorship, and/or foster diversity.
At Women in Revenue, we recognize the value and power of community, and we proudly support women in revenue-generating roles. Read about what we offer, and browse through our resources and events. You may just have found the kinship you’ve been looking for.