Are you wanting to create and deepen community connection in your life?
A common question I get from folks, especially in the paddling world is: ‘How do I connect with other like-minded people I can paddle/adventure with?
Here are 3 things that I practice that help me create and deepen connections.
Reach out and invite
This takes courage, and it also takes setting your ego aside.
Don’t wait for others to reach out to you, instead, be brave and take the first step.
Be aware of a disempowering question that may come up as you do this: ‘Why do I have to do all the work?’ When this question comes up, remind yourself that no one else can create connection for you, and that nothing changes without action. AND, the fact that you are choosing to take action is empowering and enriching your life.
Bottom line, you can sit alone because you’re too stubborn to reach out, or you can find your courage and connect.
Listen and get curious
When reaching out to folks and making connections, be present and listen fully. Get curious and ask questions to get to know others.
Here are a few tips I really like that I do my best to practice (and sometimes fail miserably). The first is from Adam Grant’s book Think Again. He challenges us to stop preaching and prosecuting, and get curious instead. Stop trying to fix or impress people when you meet them. Be with them fully with the intention of seeing their humanity.
The second tip is to wait 3 seconds after someone has finished speaking to say something. It’s amazing how that pause opens up opportunity for you to hone your listening skills, and to offer an opening to folks to share more. If you find yourself thinking about what you want to say next while the other person is still sharing with you, you’re centering yourself instead of listening. Nothing kills connection like realizing that the person you’re speaking to hasn’t listened to a word you just shared.
Remember that we all want to be heard and seen. If you want that too, give it away first. You’ll be glad you did.
Get present to your inauthenticities around community building
Here’s a personal example, and a true story. I’ve said in the past that I want to connect with more people in my neighborhood. But when I go out to walk the dog or run an errand, and I see folks out and about, I actually observe myself trying to avoid having conversations with them. My belief is that I don’t have enough time and that if I stop and chat it’ll derail my whole day.
Do you recognize the inauthenticity here? I’m saying that I want one thing, but my actions are not in alignment with what I say I want. The impact of that is that I feel disconnected from my neighbors and missing out on rich conversations.
When I got present to my inauthenticity in this area I had to laugh a bit because it was absurd. I changed my actions and started taking time to stop, chat and connect with my neighbors.
Ask yourself: Where am I being inauthentic? What results am I getting from my inauthentic actions, and what do I want to change?
Join a class, event, trip or community
I love watching complete strangers connect, share meaningful experiences together and become life-long friends.
I’ve watched women who have met on my paddling trips like Costa Rica continue to paddle and travel together for years.
A small group of my cleanse participants choose to intermittent fast together one day per month as a way to connect and support each other’s health and mental agility journey.
These women met because they were courageous and put themselves in programs with the opportunity to make new connections.
Look for and invest in trips, classes, clubs etc… that put you in an environment with new people who share similar passions.
If you’re looking to create and deepen connections with like-minded paddlers, I invite you to join my upcoming free webinar on How to Build and Empower your Community on December 14th at 7 p.m. ET. CLICK HERE to register.