I. WHERE I STARTED:
I remember feeling stuck. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t write, sketch, paint or create. My mind was racing with things I wanted to do but nothing was happening. I didn’t know where to start or what to say. Deep down, I knew I had a message to share but why bother? My problems are my own, no one else could possibly relate – or so I thought.
I felt as if everywhere I turned, I was inundated with messages emphasizing the importance of “community” and finding a sense of “tribe” but I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t know who they were, where they were or how I could find them.
II. DEFINE YOURSELF:
“People like knowing they can relate to you”
It wasn’t until I defined who I am and what I’m passionate about, did I then begin to find myself making connections with other like-minded individuals. I shared my story, my passions and my aspirations; one by one, I began finding other women who could relate to my story.
Once you make clear and define who you are, you can really begin to attract others who are able to relate and share in your experiences. People like knowing they can relate to you.
Friendships blossom when there are common interests to bond over. I believe that as humans, we were made for communities. Humans thrive off of each other when we are able to converse, collaborate and discuss ideas.
Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are! Be proud of what makes you happy. Be loud in your dreams. Be intentional about your actions and never hide away who you truly are because of what others may think.
A great way to begin sharing who you are is to use social media platforms to find and connect with other individuals interested in the same things you are interested in. In my case, it is: art, being an entrepreneur, clothing trends, dogs, military family life, home styling, coastal life and so on.
I had to create a list of what makes up the “About Me” portion in my story.
Who am I? I’m a Maryland native now living on the coast of South Carolina as a military spouse and puppy mama. I’m an entrepreneur as I realized very, very clearly in December of 2018 that I have no interest in taking a seat at a boxed corporate table.
What are my interests? I love art: drawing, painting and creating have always been a part of who I am. I love camping and hiking with my small family, I love being a Christian, I love exploring and learning about cultures halfway around the world, I love traveling and I love helping others find and define their passions.
III. INSPIRE YOURSELF AND SET GOALS:
“I love learning about what inspires others”
What inspires me? The community I’ve found among the incredible men and women who work so relentlessly towards their dreams; these individuals inspire me. I love learning what someone’s drive is; what pushes someone to work harder towards their goal. Everyone’s goals are different and goals are constantly changing. It’s okay to have more than one dream – it would be a shame to limit the beautiful human mind to only being capable of a single dream at a time.
Understand that both your accomplishments and mistakes create your identity. Shedding a light on unsuccessful ventures may even bring forward a friend who can relate and encourage them to share with you advice on how they moved forward.
Ask yourself: “What is one of my goals” or “What am I working dutifully towards?”
What is a goal of mine? One of my goals is to use social media as a platform to inspire others to find out who they are and what they want to achieve. A second goal to follow up with is to use my social media channels as a platform to bring awareness to the issues that mean a lot to me.
Let your aspirations evolve with you; as you grow, your dreams grow. As you change, your dreams change.
IV. FOLLOW UP WITH ACTION
“Search, show up and serve”
These days, there are far too many excuses for us to blame for our failures. In order to build a meaningful community, be intentional in your conversations and avoid letting small-talk, gossip or negativity dictate the conversation.
I understand life circumstances and the harsh reality of how unfair life can be…but it only gets better if you use positivity to guide your thoughts. My high school art teacher used to have a quote hanging on the wall which read:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Watch your words, for they become your actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Find out who you are. Dedicate time to define what your passions are and how you can use your talents to help others. Attend group events, find local networking groups and begin building genuine relationships with others. Social media has made finding similar people and “of-common interest” events extremely easy.
Search, show up and serve. Learn to listen to what others are going through. Even if you are not able to relate and provide a solution, some may share their troubles just to find comfort. Be present and be a friend.
Cultivate your community by learning how you can use your talents to give back. Some personalities are fit to lead and some excel when they are able to support. I do my best when I can serve but I only know that because I understand my personality aligns more closely with understanding how I can support others rather than lead. As your character begins to grow more confident in who you are and how you can help, your community will begin to grow.
“You are good enough”
Don’t let the fear of acceptance trick you into thinking that who you are in this very moment is not good enough. Know that your experiences are what makes you unique and your unique perspective will inspire someone someday.
I was stuck in a rut; completely drained of anything inspirational or creative. However, the friends I surrounded myself with inspired me and ultimately gave me the push I needed to begin creating content again. Without my community, I would have missed out on so many opportunities and incredible relationships.
Define yourself, invest in others and keep on inspiring.