ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

How to Use Your Community to Achieve Your Goals

Source: Original photo by Rawpixel licensed through Envato Elements. Edited by the author.

“(…) the secret to change and growth is not willpower, but positive community.” — Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss referred specifically to improving his fitness. But it works for any area of life.

How can you make it work for yourself?

Here’s a 5-step how-to:

Step 1: Show up

“90% of life is showing up.” — Woody Allen

We are influenced by the people we see around us. If you want to dance tango, show up at tango classes, workshops and festivals. If you want to improve your public speaking, show up to Toastmasters meetings and conferences.

Once there: You will see others in action. You will strike conversations and form relationships. You will discover opportunities to “get started” (or “get started again.”)

Show up. The rest will happen.

Step 2: Ask questions

In every community, there are likely quite a few people who know more about the topic than you. You are “in this together.” On top of that, by answering your questions on the community-related topic, they are helping themselves.

Ask and you will get.

Step 3: Offer help

Most people think of offering help in a community as “giving back.” It really is “giving more to self.” Answering questions of your less experienced colleagues will increase your credibility. Sharing your own lessons learned will clarify your own thinking. Helping organize events will open new networking opportunities.

Help others to boost your own growth.

Step 4: Connect 1:1

It’s tough to get a random LinkedIn connection on a 30-minute call. But a member of your community? That’s pretty easy.

Being an active contributor in a community gives you recognition among its members. Recognition gives you access. Use it. When you notice someone you’d like to connect with, invite them for a coffee. Don’t ask them for anything. Listen for how you can help. Whether there will be any immediate actions or not, you will plant a seed of a relationship. Good things will happen downstream.

Use your access to start conversations.

Step 5: Lead

If you stick around for long enough — or if you work hard enough to make rapid progress — the community will ask you to lead. Like in Step 3 — don’t think of it as giving back. Leading takes time and effort. To keep it sustainable, you must benefit.

The benefits of leading: The increased attention will give you more access and more opportunities. The increased credibility will give you more questions to answer. The change in your self-image (you are a leader now!) will boost your motivation to improve your skills even further.

Compare the costs and benefits and decide. But if this is an area of your life you are serious about: You should go for it.

Leading is the ultimate level of showing up.

Recap

Here’s a recap of the five steps:

Step 1: Show up

Step 2: Ask questions

Step 3: Offer help

Step 4: Connect 1:1

Step 5: Lead

A positive community can be your secret to change. Use the five steps above to get the most out of it.

Good luck!

Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog

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