Something I have been extremely successful at is building a community. Pride month brings about a false sense of this huge community we can rely on, but the reality is Pride month is a show, a performance. Which is good, it is needed for awareness and to have at least one time a year where a giant pageantry of family convenes. Alcohol flows, love sparks, costumes get displayed, etc. But what about the other 363 days of the year?

This is where I have learned to excel. Communities are for support of one another both in the good times and the bad. If we think of community like a neighborhood where as each property improves so does the value of the community as a whole. Each one of us has value. We can help each other and in doing so our little (or big) community or network becomes more profitable for everyone around. So how do we do this effectively?

Here’s some suggestions:

1. Talk about it. Tell people that you are creating a community of support because everyone needs a little help. Then…

2. Be vulnerable. Tell people what kind of help you need. As humans we are solution oriented. You don’t have to spill every detail of your life, but you can talk about making some element better, like falling in love with work again. Wouldn’t that be nice? What if the lady in front of you yapping uncontrollably about her mini-poodles latest adventure to the obviously uninterested barista (you like how I assumed you are in a coffee shop) just so happens to have that one life tip to change everything?

3. Be coach-able. Be willing to coach. Be willing to exchange (give AND receive) advice and tips. Hard to fill up a cup that’s already full.

4. Remember you’re good enough to be a part of a community. I heard a Christian saying that can apply here “God likes broken vessels the best. Why? Because they leak.” If we are broken and have our own problems and issues we are able to empathize with others better and are best suited for blessings because we share. Not just for the Christian believer folks.

Just being vocal about wanting to build your community is often a great start to get others to think about it. Then, when you actually begin treating others as if they belong in your community, i.e. trusting them with little pieces of you, my experience has been that even the most difficult communities have value beyond measure.

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With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle Utnage