A bit “fluffy” in terms of concepts (e.g., “don’t listen to the mean girls in your head” and “find your soul family”, manifestation) and overall feel. It feels like every 5 pages there is a quote that could be printed out and placed on a vision board. If you are looking for useful, tactical advice, skip to chapters 6 and 7.
The first section ("Going In") just recaps living intentionally and mindfulness - can be skimmed if you are familiar with the thinking behind those concepts.
Chapters 6 (the CRAWL method) and 7 (Nurture Your Community) were the most tactical in terms of intentional community building. Skip to these chapters if you are interested in key takeaways for building an online community.
I found this book listed in a "Best Books for Community" article online. I was looking for resources to better understand how to build my online community HealthTech Customer Success.
Someone who is not happy with their group of friends or community as a whole would greatly benefit from the concepts and exercises in this book.
Someone who is unfamiliar with intentional life design and the addictions of social media would benefit from reading the first section ("Going In").
I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to folks who are building an online community as only 2 chapters (6 & 7) resonated with me.
How my life / behavior / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
“Energy is a great equalizer in life. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living or how much money you have—the energy you put out is the energy you get back. Negative energy breeds negative community. Positive energy breeds positive community. It’s that simple.”
Communities are built, person by person, through thoughtful design and authentic, energetic connection points.
As psychologist Noam Shpancer wrote, “Human beings, fundamentally, are distinctly, spectacularly social. Lonely and isolated, we cannot survive, let alone thrive.”
I define [be•long•ing] as: a feeling of deep relatedness and acceptance; a feeling of “I would rather be here than anywhere else.”
Belonging is the opposite of loneliness. It’s a feeling of home, of “I can exhale here and be fully myself with no judgment or insecurity.” Belonging is about shared values and responsibility, and the desire to participate in making your community better. It’s about taking pride, showing up, and offering your unique gifts to others. You can’t belong if you only take.
I define [com•mu•ni•ty] as: a group of three or more people with whom you share similar values and interests and where you experience a sense of belonging.
Building a community where we feel a deep sense of belonging requires a real and honest understanding of ourselves first.
As a Community Architect, understanding and curating energy is my most valuable skill.
Participation with a positive attitude is the ultimate key to belonging. You’ll feel the most emotionally invested and connected to others in the group by getting your hands dirty and offering your time and energy to enhance the community experience. The sweat and effort of doing something for the benefit of the greater whole will fill you with the most satisfaction and joy. This is also how people come to view you as someone they want to be around, know more about, and care for.
The Six-Step Community Event Starter Kit 1. Get intentional—What are you interested in and curious about? This is the most important thing to focus on! 2. Give your event a fun name, set a date, find a venue, and create a Facebook event—or use your own method for spreading the word and getting responses. 3. Start sending emails to all of your contacts and ask them if they know anyone who fits your criteria, then post to your social media or on meetup.com. Be thoughtful about how you present the event. Would you want to attend it based on the description? 4. Spend whatever you can afford on drinks and food. Or if your event is more action-oriented, make it easy for people to participate and have fun. If necessary, have a rain date and keep your guests informed if you’re going to employ it. 5. Prepare two to three questions to ask in case there’s a lull in conversation. Also, when you get above ten people, it can be harder to bring everyone together into one single conversation, so questions can become icebreakers for two people to connect over instead. 6. Consider a bimonthly or monthly meet-up and stick with it! Community is built on accountability and consistently showing up!
Define the Constraints that will shape your community. Constraints are filters that give your community guardrails that help people decide if they want to join. They differ from Core Values, which are qualities that your community strives to live by.
Defining the rituals and traditions for your community is vital to developing loyalty and a sense of belonging.
Entry and Exit Rituals inspire a sense of community and belonging.
Aesthetics do matter in community architecture. Colors, fonts, logo designs, materials, look, and feel all play an important role in creating community.
When I’m advising on building a community, I always start the conversation with these five questions: 1. Why do you care? 2. Why are you the right person to lead this community? 3. Why should this community exist? 4. What other communities or affinity groups can you align with? 5. Why will this community be sustainable over time?
Why do you care? Why is this community important to you? Can you stay excited about this community for a long time? Every successful Community Architect I meet has a story about why their community matters to them.
Why are you the right person to lead this community? Are you the trusted messenger?
Are you willing to do the work it takes? Do you have the stamina and the passion? Gently acknowledge if you’re operating from a place of insecurity or fear (Red Ego) or if you’re ready to listen to your Green Ego, which is focused on generosity and abundance. Write down three to five good reasons why you would crush it as a community leader.
It has to be pure and authentic for it to really work.
Why should this community exist? (What is the purpose of this community?) There’s an important distinction between why a community is important to you and why it should exist in the world. Ask yourself, “What purpose does this community fulfill for my neighborhood, or for the world?” What is the ultimate goal of this community?
When a community has a specific goal with a clear mission in mind led by passionate Community Architects, it catches fire.
What other communities or affinity groups can you align with? As everything takes inspiration from other things, there are hundreds of communities and affinity groups that could be complementary to your community.
Why will this community be sustainable over time? Do you have a long-term plan in place for your community? How are you evolving? The best communities think about the present and the future.
While community can feel like a squishy concept, it requires systemization to grow and sustain. Every community is uniquely different, and as such, all systems require thoughtful execution.
I think of creating new friendships and communities in similar ways to planting a garden. The first several months require the most dedication, care, nurture, and support before the plants are strong enough to survive and multiply on their own.
Be Present and Listen With all the digital distractions in the world today, humans crave connection. If you show interest in other humans and get excited about their lives, they will want to keep hanging out with you.
Take Initiative and Be Accountable Community is built on intention, energy, and ACTION. Have the courage to reach out! Be proactive and true to your word. Don’t be flaky. Accountability is key to building community.
Ask better questions! No more “What do you do?”
Five questions that beat “What do you do?” What are you most excited about? What are you finding challenging right now? What’s the first birthday memory you have? What do you spend most of your time thinking about these days? If you could do anything, what would you be doing?
Belonging is a dance between polarities. When we dance between the “we” and the “me,” magic happens.