As the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” That sentiment doesn’t stop once we grow up, either. Success isn’t based on an individual’s actions, but it’s the culmination of many different people working together toward a common goal.
All too often, we tend to look at our successes and failures in a vacuum. However, it’s always best to look outside ourselves to see what kind of environment we’re in and whether that environment is conducive for forward momentum.
In this article, we’re going to look at the power of community and how it can help you achieve success. There’s no reason to walk your path alone. Instead, by connecting with others and building a strong foundation, success isn’t a challenge - it’s inevitable.
Building a Community vs. Networking
No matter what industry you’re in, one of the keys to success is to build a network of contacts. However, while networking and getting business cards is an excellent first step, it shouldn’t be the goal.
A network is merely a series of connections. Some of these connections will be strong, while others might disappear altogether. Even if you’re excellent at networking and meeting new people, you have to go deeper into these connections if you want them to pay off.
That’s where the community mindset comes in.
A community might look similar to a network on the surface, but it’s much more vibrant and profound. Rather than having a Rolodex of different contacts, a community is a collection of individuals who support and engage with each other regularly.
With a community mindset, you cultivate relationships and nurture them consistently. These connections are valuable even when you’re not getting something tangible in exchange. With a networking mindset, you only reach out to various contacts when it’s prudent. For example, you might email or call a potential client to close a sale.
The primary distinction between a community and a network is the value of these relationships. Communities are based on trust and support, while networks are mostly transactional.
A simpler way to differentiate these mindsets is that, in a network, you’re asking, “what can you do for me?” In a community, you’re asking, “what can I do for you?”
Why is a Community Valuable for Your Success?
Regardless of your position in life, chances are that you want to move to a higher level. Perhaps you’re trying to start a business. Maybe you’re hoping to get a raise or a promotion soon. In all of these situations, you have to rely on others to reach your goal. Even if you build a business from scratch, the only way it can succeed is to have clients or customers.
Since your success rests on the input of others, building a community can have some powerful and tangible benefits. While a network might seem like it has more immediate rewards, a community can create a much stronger foundation for the future.
Here are a few ways that a community can help your success.
Increase Your Knowledge
In modern society, we’re trained to believe that learning is something that happens inside a classroom. Even if you’re not going to school anymore, this mentality permeates the professional world. If you want to learn a new skill set, you have to take a workshop or class.
However, learning is an ongoing process that can happen anywhere at any time. One of the best ways to build a community is to seek out those who already know more than you. A perfect example of this can be a mastermind.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a mastermind, it’s an organization centered around an individual or group. Usually, the group focuses on a particular skill or knowledge base, such as real estate or e-commerce. The value of the mastermind is that attendees learn from those with experience in that field. Rather than trying to get information online or through a book, the mastermind makes that information more digestible and understandable.
So, by surrounding yourself with individuals who either know more than you or have more experience, you can learn by association. Even if you don’t create a formal curriculum within the community, you can absorb information through your interactions.
One issue that can set professionals back is a lack of creativity. Everyone can experience creative slumps on occasion, which can lead to a feeling of treading water. By building a community, you can tap into it for inspiration. In many cases, you won’t have to go looking for it. A member of the group may already be moving in the direction you want to go. Seeing that person succeed or persevere can inspire you to do the same.
Another benefit of a community mindset is that it’s much easier to collaborate. Because success doesn’t happen in a vacuum, you’ll need to get input from others to validate and refine your idea. If you don’t have a vibrant and active community in place, collaboration is much more of a challenge.
Isolationism isn’t just a problem when you hit a creative wall. The other significant downside of operating solo is that you don’t get the encouragement necessary to forge ahead. Even if you’re excellent at building yourself up, it’s always better to get positive reinforcement from others, particularly those you trust.
A community mindset is when you ask, “what can I do for you?” Fortunately, this mentality works both ways. As long as everyone within the community is motivated to help others succeed, support will always be accessible.
Whether you need advice on a problem, you need financial or emotional support, or just want to bounce ideas off someone else, a community can provide that kind of foundation.
Build Your Connections
Here is where a community and a network overlap. While the primary purpose of a community is not to leverage contacts for favors and rewards, it is one of the natural side effects. However, when you take the time to build a community, the results can be so much better than a traditional network.
The reason community connections are more valuable is that you’re nurturing and strengthening them over time. By building trust within the community, members are more likely to come to you or recommend you when the time comes. A network contact doesn’t have that kind of loyalty since he or she doesn’t know you personally.
Tap Into Community Resources
While emotional and intellectual support is valuable, they can only take you so far. If you need more tangible assistance (i.e., money or labor), who can you turn to for help? With a community, it’s much easier to find resources when you need them. For example, if you need volunteers for any reason, you can ask community members rather than trying to get friends and family (or strangers).
How to Build a Community for Yourself
Now that you understand the value of a community, how can you create one for yourself? While there is no universal plan of action, we’ve compiled a list of tactics you can use to get started. Also, keep in mind that building a community takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. As long as you persevere and work at it, the community will form.
Step One: Be Authentic
The goal of your community should not be to benefit yourself. While your success will be a side effect, it should not be the primary purpose of those involved. If you build a community for selfish reasons, it will never last.
Instead, focus your attention on one of your passions. If you’re trying to start a business, what’s the purpose behind it? Why do you want to be your own boss? The more authentic your message, the easier it will be to convince others to be a part of your community.
Step Two: Be Engaged
Building a community is not a quick and easy process. Once you establish a connection with someone, you have to nurture it. This doesn’t mean that your community comes before your own needs, but you can’t neglect it either.
One element to remember is that engagement doesn’t have to be transactional or professional. Part of the appeal of a community is that it forges authentic relationships. Don’t bring others in if you don’t want to get to know them personally.
Step Three: Stay Organized
Having a goal for your community is good because it can help everyone stay focused. While personal relationships and interactions are a significant part of the community, this isn’t a collection of friends trying to hang out.
If you’re the community's founder, you can determine which goals are most relevant and keep everyone else on track. However, it’s best to be collaborative with these goals, as each member will have personal reasons for joining. Overall, you want to make sure that everyone involved is getting something out of the community, not just yourself.
Contact Me Today
If you’re ready to see how a community mindset can help your personal and professional life, now is the perfect time to get started. I’m Brad Milford, and I’ve been helping people just like you for years. My Built for Brilliance plan can act as a springboard for you to launch the next stage of your life. Call me to find out more and see how a community can transform your potential.