Without community, you can easily feel lost. A sense of belonging is a basic need that we have just as we need food and water. Not sharing our lives with others makes us feel empty.
When you commune with others, you share fellowship, thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Sharing in community reduces stress, gives you insights you might not have had on your own, and fills the need for belonging.
Here’s how the value of community unfolded for me as an entrepreneur. The journey started as not recognizing the power of community until losing it, then finding it again.
The Community of the Office
Even before I graduated from high school, I worked in an office. My career yearnings were always drawn towards the corporate world.
Landing my first full-time job in advertising, I had an instant community. I was in my early twenties and was surrounded with many people my same age with the same interests and values.
Advancing my career into radio sales and management, my community expanded. As in every industry, we were a close-knit group of individuals who knew and supported each other.
The Community of Church
My mother introduced me to church as a toddler. I loved the people and especially the music. Not knowing anything about the mind, body, spirit connection back then, I just loved the fellowship.
I didn’t know how important it was to feed my soul and to connect with others in a soulful way until I turned away from my faith for twenty years.
Those yearnings for spiritual connection returned. I found First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood and have attended since 1997. There I am spiritually fed. I sing in the choir which is a community within the larger community. I’m involved in a women’s book group, which is another community within a community.
We share our joys and sorrows together.
Losing Community and Feeling Lost
The corporate world left me stressed and burnt out. While I loved the community, I no longer loved the corporate structure. I had a burning desire for freedom and to write books.
I would like to say that becoming an entrepreneur was a well thought out decision. It wasn’t.
My husband Robert experienced my stress and burnout and gave me the greatest gift to quit to write and create. So, I blindly took the leap.
At first it was liberating. There were no more endless meetings I had to attend, no more conference calls, no more micromanaging. I was finally following my bliss.
When the first and fifteenth of the month rolled around with no big, fat paycheck, it was very sobering. This freedom was all up to me to create and generate income… gulp.
The relationships I had in the corporate world all went away. Sadly, without the day-to-day interaction and shared values, I lost that community.
Finding Community and Collaborating
Writing, while life-giving for me, can be a lonely profession! There is no energy of an office to go to each day. So, I went in search of a community.
I found two. One is called the Tapestry Network. It is a group of Christ-centered women business owners who desire to grow their faith and their business.
In the corporate world it wasn’t a place to talk about faith. At church, I don’t know of any women business owners. This was a perfect place to talk about faith and business!
Tapestry has two meetings a month where I live in St. Louis. I’ve made amazing connections through this group.
The second community is called Audacious Faith. It is an online and event community that also helps Christ-centered women grow their faith and business. Through Tapestry I was connected to Audacious Faith.
In the months to come, I will be leading in person Faith, Food, and Fellowship events for Audacious Faith members. So, these communities are feeding my need for belonging, fueling my faith, and helping me to grow my business.
Don’t Feel Lost as an Entrepreneur – Find a Community
The Ecclesiastes author says:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
Entrepreneurship can be challenging going it alone. By being in community and collaborating with others, you can not only create the opportunity to overcome feelings of loneliness, but you can benefit by cross-promoting and broadening your potential customer base with another like-minded entrepreneur.
Collaboration is not only good in building up your business and each other, but collaboration is especially important during those times of failures and setbacks.
Community Makes Each Person Better
Proverbs 27:17 says:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
It’s good to get another perspective. As hard as you try or as successful as you may be, you may be so close to your situation that you don’t see ways to improve and grow. Having a sharp person to talk to can help sharpen your faith and your business.
Any expert chef will tell you that one of the most important tools to have is a sharp knife. Knives dull over time and aren’t as effective.
To remain sharp, we need to hone our skills, that means spiritually and in our business.
I have grown so much since finding these wonderful communities to connect. I don’t feel so alone in my work anymore.
Do you have a community that you belong to that helps you to grow? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below.