What does the word ‘community’ mean to you?
Community can mean different things to all of us. Some may see community as the people that make up the area in which we live. Others feel a strong sense of community being around people with shared interests rather than geographic location. Personally, I define community as “our chosen family” which is a group of people that can include familial or non-familial ties.
No matter how you define community, one thing is absolutely certain: feeling a sense of belonging as part of a group is imperative to our mental health, wellbeing, and individual growth. As a business coach for women of color, building strong communities is an essential value of the work I do.
As social human beings, to grow not just in our professional career, but personally, we are meant to socially engage and connect with others.
Why is community important to the work I do?
1. Mental and Emotional Health
Especially after living through a pandemic which greatly impacted our ability to connect with people, many of us were struggling due to social isolation. We saw the negative impacts of minimal social connection and saw people we love struggle with increasingly poor mental health (even in those who hadn’t experienced depression or anxiety before). At the same time, the pandemic encouraged us to reach out more often to those we love and those we had lost touch with, and the benefits of these intentional conversations and quality time made this scary moment in history more bearable.
Did you know that being a part of a community doesn’t just affect our mental health but our overall health too? Apparently, having consistent social support lowers the risk factors associated with heart disease as well.
By connecting with others who share similar values and beliefs, it provides more acceptance that we can be who we want to be. Being a part of a community shows us that we are not alone, and that others may go through similar issues. I find my clients at ease knowing they are going through the same challenges as one another.
3. Support in our Goals
It’s no surprise that one of the main factors of success in accomplishing goals is having a support system and help with accountability. Whether it’s going to the gym 3 times a week, hosting a new business event, or creating more work life balance, connecting with others and seeking guidance within a group helps keep us motivated, feel understood, and encourages us to keep showing up.
Connecting within a community gives us the opportunity to learn from others. It expands our thinking especially when we interact with people who grew up differently or have different experiences. This is why I love having a diverse group of clients from different backgrounds. We become more open-minded and supportive, thus creating a better world.
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